Full Circle

The Gloves and Boots

Gloves and Boots[Photograph Copyright © 2001 Gunther Anderson]

I spent a long time trying to find gloves and boots commercially that matched the look of the 2001 ones.  I was amazed that I couldn't find even blue chemical gloves, and all the gardening gloves were canvas gloves with rubber sprayed unevenly on them.  And likewise, the closest I found to the sorts of grey, heeled boots they used were children's ski boots.  And those were a little small.  After weeks digging through hardware stores, garden stores, and second-hand stores, I finally decided I had to make them myself.

Thankfully, the gorilla suit pattern I was using for the jump suit also came with a pattern for spats to be worn over regular shoes.  It wasn't what I wanted, but it gave me a starting point.  I measured the height of the boots based on the pictures I had from the movie, and extended the pattern vertically; I took the circumference of the embroidery hoops and narrowed them; and finally, I found soles to use, and extended the pattern to wrap completely around them.

The soles came from $3 grocery store flip-flops (you may know them as shower shoes).  I used two soles per boot.  Basically, the pattern was for spats, which are supposed to come down to the sole of your shoe, and are tied with an elastic band underneath.  I extended the spat pattern with tabs that could be folded under.  I placed one sole inside the boot, and glued the tabs on the bottom.  Then I took the other sole and glued it to the first one on the outside.  Poof, instant boots, and I just accepted that they wouldn't be properly heeled.  The material was grey vinyl, moderately textured, presumably, to feel like leather.

The Gloves and Boots on My SuitBowman's Boots and GloveThe gloves were a little harder.  Donna found for me a pattern for ladies' elbow gloves, with the thought that I might use it as a template for workable gloves for the suit.  But I decided they were just too complicated, involving a separate thumb piece, and really just too small, so I resorted to the old method of tracing my hand.  I started work in muslin (muslin is your friend - use it often), just like I had for the jump suit, and actually wound up making two trial sets, because the first were much too small.  I learned you need to allow at least a half an inch beyond the tracing of your hand for the roundness of the fingers.  After my trial and error, though, and after trimming the size to fit my hand better (not to mention the embroidery hoops), and getting used to turning gloves inside out, I wound up with a perfectly serviceable pair of blue gloves.  The material was a faux leather called Pleather®, which cut easily, and had the nice side effect that, under pressure of scissors, it tended to fuse lightly with the opposing piece (I cut front and back together).  That held the pieces together while I ran them through the sewing machine.

If you look on the movie frame above, you can probably see one of the things I did wrong about the gloves - the back of the hand is supposed to be the same ribbed material as the rest of the suit.  You can't see that the palms are a black rubbery material, but I didn't do that, either.  I just wanted blue gloves that looked sufficiently like the rubber or vinyl gloves used in the film.  From 20 feet, I did fine.

Once I had boots and gloves, I glued the last quarter inch of each to the inside surface of the outer rings from the embroidery hoops (see the Jump Suit section for more information about the embroidery hoops), leaving some slack under the tightening screw.  Now I can slide the boots and gloves over their corresponding inner hoops (glued to the jump suit), and tighten them in place.  I could actually take the gloves and boots off and on as needed, which made setting up in the green room much easier.  I still needed considerable help putting it all together, though, not least because it was difficult to bend down to attach the boots, and I tended to pull the gloves off the sleeves as I tried to slide them on.  In retrospect, both the sleeves and pant legs needed to be just a hair longer, and perhaps a hair narrower.

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