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Mei How-to #2 – Gloves

 

Okay, so on to part 2 of my series of posts about creating my Mei cosplay!

The gloves were reasonably straight forward. I’ve made gloves from scratch before, but the process is really fiddly, and generally I can find gloves where the palm matches the color and texture I want so I can just add to them. That’s the approach I took with these.

First, I enlarged a screenshot of Mei from one of the character introduction videos Blizzard put out. It showed the palms of her gloves pretty well, and I used this as reference to find a pair of gloves on eBay that matched the palms as closely as possible. I didn’t worry too much about the upper portion of the gloves, since this was all going to be covered.

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I settled on these motocross gloves. At $7.54AUD, I was pretty happy with how close they were – they’re black and not dark navy, and they don’t have the piping, but with just over one week remaining until the convention, they were exactly what I wanted.
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After removing all the armor on the upper part of the gloves (and setting that aside – these sorts of things come in really handy for future projects), I flipped the gloves upside down and traced around them to make my pattern. For the thumb, I pinned the base of the thumb in place on the pattern and then rolled the thumb out. Afterwards, I patterned the gauntlet portion of the glove, and taped the two pieces together to form the final pattern.

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Bear in mind that it may look a little different depending on the gloves you use. My pattern here is a little difficult to interpret (I cut out the bits for the EVA detailing – ignore that for now), but the important bit to note is where it says to leave the section that lays across the inside wrist open – as in, don’t stitch (or glue) this bit to your gloves. This is important because it’s much easier to put on your gloves by wiggling your fingers through the gap and holding on to the base glove while you put your hand inside than holding the end of the gauntlet section. Also note that the section marked for EVA doesn’t go all the way to the wrist – this allows room to insert your hand.

Mark up your pattern, and cut it out. I used a blue upholstery vinyl for mine, and I made the piping from leftover jacket fabric. Pipe the edges around the wrist, knuckles and thumb, like so:

 

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After that, cut out the section for your detailing and add your white trim. I made mine out of some shiny white tablecloth PVC, just to add a bit of textural difference. I used double-sided tape to hold it in place and then machine stitched it in place.

Next up was attaching everything to the EVA gauntlets – here the gloves really do start to take shape. I didn’t mark the EVA, because I was happy with the natural color of the foam, and I didn’t want any visible markings. I simply stretched the blue vinyl bits and pinned them in place, keeping things looking nice and even. I glued it in place with hot glue.

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After that, you’re onto EVA detailing – I used thin A3 foamies. I stuck double sided tape over the area I was going to cut my details from, then traced the detailing onto the back of the taped area. I then used a scalpel to cut the detailing out – this gives you nice clean work with no pen lines. Just peel off the backing and stick them in place – because you’re using the thing 2mm foamies, the double sided tape is more than enough to keep these in place, and is far less fiddly than trying to glue everything. Repeat this for all of your thin  EVA detailing. For the white detailing, I used hot glue to very delicately glue the extra V-shaped detail on (which, again, was cut out of the tablecloth PVC) and the little spots.

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The next bit was to stitch on the extra un-piped sections for the fingers (I stitched in the ditch of the piping with white thread), stitch the gauntlet closed, then stitch the part you’ve just made to the purchased gloves. I hand stitched in the ditch of the piping, then glued the little finger pieces down with some hot glue. I find this is a lot more solid than just gluing everything, but if that’s too fiddly and you’re not too concerned about durability, go ahead and glue everything – just make sure you’re not stitching or gluing the fingers closed, so put your hand inside the glove to test every so often, or stick the end of a paintbrush inside the fingers while you sew, like I did.

Then put the glove on and test – shiny!

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The last bit was to add is the padding on the back of the hands. I cut out some EVA blocks the right size and then glued some blue vinyl over them. Personally, I machine-stitched the corners, but it would be just as easy to fold and glue them. One important thing to remember here is once you’ve got your blocks covered, take some coarse sandpaper (300 or so) and thoroughly sand the portion of the vinyl that underlaps the block, since you’ll be gluing this down.

For the black rim, glue (I used contact adhesive) the block to a 2mm foamie, trace around it at a 5mm or so distance and cut along the line for your rim. Almost done!

I laid the block in place on each of the gloves, lightly traced around it with a pencil, then sanded that area of vinyl on the gloves – this is to ensure a good bond when I  glued it in place. I used contact adhesive, because this area was going to see a lot of flexing and hot glue wouldn’t stand up to that. It’s crucial to not use too much or too little here, or the block will peel off after a few hours. See the previous post for EVA gluing tips. To add the little white detail, I glued a tiny offcut of 2mm foam in place and stuck some white vinyl to that.

And I was done! The gloves took about a day to make, from start to finish, so they’re quite a quick thing to make. This technique can be adapted to make all sorts of gloves, and is a great shortcut for making really slick looking custom gloves for all sorts of cosplay projects.

See here for more pictures of the finished costume.

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