Tuesday, October 17, 2017

15th century Heart shaped Hennin

In order to match my in progress houpelande, I needed some sort of period headwear. Now the 15th century is notable for many things, amoung them the sheer volume of truly EPIC headgear. From things that look like a lampshade inverted over the head, to the large number of different varieties of hennin, to some truly incredible pinned and shaped veils, the 15th century has the fabulous and faintly ridiculous to the modern eye headgear competition won. In fact, sifting through it to find something that I could wear and not feel totally ridiculous was difficult. The sheer size of many of the pieces is daunting, even allowing for artistic licence. My personal favorites are images from the beautiful fresco work of the nine worthies and the nine worthy women by Giacamo Jaquerio.

after a lot of looking at pictures, and sending pictures to friends and laughing over them. I decided that I had two options: I could go with matronly and demure, with a folded and pinned veil, something like this one from Van der Weyden. It would require some sort of basic supports, but I likely had all the moving parts for from my 14th century wimple/veil/false braids combo. This would be low key, which, as I'm going to be a companion for one of the consorts at the east kingdom crown tournament when I wear this ensemble for the first time, would be suitable. It's also appropriate for my age and also my sort of station in life. By medieval standards, I am a matron.

OR I could do something fun and ridiculous. I was drawn to this more moderate heart shaped hennin and folded veil, also from the fresco of the 9 worthies. I say more moderate as compared to the really obnoxious examples. like another from the same fresco. Now THAT is some hat!

While  have nothing against personifying myself as demure and retiring with my headwear (and in fact do go out properly wimpled and veiled whenever I do 14th century. which is rare but does happen) the chance to do something so (the adjective I keep coming back to is "ridiculous") completely over the top is rare. and it just looked like a good deal of fun, if I could get past people staring at me.

In the end I made my decision spontaneously on a day when I felt terrible, but still had to supervise the horde. I just needed something funny and cheerful to work on by hand while I sat propped upright at the table. And thus the heart shaped hennin was born.

Construction wise, I haven't heard of any surviving headdresses, so all we have are pictures and written accounts to go on. I've seen the heart shaped hennin reproduced a number of ways. A lot of them I find unlikely and some of them I think look wrong (personal opinion. not based on irrefutably concrete evidence or exhaustive research.) So I made it up as I went along, picking the method that seemed most likely to me, and extrapolated most from earlier headdresses: under the logical assumption that it's more likely that people would adapt a known form than create something brand new. (not that it never happens. but typically fashion proceeds one step at a time not in grand leaps.)
I started with a sort of elongated semi pointy caul shape to cover my ear and the side of my head. I first patterned it out of cardboard, and when the shape seemed reasonable, cut and sewed it out of heavy duty needlepoint foundation. Yes, the proper thing to do would be to use buckram. But I had this, and wanted to see if it would do in a pinch.
I made two of the caul pieces, and then set them aside to make essentailly a closely fitted coif of the same foundation material. first shaping it with a single center seam, and then tightening it in over the ears with a pair of darts.  With that solid, I attached the side pieces to it with pins. To be sure that the shape was right, I used a tea towel as a stunt double for the eventual padded roll adornment. So far so good. (I then proceeded to send pictures to all my friends that needed something to laugh about.)

With the shape set, it was time to start building the actual hat. First it all had to be padded with layers of batting to both finish out the shape, and to disguise sharp seam edges. I used the batting that I keep on the roll here, which is Quilters Dream angel. It was nice for this because it's dense and fairly firm rather than just super fluffy. It's also fairly easy to stretch to shape and tack down.

 I used multiple layers places where it need needed a softer, rounder shape: over the ears of the caul parts, and along the center ridge seam of the coif part.

 Then a single layer over everything. I paid particular attention to basting and butting the seams in the joins so that there wasn't any overlap. this kept the crease between wings and head shape and neat. I was also sure to pull the outside over the tip of the wings and baste it on the inside so that any lumps would be hidden by the padded roll.

 The last step on the base was to wire the edges. this ensures that the cap or hat or whatever millinery you are making maintains the shape of it's edges. In this case it's particularly important because it keeps the edges of the cauls tight to your face. Typically one would use Millinery or florist's wire. This is copper ground wire, because it's easy to shape, sturdy, and (this is a repetitive refrain of mine) I already had it lying about. I tacked the wire in place to be sure the bends were right, then used blanket stitch to attach it all the way around the edge. Usually I've whip stitched, but for this application i liked the way blanket stitch held the wire better: it made a sort of casing.

With the base done, I started covering everything in fabric by draping a long strip of bias cut black cloth (the same from my gown) over the coif portion of the hennin. Bias allowed me to pull it tight to shape along the top, only taking in a small dart at the center back. I basted it to the batting where it will go under the sides, and carefully basted it into the joins between the wings and coif. 
then the inside of the wings. I was originally going to cut the pattern piece out and then sew it like a slip cover, but because of the added padding, and because the draping on the center part went so well, I decided to just drape bias cut pieces of fabric over the wings as well. This portion got photographed and sent to all my friends as well, since it looked like I had a giant bat perched on my head..... I was everyone's comedic relief while I was working on this thing (including my own!)

 it looked a good deal less like an errant bat once I'd trimmed the fabric, gathered it, and whip stitched it down to the padding.

It was also at this point that I decided the tall points of the cauls were a bit less sturdy than they needed to be to hold up to decorating and padded rolls and whatnot. They tended to want to collapse in on themselves when I was stitching them, and I was afraid that they might get accidentally crushed and be hard to re form once the hat was lined. So I packed a little poly fill into the tops just to firm them up a little. That solved the problem and they held up beautifully to all the rest of the decorating.
with the major construction of the form done, it was time to finish off the inside of the cap with a lining. I made the lining like a coif, with a single curved back seam, then basted it into the inside. Because the foundation of the hennin has numerous shaping darts, I had to slightly gather the lining into it. For this reason I used a very thin cotton muslin, that wouldn't be awkardly bulky. I carefully turned and whip stitched the lining down to the brow portion of the cap, then bound off the rest of it with some matching linen bias tape I had lying around from another project. 
 Next project was covering the cauls. I had a plan for a scrap of burgundy or dark fuchsia (somewhere in the middle. very pretty) velvet I had. Unfortunately it had been in the bottom of a bin and was quite crushed. A good steaming and brushing with a stiff bristled brush sorted everything out though.
 I cut the cauls using the pattern from the foundation, plus a little extra to allow for padding. I decorated them with beads and gold ribbon and braid in a lattice pattern. Because by this point I had challenged myself to make the whole hat with nothing but what I had on hand, I ended up making different design choices than I usually would, but I think the final effect is very pleasing.
 With the cauls made, I mounted them on the side pieces. The grand plan is to make it so that I can switch the side pieces without completely deconstructing the whole hat. So the decoration was mounted to the velvet, then the velvet pinned in place and whip stitched down to the form. I covered the stitching with some gold braid, then trimmed the edge with trim I made by braiding gold cord with faux pearl strand.

 With the hat itself finished, I turned to the padded roll. I made the base by wrapping strips of batting around a bent wire (ground wire again, because it's easier to shape than coathanger wire). Instead of wrapping it around a straight wire and then bending it into the characteristic V shape, I butted the batting at the front and back, and then cut it at an appropriate angle and whip stitched the ends together. This eliminated some of the possibly bulk and wrinkling.

 After checking the roll for size, I proceeded to cover it with some grey acetate faux silk from my stash. First whip stitching the fabric to the bottom of the roll, then wrapping it, turning the edge under, pinning it, and using small stitches to sew it down. With both sides sewn down, I angled the ends and carefully sewed them. angling the ends was important because it avoided a big bunch of ugly wrinkles right in the V of the roll. With the roll done, the final step was to bend it to shape and carefully baste it to the side pieces of the hat.

 and done! I'm still deciding on how to pin the veil and how much decoration to put on the roll. The small dangly things (called bezants) are period but I'm not sure if I love them. it seems to depend on how I want to pin my veil. Since this is just a stunt veil made of a piece of bridal tulle (the organza for the veil proper is on order.) I've decided to wait till I have the final veil done to decide how I'm going to pin it and if I want the bezants or not. I like them with the veil pinned this way.
But I dislike them with it pinned this way, with the "butterfly" in the center. Both are period methods of veil arrangement taken from images. but I'm not sure which I'l like more.

The other thing to take notice of is how much further down my forehead the front of my headdress is than the period images. I took it as far up to my hairline as I could without having hair sticking out (and I have a moderately high forehead) but it's still lower than period images. During this time period a high forehead was considered a sign of beauty and intelligence, so women would pluck their foreheads much like we now pluck our eyebrows. Since I am not going to pluck my forehead, I am left with a slightly off representation of the period look.

Pictures of the full ensemble will be coming once I finish up my Houpelande and get the proper veil finished.

Monday, October 9, 2017

In search of Armor: Breastplate and tunic

With my kidney belt finished I moved onto the last remaining piece of my basic armor (not counting legs and helmet, which I'm still using loaner.) Over the kidney belt and rerebraces, I wanted to wear a plain short sleeved linen tunic. From what we can extrapolate from grave finds and art work, vikings did wear a sort of standard geometric tunic pattern, although they sometimes did shape the sleeves and armholes (as I do in my Serks). For this I decided to just keep the standard roomy "T" shape The loose sleeve is very easy to move in, and the more awkward drape isn't something I'm concerned about all that much when I'm wearing armor anyhow. Since by this time we were on final approach for pennsic, I just needed to get it done so I could get out of what i Had started referring to as the "hedgehog armor."

 I had bought blue and gold linen for this purpose several months ago on an excursion to a fabric warehouse, Indigo for the body, gold from the trim. I trimmed the sleeves, neck, and hem with the gold,  and covered the join to the body with a couched cord. The couched cord is found on smokkr fragments found in birka (1) although not used exactly in this way.

This is the most basic design in historical sewing, very fabric efficient because it's all squares and half rectangle triangles. I did flat fell all the seams for comfort and strength, and I made the under arm gusset much larger than I do on my normal garments, just to give it that little extra ease and make it easier to move in, and easier to get on and off over partial armor.

I also tried a new thing with the bottom trim. It's curved so it's a bit tricky. if you cut it in a long shaped strip, it's wicked inneficient use of fabric. lots of waste. If you cut it in pieces to match the ends of the gores, it's a lot of seams, and hard to get all the seam points matched up. If you make it straight and let it hang down, it hangs super weird and looks funny. So I cut a long straight strip, sewed it onto the edge, flipped it up to the outside of the tunic, and turned the edges under. Now I had an upper edge that was bigger than the garment. So at each seam along the side I took a small dart in by hand, from the edge of the trim to the top, shaping the trim evenly to the garment. The darts look like an extension of the garment seams, and the trim lies flat and smooth. I joined it to the body with a couched cord. The down side is that it makes 2 layers along the bottom of the garment, which is more wasteful. But on the other hand it weights the hem and makes hang very nicely. I think on balance it was a successful experiment, and I will repeat.

For the breastplate, I drafted a pattern from my gambeson, which was already patterned to wear over my breast band, which binds my chest flatter than a modern bra. I cut it out of stiff paper, because I didn't have cereal boxes big enough, and taped it together. Then I cut and shaped until it fit well over gambeson and breast band, leaving a little ease for the tunic. Instead of a seam directly over the shoulder, I used a long flat piece along the shoulder with an extended tab over the top of the arm. This both eliminated a seam at a pressure point where it could potentially cause discomfort, and gave me a place to rivet my spaulders.

I cut the breastplate pieces for medium weight leather for the sides, and heavy leather over the chest. This isn't to protect my chest as much as it is to protect my collar bones, sternum, and upper ribs. In my few months fighting, it's not super common to get hit on the chest, although that may be partially a function of preferring to fight sword and shield to other forms, but most blows seem to come down onto the shoulders, where they get deflected by the spaulders. Why then do I bother with anything past a heavy collar to protect your collarbones and support the spaulders? Aside from the occasional odd ball shot that was meant for your face but landed on your chest instead, a couple of the guys in my practice have a nasty hanging shot that comes in behind your shield and lands thumpingly on your sternum. In addition to that, when I do eventually take up forms that don't involve a shield, my whole upper torso becomes a prime target until I learn to block.

I pre punched small holes all along the edge of the breast plate pieces with my awl, then sewed them together with waxed leather thread (which is actually a sort of very fine braided cord) I then went back over the stitching the other way, making the exposed stitching look like a row of X's. This involved the use of pliers and a hand pad. I didn't want to punch the holes too large, but in hind sight I should have made them a little larger, because I broke two needles gripping them with the pliers to yank them through.

I didn't want to super water harden this piece, because I just didn't think it needed to be rigid, and I wanted some flex in thesides for ease of movement (although the way I patterned it I think I could have made it of kydex and still gotten complete range of motion.) but it did need to be shaped, and stiff. So I put on my gambeson, wrapped myself in saran wrap to protect it, then put on an old t-shirt of my husband's to simulate the bulk of the tunic. I submerged the breastplates in almost boiling water for about 20 seconds, until the edges had JUST started to shrivel a little, Then put it on, and stretched and formed it into shape. I wrapped it on with a giant ace bandage until it had cooled. Then I put it over a pillow so it would hold it's shape while it dried.

I attached a piece of suede for the back and shoulders (This will be covered by my scale mail drape, so it not only doesn't need to be rigid, but it's preferable that it not be) and added ties to one side so I could get in and out. Then I took it to a friend's house so he could help me drill holes in my stainless spaulders and I could rivet them on. I also wanted the advice of a more experienced armorer (I have so little experience it's not funny, he's been making armor for something like 20 years I think.) for the most effective placement of the spaulders. He actually decided I should put them on upside down, they fit my narrower shoulders better that way, and higher up than is totally standard. He also advised me on the best way to pad the inside of the spaulders, so that the ends and edges don't dig in when I get a direct hit. I wouldn't have thought of that until I'd been hit once, so I'm thankful.

And it was done! just in time for a shake down cruise to pennsic. I do NOT advise this course of action. ideally you should try your new armor at a few practices to work out any wrinkles, but I was determined to be rid of the heavy, uncomfortable loaner breastplate for pennsic and it's long days of field battles. So I packed an extensive repair kit, crossed my fingers, and jumped in at the deep end. Thankfully, it had no problems. It survived trial by fire with flying colors! I was deeply thankful for the padding in the spaulders a couple of times. It was light, mobile, and comfortable. The only down side of the shorty breastplate I found in a week of fighting is that in some positions spear to the ribs can miss both belt and breastplate and nail you. That happened once and all the air exited my lungs in a whoosh. Heck of a shot by the spear. I also want to get the drape done before I do another round of melee, because pole arm to the back on padding only kind of sucks (although that wool padding is surprisingly effective. I got pole armed to the back a couple times and I was sure I was going to have big old bruises, and didn't.)
Waiting to tag back in at the
allied champions battle. I still
look silly.
Photo by James Pallack
My probationary household member tabard almost
completely covers my armor, which actually improves
the look for early period.
Photo by James Pallack

and a gratoutious shot of me with some of my hopefully someday household brothers, mustering on the field.
 Fighting with these guys is a joy and an honor. I hope to continue doing it for a long time.
Photo Credit: Charla Kinzel

1) Orignal source: Hägg, I. 1974. Kvinnodräkten i Birka: Livplaggens rekonstruktion på grundval av det arkeologiska materialet. Uppsala, Archaeological Institute. ISBN 9150600028
translated in this excellent article about smokkr

Friday, August 25, 2017

Post Pennsic Roundup

I'm back from Pennsic! I survived (even unpacking) and I had a great time. I know I've been a little quieter than usual in the months leading up, but I was SO busy I just didn't have the energy for blogging. Before I finish up posts about my armor (which got it's shakedown cruise on the battlefield at Pennsic!) and a few other things I've been working on, I thought I'd do a quick roundup of all the basic sewing I've done to get ready for the summer events this year. Even though the big kids went to camp grandma instead of Pennsic (so they didn't need a weeks worth of clothes), it was a huge amount of work to have enough clothes for me, the Husbeast, and Kitten to survive a week with only one round of laundry. I didn't get everything done I wanted to, but next year I can add to the wardrobe without the pressure. I KNOW we can survive a week with just what we have. We also finished our tents up (finally) complete with sunshade, and the Husbeast made us a bed and sundry other furnishings.

I do spend a lot of time on the interesting and new projects that I usually write up for this blog, but I also spend a lot of time on the very basic sewing that keeps everyone clothed for events, mending, and also mundane sewing (particularly for Ladybug). This year there has been a LOT of that basic,  keep people from going naked, sewing.  Thankfully, the sheer volume I've had to produce this year will not be an annual event. Sooner than later Kitten will start getting Ladybug's old garb, and the same holds true for Crash and Bang. God bless hand me downs. Also, Now that Husbeast has a basic wardrobe, I can add to it in a more seemly and less panicked manner.

So here's what I've accomplished in the last 4 months that hasn't been interesting enough to blog about. (although some of it may show up in later posts!) Everything is Terribly wrinkly because I just got home from pennsic, washed it all, and folded it to put it away, then decided to take pictures, and unfolded it....

Kitten has 5 small back lacing gowns, a hood, a kaftan, a nightgown, and a tiny coif for to keep the sun off her noggin.

 Her Kaftan and hood are wool. The kaftan is upcycled from two old wool skirts, and the hood is a scrap I had leftover from another project. It's edged with blanket stitch, and seamed with van dyke stitch, all in crewel wool. I used the leftovers to make a little tassel. The kaftan has some decorative stitching in silk Perle.
The yoke on this little butterfly gown is upcycled from an vintage doily. This (and all the others this year) is Baby Gown v2.0 It back laces with a fingerloop braided cord and hand eyelets. Much easier to get on, and she can't take it off!
 Crash got two new tunics, a nightshirt, and a new pair of Thorsbjurg trousers.

He also got this upcycled cloak. We were given an old cloak that was made of two layers of heavy wool and had lost it's clasp. I took it apart, let the boys choose lining fabric, and made two new cloaks. In addition he got a new hood since he outgrew his wool one. This is a lighter weight linen one (originally intended as a fencing hood but didn't fit the helmet right.) and edged with satin stitch worked in green wool.

Bang got two new tunics, two new pairs of thorsbjurg trousers, a nightshirt, and his half of the upcycled cloak project. Thankfully Crash's hand me down hood fits him just right.
 Ladybug still had some garments, so she got two new gowns, a nightgown, and some accessories.
She asked for a hennin and veil, but I told her that wasn't really a thing little girls wore in the 14th century, but I'd find something. A little research led me to discover that younger girls did wear chaplets of flowers, sometimes real, sometimes jeweled or enameled. So I made her this little chaplet of enameled flowers. Also she got the silly embroidered purse.
The nice thing about viking is my garb needs are fairly few and simple. (Thankfully because I needed armor.) I made two new Serks of linen, one with silk trim. and a pair of (also linen) Thorsbjurg trousers for fighting in.
Himself on the other hand, has ALL The garb needs. Particularly because he needs body linens in addition to outer clothing. I finished two shirts for wear, and two shirts to fight in, with at least a little embroidery on them.
I learned to do pulled work on his shirts, and found it addictive. Here's the neck opening of one of his wearing shirts.  (the collar is worked too)
And the cuff of one of his fighting shirts. The little zig zag was really fun!
 He had no clothes, so He got a half circle wool and velvet cloak, lined in silk, one suit of clothes (brown trunkhose and blue doublet) and one pair of camp pants out of a single layer of linen canvas. He can wear those around camp with just a shirt and be more comfortable and cool. He still wore his viking some too. Hopefully by next year he'll have enough of his own period of clothes he won't have to wear the viking at all.
He also had to have a fighting houpelande to match the rest of our household that we're in the process of joining when he was out on the melee field. This has a hanging sleeve (although you can't see it that well here.) it's two layers of linen in the body to pass the safety tests for SCA rapier fencing, and one layer in the sleeve.

Here he is fencing in it :) on the left with the loud tights and brown hood.
In addition to that I helped Husbeast with the fabric portion of our tents. That was a project and a half. I'm so thankful I have a heavy duty treadle machine to handle the sewing. I also have a new respect for tent makers.
After all that, I'm taking a bit of a break from projects with deadlines. I'm spending some time reading, weaving, working on an embroidered kaftan project, catching up on household duties (you can't see my poor roses for the weeds!) and generally decompressing.

Sneak Peek of the Kaftan project!! 

Thursday, July 20, 2017

My gloveing journey: A pair of armored gauntlets

 When I started loking at women's armor for inspiration, the first thing that I was really attracted to was a set of thigh guards and vambraces made from soft leather with sewn channels for metal strapping. I looked and said: "That looks like boning channels, I can do this!" So I designed these gloves with attached vambraces, based on a pair of Wisby style gauntlets I'd seen on pinterest. Essentially the pattern is like any other cuffed glove, although the cuff is longand fitted. Articulated finger backs for full gauntlets are far beyond my current skill and budget, but it should be theoretically possible to remove the vambraces, attach armor to the gloves, and then reattach the vambraces. Maybe I'll even figure out how to make the articulated fingers myself at some point (or more likely my husband will)

I decided that I'd use up my giant pile of good quality leather scraps on these gloves to save the limited funds for other armoring projects, and because I kind of liked the patchwork look of it (this is one of those "I saw a thing once upon a time and it stuck in my brains" ideas). It certainly makes my style very personalized, if not really Historically accurate. But the historical accuracy of a set of gauntlets for a viking persona is debatable at best, so I decided to go with making something fun for myself.

I started by making a cardboard pattern for the vambrace, and taping it onto my arm until I got a good shape with coverage up to the elbow but the ability to flex my arm. I really like cardboard for patterning things that will be stiff, because you can tape it on and see if it needs to be trimmed because it's bidning/jabbing/etc. Then I traced that onto a piece of butchers paper, and started laying out scraps to fit, and sewing them together. It's a bit tricky, because you don't want to cut a seam, so you can't just sew it all together into a big square then cut your patterns in the traditional way, but I managed to piece the outsides of a pair of vambraces in an evening.

I had a lot of "help" from Kitten. Who wants to be involved with everything.

I drafted a basic glove pattern, and fit it with a
felt mockup. I must finally be getting better at this, because this time around I only had to do one mockup, and only two small changes. I'm still having trouble getting the amount of ease in the fingers right: the thumb was snug and the two middle fingers were about a quarter inch loose, I slimmed down the fouchettes to correct that problem, and traced out a final pattern. I'd also forgotten to center the thumb on the palm side of the first finger again, but that was easily set right. I then proceeded to trace a clean copy, and cut it apart into bits so that I could piece it from scraps without having to either a) cut the seams or b) ending up with a continuous line of stitching across the knuckles, which I thought would be awkward looking. I taped the fouchettes to some of the fingers to give my one piece to cut out instead of two, carefully overlapping the seam allowances so that the pieces would be the right size.

When I was done putting all the pieces together I was left basically with a standard glove that had the
fouchettes put in already. Remaining was the thumb and the final finger seam. Typically I do that final finger seam on the treadle machine to expedite things, but because of the way the fingers were pieced together I decided to just bite the bullet and do it by hand.

with the hands and vambraces all together I was ready to splint the vambraces 

I used metal intended for welding sourced from the hardware store for my splints. My husband cut it and rounded the edges, and then I painted it with 3 layers of rustoleum. Why would I do that? because I'm going to sweat all over these things regularly, and they may not dry out as quickly as I'd like. Rust will ruin these from the inside out in very short order. I wish I could have found aluminum from my splints, as it would have been lighter, and rust proof, but this was what I could easily source locally, and compared to the arms I'm currently wearing, it's light as a feather.

With the metal ready, I sewed boning channels into my canvas and lining, and inserted the splints. Awesome lining fabric is leftover from a quilting project. I decided NOT to pad the lining, as I'd originally considered, but rather to pad my gambeson underneath, with the idea that separate layers will dry more quickly. The padding will protect my arm from the splints. If this seems like an aggressive amount of protection, it probably is, but I watched someone get their forearm broken a few years ago, and I'd rather wear something a little heavy than have that happen. Melee is a hot mess, and sticks fly everywhere. With my smaller frame, a misplaced or mistimed chop from a great weapon would be all it would take. Maybe eventually for tourney I will decide on something lighter.  I put the leather on top of the splints, and bound them with suede using my trusty treadle machine. Then I sewed on buckles and straps.

about this time I decided to try and incorporate hardened demi gauntlets into my design to save me from wearing a pair over the gloves. I had already made a cardboard pattern and mockup for these, and I decided to get rid of the cuff, and rivet the hand direct to the glove itself before attaching the vambrace. I felt this would streamline the dressing process and save me from the dread demi gauntlets. I'd been through 3 or 4 different loaned pairs (in varying shades of "doesn't fit") and didn't much care for any of them.

I cut the gauntlet pieces, sewed them together, and water hardened them. To shape them over my hands I put on the gloves with a pair of surgical gloves over top of them, to protect them from the water. Then I slapped the hot wet leather right onto my hand, covered it with a piece of plastic wrap, and taped it to my hand with athletic tape. I left it taped to my hand until it was thoroughly cooled, then took it off very gently, and tied it gently around so that it wouldn't fall out of shape as it dried. Once it was dry, I quick riveted it to the back of the hand. Then I sewed the cuff onto the hand with a stitching awl. This seam can be undone easily should i manage to get articulated hands for these gauntlets.

The bottom of the wrist seam is left un sewn. This allows for better mobility in the joint.  The leather strap across the palm keeps the hardened plate from flapping.

The gentle curve down over the knuckles gives me better coverage without limiting my mobility. You don't want any squishy bits sticking out of your shield boss or hilt basket, and i prefer a smaller hilt basket. so thumb and hand coverage is key. 
With the basic gauntlet done, I needed make a floating piece to cover the space between hand back and splints,  that would help protect my wrist and make sure I passed inspection. I needed to do this without limiting my mobility. which is a pretty tall order. One of the more senior fighters that I was complaining to had the excellent idea of attaching a small wrist plate with elastic to the sides of the glove. I went back to the cardboard for a trial run and found that a blobby crescent sort of shape, if given a little stretch, covered the questionable chink in my armor, and didn't bind up on my wrist. I cut it from leather, wet shaped it, and attached it with elastic tabs. 
the finished right glove. complete with wrist guard. 

elastic tabs mounted on rivets through the hand plate give the wrist guard some flex. the curved up shape keeps it away from my wrist and allows a pretty full range of wrist motion. 

from the top you can see that the floating plate gives complete coverage of the gap between the splinted vambrace and the hand plate. I wore the gloves for several weeks without the wrist plate, and got hit in the wrist a couple times without issue, but this way they will consistently pass inspection. The extra protection for the wrist is no bad thing either I need my wrists for sewing. 

For the record, this is the stupidest way to make a glove EVER, and I could have made 3 pairs of regular gloves, maybe more, in the time it took me to make these. But I love them so much I totally don't care. Sometimes, since I have to be aggressively practical in most of my mundane life, it's just nice to break out in impracticality in some way!