The craft of glove making

The Craft of Glove Making

A skilled glove cutter normally serves a seven year apprenticeship under the tuition of the master cutter. Today the apprenticeship is shorter, but it still requires great proficiency borne of years of experience and a long training period to become a qualified cutter. A keen eye and dexterous hands are essential skills in the practice of an art that has hardly changed over the past 226 years. The process of creating a pair of leather gloves is a long one, involving 32 different operations, most of which are done by hand.

The Finest Leathers

The natural qualities of leather, with its subtle variation and nuances of shading and occasional marking, tests the skill of leather buyers and selectors, because no two pieces of leather are ever the same. To select the perfect leather for each style of glove, every individual piece of leather must be carefully sorted and graded and no machine can match the selector’s skill and knowledge. The experienced eye of the leather selector recognises the wide variety of different leathers, with variation in grain, texture, thickness and strength, all of these qualities must be assessed before selecting that one special piece that is uniquely suitable for the particular glove being created. It is this constant search for perfection, and commitment to quality, which gives Dents Gloves, long opera or leather gloves that ‘secret fit’ and comfort that is its hallmark.

Leather Gloves Crafted with Skill and Pride

Even today, Dents’ glove makers craft the gloves with loving care by skilled craftspeople, whose attention to the smallest detail creates a glove that is embodied in Dents’ commitment to preserving the revered skills in craftsmanship of its founder, John Dent.

Cutting the Leather – the “secret fit”

When selecting a pair of leather gloves, the most important consideration, apart from the beauty of the leather, is the fit. One of the best loved features of a gloves it the fitting, and this is owed entirely to the skill and experience of the master cutter. The cutter’s keen eye, borne of years of experience, together with the careful shaping and stretching of leather, will influence the final fit of the glove.

The style and design of the glove will be determined by the glove “pattern”. This is a flat, thick piece of card in the shape of a glove. A different pattern is required for each individual size, and will vary according to the type of leather being used. All high-quality gloving leathers have a natural stretch, and the pattern must be adjusted accordingly to the stretch required, to ensure a perfect fitting glove.

The patterns used today date back to 1839 and are available in 20 different sizes. Prior to circa 1845, all gloves were sewn by hand because there was no machinery available to help the craftspeople. Today, many gloves are still sewn by hand, but the wooden “donkey” is no longer used as a guide for the stitching, and the skilled hand-sewer stitches freehand. It was not until after 1845, with the invention of the Elias Howe machine, that mechanical sewing was introduced into glove making.

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