Introduction: Badger Fur Gloves
On cold, windy days, fur gloves are nice. But they're expensive! I made this pair of badger fur gloves from a badger pelt I bought on Ebay ($65) and a pair of deer hide work gloves I bought from HomeDepot ($17). I also used kevlar thread (Amazon $3) and "glover's needles" (also Amazon ~$5-10).
Step 1: Make a Pattern
To make a pattern, trace the glove like you would trace your hand onto a piece of paper. Keep in mind that the wrist of the glove might be elastic and you'll need to stretch it out. Consider making the fingers 1/8 to 3/16 of an inch longer. That will allow the fur section to stretch around your fingers as you make a fist. Otherwise, you'll find that you have two very inflexible pieces of leather on the backs of your fingers and you can't bend them comfortably. I neglected to take pictures of the thumb pattern that I drew, but if you look closely at the leather gloves, you'll see little black dots where I drew what I thought would be a useful area to cover. My initial thought was to cover whatever area of my hand would be exposed to the elements but would not take the brunt of grabbing things. So a portion of my thumb needed covering. I'm still not entirely clear how a thumb pattern is made, but with experimentation you'll get it.
Step 2: Trace the Pattern and Cut the Fur
Notice that I laid out the pattern so that the fur would travel back up my hand and out toward the outside of my hand. I also centered the gloves on the mid-line of the fur so that the pattern and thickness of the hide would be symmetric on each glove. I laid out the thumbs in much the same way using the tail end of the hide. This part of the process requires that you look at the fur and really think about how the it will lay and where you want to take the fur from. I considered using the shorter hair on the face of the badger for my thumb pieces, but ran out of room to position the patterns.
Cut the fur from the back using a razor. You'll minimize the amount of fur on the front that you cut. Don't push the razor into the leather while it's on a hard surface. Rather, making ever deep cuts, not pressing so hard that you punch through to other side and damage the fur.
Step 3: Sewing
Use glover's needles; you'll thank me! They cut their own way. Regular round needles are a pain! You also need a thimble. My fingers are too big for the all metal thimbles, so I used a leather dime thimble (basically a leather cap with a small dimpled metal disk). Use whip stitching (or overcast stitching as its sometimes called). I began along the first finger and on the back side of the leather because I wanted that edge to curl over and hide the seam (I thought it would be the most visible of seams and I wanted to hide it). As it turns out, the fur is so thick that the stitches aren't really visible anywhere except the finger tips where the hair lays back from the seam. Whip stitches mean going through three layers of leather rather than two, but they look better, work better, and don't require that you fumble with a needle inside the glove.
Step 4: Finishing and Timing
Some hair may stick out between the fingers into the palm when you are done. I trimmed a bit of it off and called the rest an occupational hazard.
The first glove took 6 hours to sew. The second took about 4. My forearms are still aching. But my hands are warm! The pictures included show one glove incomplete so you can get an idea of the bulk of badger hair. It's very thick. Next time I might use sheared beaver or something nearly as functional but half as bulky and comical looking. Its as though I have rabbit hands!
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