The perfect glove did not exist. So I set about designing exactly what I wanted and it’s #BritishMade.
By Katherine Pyne, designed2enable
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designed2enable’s stylish Jaunty Wheelchair Gloves came about due to my frustration with wearing cycling gloves when I wanted to go out shopping or somewhere special.
I’d put on something nice to look good and then have to top it off with these very practical but not very attractive cycling gloves. When I looked for something better there was nothing available, so I decided to have a go at making something myself.
I enlisted the help of my good friend Claire Morgan, to design the wheelchair gloves. Claire, a qualified accountant, is also an accomplished dressmaker. She took on the challenge of making prototype gloves in her spare time with great enthusiasm and much needed patience, with me trialling at every stage.
We started our wheelchair glove project in 2011, initially working to produce a slip-on glove using Lycra with a leather padded palm. We spent hours working on the technical issues of trying to sew leather on to Lycra, which unfortunately did not seem to be very compatible.
Eventually, thanks to Claire’s patience, we created a glove that you could slip easily onto your hand and was suitable for general wheelchair users. They were also suitable for those with limited hand dexterity, which was an important factor in our design. But when we finally reached a working glove design we realised that manufacturing them in Lycra would be too costly and difficult to produce so it was back to the drawing board. We were determined not to be beaten!
We then moved to working with leather and found a professional glove maker who worked closely with us to produce our beautiful Jaunty Wheelchair Gloves. The gloves have been tried and tested by other wheelchair users, resulting in the final product, which designed2enable is very proud to take to market.
The gloves have a neoprene padded palm and thumb piece and a luxury soft leather feel. Available in a three colour options, with a fully adjustable Velcro strap. The strap and trim are detailed in a contrasting colour to co-ordinate with any outfit; ideal for shopping, around town or special occasions.
Each pair of wheelchair gloves is hand-made in the UK using Hair Sheep leather from Africa which offers a perfect pelt for gloves. The Hair Sheep is bred for meat and the leather used as a bi-product.
The next stage of the design process will be to produce an alternative glove that will meet the needs for those with limited hand dexterity.