Best glove forward: Chester Jefferies at Kensington Bespoke


chester jefferies glove maker logo
There’s such a thing as a master glove maker, in case you didn’t know. In charge of selecting and preparing the finest leather for cutting, the master glove maker oversees the whole process of making a pair of fine leather gloves.

One of Kensington Bespoke’s brands, Chester Jefferies, has been making England’s finest gloves since 1936, and their company history is truly worthy of the word ‘heritage’. The name Jefferies was first associated with glove making in the UK in the 1820s, and the practice itself can be dated back to 14th Century North Dorset. There are still three family members involved in the business, including the third and fourth generations.

glove sewing machine chester jefferies factory

Traditions to hold onto

Historically, craftspeople would make leather gloves for manufacturers from their own home, rather than in a factory or premises, because the glove market was most popular in the winter months and many couldn’t guarantee they’d be needed all year round. Gloves were popular gifts and often passed down in people’s wills because they were so long lasting and expensive to buy brand new.

When French and Italian goods became available in England after an embargo, the history of English-made gloves started to suffer, and a host of foreign materials became available to wealthy shoppers. Now, there’s an unbelievable amount of choice when it comes to leather goods, but the grassroots British glove making industry has stayed prosperous.

mens gloves from chester jefferies

The finest leather never goes out of style

So long hogskin leather of the 1930s, and hello South African capeskin leather of today. The pieces of leather are still inspected now by the master glove maker just as they were then, and there’s a choice of lambskin, deerskin, carpincho and more.

Kensington Bespoke’s collection of Chester Jefferies gloves are made from soft capeskin leather for men and women, open at the wrist or with a button. It takes up to 2 weeks for a pair to be hand sewn, processed and quality controlled.

Rather than using ‘outworkers’, the gloves are now made in Gillingham in Dorset and have been since 1963, continuing the tradition of Dorset being at the centre of the English glove trade.

gloves by chester jefferies are hand sewn

Hand stitched vs. machine stitched

When you compare something made by hand to made by machine, it doesn’t necessarily indicate a difference in quality.

With hand sewn gloves, the leather is sewn edge to edge using a total of 2000 stitches, and the process takes even an experienced maker over 2 hours from start to finish. Machine stitched gloves can be stitched in exactly the same way, just not by hand, and much faster.

Ladies’ gloves are often Pique stitched, which overlaps the edges and creates a tighter-fitting, more slender glove. Whipstitch can also ensure the seams don’t show, even when the glove is stitched in the traditional edge-to-edge way. All are carefully crafted and time-tested techniques.

 

There’s no need to hunt high and low for quality leather gloves, Kensington Bespoke is the home of handpicked luxuries. Browse Chester Jefferies, one of the oldest glove makers in the UK, at kensington-bespoke.uk.