Pattern puzzle: Gloves

glove_bag So how’s this for clever? It’s a bag with a built in glove. Or maybe it’s a glove with a built in bag. My only question -other than what the pattern looks like, there’s your challenge- is what does this pair look like? Do you cart around two bags, one on each glove? Ah, probably not. Okay, so if you lose one, do you have to buy a whole new pair or just the replacement “glove”? And then, at what price? If you lose the one without the bag, do you pay half the pair price? Sorry, can’t resist. I think it’s great.

I discovered Daniel Storto, glove maker extraordinaire in yesterday’s NYTimes. How convenient it comes on the tail end of the Schmatta entries. From the NYT:

Between 1890 and 1950, Gloversville supplied nearly 90 percent of all gloves sold in the United States, yet by the middle of the last century its factories were already in decline. One after another, stores along Main Street were shuttered, and the last of the glove makers began wrapping their mauls and their dies in chamois and closing up shop. What gloves there are to be found in Gloversville these days are sold mainly at local factory outlets, and their labels bear the words — Made in China — that spelled doom for so many homegrown industries.

Daniel is a Gloversville transplant, hailing from the two big fashion cities on both coasts. Yet another high school drop out, he taught himself to make the gloves that rest on the world’s most famous arms. Today, he’s known as the “haute couturier of gloves”. Here’s the salient points (sorry for the nag) of his operation:

  • Small scale regional production (low rent to boot)
  • Local skilled labor -targeted.
  • High end product, high cost (commodities are a losing battle)

Then there’s the whole humility of craftsmanship and education thing. From the article:

“I thought I was a glove maker, but I wasn’t a glove maker at all until I met the old-timers,” Mr. Storto said one recent cold afternoon. “Until I came here, I had no idea what you could do with the craft.”

As it happens, the old-timers, in turn, were inspired by his efforts to elevate their craft, so much so that many of them made him a gift of their tools. Surrounded by those tools, Mr. Storto presides over a workroom that resembles a bijou museum.

glove_patterns Another source says:

A one-man operation, there is a waiting list for his custom-made gloves that keeps him busy year-round. He has no plans for expansion or moving the shop out of Gloversville. “My glove shop is a gift for the people of Gloversville first,” Storto said.

It’s not exactly true that he’s a one man operation, I saw photos of his gloving stitchers. I also found a photo of his patterns taken through the shop window (source).

Intrigued by the descriptions of his gloves, I looked but couldn’t find but a few of his actual gloves. I was very surprised to discover he has an etsy site with one pair of children’s wool gloves listed for sale. I thought that was hilarious. Note: he had one pair for sale, they’re gone now. And believe it or not, he even takes PayPal. Isn’t the internet great? And the price was crazy cheap -$4.95.

So ladies and gents, mock up if you will, Daniel’s glove purse pattern. While you’re not exactly rubbing him off, maybe some of what he is and has done will rub off on you.

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  1. Barb Taylorr says:

    I hope the other glove has no bag, and the set is sold as a pair. The big question to me is do you make the bag on the left glove or the right? And then you have to wonder about left handed people. Do they have to custom order to get the bag on the other hand?

    I expect the pattern is made so that one side of the bag is a continuous piece with the palm of the hand, like an extension of the cuff. The other side of the bag would be just the bag, no glove. I’s also add a drawstring loop type closure you can slide your hand through to keep the bag closed. ( Of cousre there are also all the fourchettes and gussets etc. that make a nice fitting glove.)

  2. emily says:

    Oooh I saw the NYT article when I was at work yesterday and meant to look up the glove-bag! I love his attitude as well; I hope one day to be a position to make what brings me joy in a location that appreciates the work! If I lived closer to NY I’d take a field trip to see the shop.

    Thanks for posting about this!

  3. bente says:

    Wow, what a beautiful story. Very inspiring. Glad to see an idealist being able to manage economically and being happy with what he does. It’s all about having a good product and being convinced!

  4. Kathleen says:

    Barb, you and I think too much alike! I didn’t think of the left vs right handedness tho (good point). According to other sources I read, gloves are made to order rather than sold from stock.

    If you want to see a pattern of another style, the “circle glove”, examine the top left corner of the NYT photo; it’s there behind plexiglass. On this page (scroll down) are two photos of it. One is hanging and the other is on a mannequin. There’s also a comment further down from Daniel complaining about being knocked off. Can’t say I blame him. I find it odd that the fashion blogger didn’t know of his provenance.

  5. CDBehrle says:

    I read this article with some interest, having worked myself out of an industry (gloves) in the 1980’s. And while it is wonderful to see somebody is interested in bring back this lost art form I was dismayed to find the article did not give a single mention to LaCrasia Duchein, who has devoted herself to trying to keep this industry going, in any way she can. Starting many, many years before Mr. Stroto and his one man operation. I designed gloves for LaCrasia (Fowns, and Finale and Shalimar….) in the mid to late 80’s and I know her devotion to the glove trades went above and beyond. Seriously I felt this article did a great disservice to LaCrasia and Jay. (btw, that circle glove pattern has been around at least 25 years….)

  6. Grace says:

    How does his bag/purse compare to the Russian muffs with zippered pockets in them?

    Functionally, they are the same, bag and handwarmer. But they are not the same topologically. Are they positive/negative spaces? The mind boggles.

  7. Kathleen says:

    Grace: Speaking of topological (you wicked girl for taking me there), sans fourchettes and thumb, what would a one piece glove pattern look like? Assume it’s short. And to complicate matters, what would the finished glove look like (the pattern is easy once you have the former pattern) were it possible to sew one using the mobius concept?

    I wish I were retired and had the time to play with such things.

    Carla: interesting what you say about the circle glove. I tried searching for references and photos, do you have a source?

  8. stephen piersanti says:

    i just wanted to reinforce, from direct knowledge as his partner, the fact that mr. storto is in fact a one person operation, from the start of the process in selecting and cutting the leather (or suede, or shearling) to the finally pressing of a hand-stitched glove. he will design and make each individual glove.
    if perhaps you have seen photographs of “his gloving stitchers” in his shop, they are actually framed vintage photographs of former gloversville workshops or factories – always kept in sight, a reminder of what went on and who went before in gloversville.
    i can only recommend that you go to gloversville to see the shop.

  9. Susan says:

    I am a little confused because it seems like it is a huge bag. and of course I’d stuff it with all that purse stuff, etc. How in the world would it not pull on the edge of the glove cuff and not distort it. Just having a functional vision problem.

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