The Fit

For many of us who do historical impressions, gloves, particularly leather ones, are one of those items we keep an eye out for at yard sales.
For those who are new to the hunt, I am certain the thought “they are so small!” has crossed through your mind, possibly many times.
Yes. They look small. But! Here is visual proof that leather gloves do stretch.
To start – I have wide hands and short, thick fingers. My hands are size 8. (A swollen 8 today after a week of heavy sewing. Usually, they are 7.5.) I put a photo showing how to measure hand size below.
Here are the gloves. On the left is the left glove as it was bought today. It is 3 1/4″ wide at theback of the palm. The one on the right is the right one after some stretching. It is 3 3/4″ wide across the back of the palm. It fits nicely on my hand, except for a long thumb.


Here you can see the unstretched glove on top of the stretched glove:


See how the stretch is a full finger width in difference?

Of course, I don’t suggest trying to stretch a glove around your hand at a shop or sale. You need to buy it first. So, how do I decide whether to buy?
– First, price. In this area, I don’t see the need to pay more than $5 for wrist length gloves. (Honestly, the $2 I paid for each item surprised me at today’s particular sale when I heard the prices others were paying.)
– Condition of the leather. The leather needs to be soft and pliable. Dry leather will likely be a pain to deal with at best.
– Condition of the gloves. Check that the stitches are sound. If you can’t fix it, skip them. Check that there are no wear holes or worn spots. Check staining. Staining can be corrosive.
– Guesstimate fit. My rule is if I can easily slide my fingers, from the knuckles forward into the gloves, I’ll give them a try.
There are specifics for different eras. Generally, for the 19th century, skip snaps. Frankly, besides being incorrect, they are rust and tear spots. For Regency era, long gloves are needed. Prices will be notably higher for these. Okay, remarkably higher. The arm part of these do stretch nicely. If you have wider hands or those with joint issues, opt for a pair with an open inner wrist that buttons back up. I couldn’t do without those.

Sizing – If you are lucky enough to find gloves with size markings, it is helpful to know your glove size. Simply wrap a tape measure around your palm. Mine here is an 8. (I’ve only seen sizes by the half inch -7, 7.5, 8, 8.5.)


Hope that is helpful.

Published in: on August 22, 2014 at 4:24 pm  Leave a Comment  

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