CONSTRUCTING A GLOVE
The process of making gloves for Royalty during the Elizabethan times was very problematical and usually resulted in adjustments afterwards (Collins, 52). Gloves are also recorded as being made on the large and loose side (Ellis, 18). On a surviving pair of leather gloves from the Victoria and Albert Museum in London England, there is what looks like an adjusting seam on the forchette of the index finger. So from these sources we can determine that there was no standard pattern for gloves and that adjustments were made after the glove was finished.
I have not yet found any record of reference to a standard sizing process during or prior to Elizabethan times. There is reference in C. Cody Collins, Love of a Glove to Planche’s Cyclopedia of Costume concerning young Normans “They covered their hands with gloves too long and wide for doing anything needfyl.”(Collins, 6). These recordings lead us to believe there is evidence that the gloves weren’t fitted to the individual’s hands. I on the other hand (no pun intended) feel that it is in my best interest to make a glove as close to the persons’ hand size as possible for the modern comfort we are accustomed to.
The local Tawyer or glover was responsible for making gloves for common use. Most of Queen Elizabeth’s gloves were gifts from France or Spain but when she did have them made they were made by John Wynyard “ ‘page of our warderobe of our beddes’ “ (Arnold, 216). On April 30 1567 a ‘license for life’ was granted to a Leonard Marshall to allow him the occupation of glove making, but according to Janet Arnold it is only conjecture since there is no evidence of gloves made in his name prior to that time (Arnold, 217).
It is recorded that in the 18th century a Frenchman, Xavier Jouvin, invented a die that enabled him to cut through many layers of leather simultaneously (Collins, 52). It was at the time, hand sizes were standardized and it changed the way gloves were made forever. So, it is safe to assume that every glove made prior to the 18th Century was not a product of a ‘die’ or standard pattern. It was in the 18th Century that gloves went from being individually made to manufactured and joined the many other crafts that marched to artistic death into the Industrial Revolution.
You can create your own glove pattern or adjust a mundane pattern to include lengthening the fingers for an Elizabethan style glove but be sure to use one piece forchettes, not two pieces. A two piece forchette came to be in the 18th Century. DO NOT use the Bolton thumb pattern. The Bolton thumb was not developed until much later in the 18th Century. Use a pattern for an ‘insert’ thumb.
 Forchettes – the ‘V’ shaped piece of leather for between the fingers of a glove pattern.