Getting handy with sock toys

At the Vintage and Handmade fair last week I was amazed to find that my sock toys once again sold out. This has inspired me to concentrate on making Toesles for the next fair, and I duly went shopping on Wednesday and blew a lump sum on kiddy socks…

Last time I stocked up my sock stash, I also bought a couple of pairs of boys’ gloves, which I was drawn to because of their colourful stripes. I had in mind a dinosaur toy of some description. The above is the result of a couple of hours fiddling last night. I’ll be putting a tutorial on sew make believe sometime soon, if you fancy having a go for yourselves!

(P.S. If you haven’t already, please nip over to the shiny new sew make believe website and have a squizz – it’s just lovely. And there’s a fab relaunch giveaway going on too!)



second hand shopper’s guide to: Gloves

wrist gloves vintage

I have decided to start wearing gloves. This is partly influenced by the return to the old ways I wrote about recently, partly inspired by the AW10 Louis Vuitton (1960s style) and Ralph Lauren (“sleeve” gloves) looks, and partly because I think they look cute and am fed up with having cold fingers. The hands-shoved-into-armpits look so often ruins the line of my outfit!

Karen Elson, Christy Turlington Natalia Vodianova 60s style gloves Louis Vuitton AW10 Karen Elson, Christy Turlington Natalia Vodianova 60s style gloves Louis Vuitton AW10

The first time I decided gloves would complete my look (top) I realised that I had no clue what the etiquette of glove wearing required of me. Should I keep them on when shaking hands? When drinking? When eating? What about trips to the ladies’ room, for nose powdering and the like? Should one remove gloves, like a hat, on entering a room, or when speaking to people? And did the etiquette alter with the length of glove worn – were wrist gloves subject to different rules to opera gloves, for example?

A quick peek into general etiquette guides did little to answer the majority of my questions – it seemed that, where calling and visiting cards required an entire chapter to discuss their complexities, glove-wearing was so well-understood a convention, it barely deserved a mention. So, I had to dig a little deeper. I asked a few likely parties for their advice, and ran a few google searches… and I have brought my findings together here, to create the definitive guide to glove-wearing especially for you, my dear readers!

Some general rules for polite society

  • Your gloves should be kept on when shaking hands (e.g., in a reception line) or when dancing.
  • Gloves may also be worn while drinking, though care must be exercised not to spill liquids on them, especially when the gloves are made of kidskin or some other delicate leather. It is better to remove, or partially remove them, when practicable.
  • Gloves should be removed and laid gently over yur handbag or the back of the chair while taking afternoon tea.
  • The basic rule as to length of gloves may be defined as follows: the shorter the sleeve, the longer the glove.
  • Six-button (14″ or thereabouts) gloves, also known as three-quarter length or coat-length gloves, may properly be worn with just about any length of sleeve. With longer sleeves, the armpieces are generally tucked under the sleeves.
  • Gauntlet-type gloves (gloves with flared armpieces) are also appropriate for wear with most sleeve lengths. The armpieces of gauntlets are customarily worn over the sleeve of your blouse or coat.
  • Traditionally, you should use a cigarette holder when smoking while wearing gloves, especially long gloves.


20th Century Glove Etiquette

Definite Don’ts

  • Don’t ever appear in public without gloves.
  • Don’t eat, drink, or smoke with gloves on.
  • Don’t play cards with gloves on.
  • Don’t apply makeup with gloves on.
  • Don’t wear jewelery over gloves, with the exception of bracelets.
  • Don’t make a habit of carrying your gloves ~ they should be considered an integral part of your costume.
  • Don’t wear short gloves to a very gala ball, court presentation or ‘White Tie’ affair at the White House or in honor of a celebrity.

Definite Do’s

  • Do wear gloves when you go shopping, visiting, driving; and for outdoor festivities such as garden parties, receptions.
  • Do wear gloves as a mark of respect in a place of worship.
  • Do wear gloves for formal indoor occasions: receptions, balls, and on arrival at a luncheon or dinner party.
  • Do keep gloves on in a receiving line.
  • Do keep gloves on while dancing at a formal party.
  • Do keep gloves on at a cocktail party until the drinks and hors d’oeuvres are passed. Then turn gloves back at the wrist or remove one glove.
  • Do remove gloves entirely at the dining table.
  • Do remove gloves after your arrival at an informal party or luncheon, leaving them with your coat.


Opera gloves

  • Traditionally, opera gloves should not be put on in public, but should be donned in the privacy of one’s home before going out. (This originates in the Victorian era, when gloves became so tight as to require the use of talcum powder and button hooks to fasten them. ) When putting on gloves, always work in the hand from the wrist, then gradually smooth the glove up the arm.
  • Your gloves should be kept on when shaking hands (e.g., in a reception line) or when dancing.
  • When you sit down to dinner, you should take off your gloves, and put them back on when dinner is over.
  • If you remove your opera gloves, you should not take them off in a way that calls undue or seductive attention to the process (unless, of course, you are attempting to seduce the viewer!)
  • You can partially remove your opera gloves in this fashion: unbutton the mousquetaire wrist opening and pull your hand out through the opening. The empty glove hand can then be rolled up neatly to wrist level, either tucked under the wrist or under your bracelet, if you are wearing bracelets.
  • Opera gloves are properly worn with sleeveless or short-sleeved dresses or strapless, sleeveless (with straps) or short-sleeved evening gowns.
  • White and its various shades, including ivory, beige and taupe, are the traditional colors for opera gloves and are appropriate for virtually any occasion on which opera gloves are worn.
  • Black opera gloves should not be worn with white or light-colored dresses or gowns, but can be worn with black, dark-colored or bright-colored clothing.
  • Opera gloves of other colors generally should be worn only in coordination with the color scheme of the dress or gown you are wearing.



One of the best-known styles of opera glove is the mousquetaire, given its name from the gauntlets worn by French musketeers during the 16th and 17th centuries. The mousquetaire can be recognised by it’s wrist-level opening, usually closed by pearl buttons. These became particularly popular as they allowed a lady to undo the buttons and slip her wrist out, folding away the fingers neatly and so making eating and drinking far less troublesome than removing the entire glove.

The mousquetaire opening/fastening for women’s long gloves seems to have become most popular during the Victorian era; during the Napoleonic/Regency period, women’s long gloves were often tailored to fit loosely on the wearer’s arm, and were often worn gathered below the elbow or held up on the biceps with a garter-like strap.


Flirting with gloves

The use of fan signals in flirtation during the Victorian era is common knowledge, but did you know that gloves were used in much the same way? A few commonly-known signals include:

  • Twirling one’s gloves around her fingers – We are being watched
  • Holding the tips of the gloves downward – I wish to be acquainted
  • Gently smoothing the gloves – I wish I were with you; I would like to talk with you
  • Holding one’s gloves loosely in her right hand – Be contented
  • Holding one’s gloves loosely in her left hand – I am satisfied
  • Striking one’s gloves over her hands – I am displeased
  • Tossing one’s gloves up gently – I am engaged
  • Tapping one’s chin with her gloves – I love another
  • Dropping one of her gloves – Yes
  • Dropping both gloves – I love you
  • Turning the wrong side of one’s gloves outward – I hate you


Bridal gloves

For rules relating directly to bridal gloves and wedding etiquette this ezine article offers a comprehensive guide. However, if you’re to acknowledge strict, traditional rules, you should always wear a six button glove with a wedding dress.