18th Century Mitts Tutorial Part Two: Construction

At the end of part 1 of my linen mitt adventure, I unfortunately came down with stomach flu and sewed my 18th century linen mitts to myself. Twice. Several days later, after I had recuperated from the gastro, and unpicked the mitts fabric from my pyjamas, I chastely and sedately finished embroidering the second pair. Here then, is 8th Century linen mitts Part 2: Construction

I also sewed that pair to my pyjamas as well, three times, but that is entirely incidental to this story and has no larger implications for my sewing competence. At all.

And then I cut.  Linen is wicked slippery, even when starched, and I hate cutting it. Possibly that is why I chose to make a second pair of 18th century mitts, so that I would enjoy cutting at least ONE pair of ’em.

A cut-out of a red cotton mitt lies on a green cutting board.

The linen napkins were very slightly too small for the pattern, so I ended up piecing the corners. Just the corners.

A lavender cut-out of a mitt lies on a green cutting board. The bottom right corner of the mitt has a small scrap of fabric pinned onto it.

Entropy House has a very good description of pieced mitts – make sure you keep your seam allowances and your grain directions, and everything will be fine!

The pieced pieces were stitched and felled,

A hand points towards a piece of lavender linen with a corner stitched and felled.

then the side seams were stitched and felled, the points were sewn, the thumb pieces were finished –

The thumb-piece of a lavender linen mitt lies wobbily on a table.

And the thumbs were attached, following the instructions on the Burnley and Trowbridge mitts sew-along video.

A thumb is pinned into place on a red cotton 18th century mitt
The inside of the thumb hole of a red 18th century mitt with the stitching line showing.

I hemmed the bottoms of the mitts, and then I tried my mitts on.

Clever readers will already have noticed what I had managed to completely miss until the mitts were already sewn and on my hands. I had seriously mis-positioned my mitt points. 

The bodies of two red18th Century mitts lie on a table. The mitt points are too far sideways.

Mitt points are supposed to be balanced over the flat of the back of the knuckles, but mine were wandering off sideways into my palm.  And they were too small. And too pointy.  I hated them.

A right hand wears a purple linen mit

I re-cut them to try and recenter the point, but it made them even pointier, and I only hated them worse./

Looking back now at the photos of the new points, they were perfectly respectable and okay, but in one of those really clever late-night sewing moments, I cut them off. 

A lavender mitt lies on a table next to a quilting ruler. The mitt's cut-off point lies next to it.

And I liked the mitts like that – pointless.

A hand wears a purple linen mitt with no point over the back of the hand.

They were elegant and clean – but as I was reminded, only really appropriate that way for the mid 1790s onward, which is WHY one doesn’t make late night decisions with scissors. However, with a clean slate, I was now able to draft the points I really wanted –  nice happy rounded summer points.  I stitched them and I sewed them on, and I felled the seams, and I had MITTS.

Happy, lightweight summer mitts.

A hand wearing a purple linen 18th Century mitt faces the camera palm-down


A hand wearing a purple linen 18th Century mitt faces the camera palm-up

Rich, saturated Christmas mitts.

A pair of red embroidered 18th century mitts lie on a table.

I felt mildly contented about it, actually!


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