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Friday, July 13

2011 Tutorial Round-up : Upcycled Sweater Mittens (December 2011)

(dated December 2011)
written by Pamela Pilon of Bibmababy Online
Appeared in Home Grown, Parenting in the North Magazine (ISSUE 6)

Back in December, I released a tutorial for a  easy peasy mittens made from a felted upcycled sweater. 

What does upcycled mean exactly? It simply means recycling to make something even better. Don't throw out that ugly sweater! Throw it in the wash on hot and shrink it to make fun mittens!


Approximately 1 hour without counting the felting time, but I'm mastered it to be done within 30 minutes.


Do what Mom told you NEVER to do. Throw that sweater in the washing machine with your towels on a hot cycle, using only half of the recommended amount of soap. Then throw it into the dryer for a few hot cycles.  To avoid fiber migration from the sweater to your towels (or even possibly clogging up your drain), throw your sweater into a pillowcase and tie a knot at the top. This should catch most of the flyaway fibers. If done right, your sweater will shrink to about a third of it’s size. 

  • Paper and pencil or marker
  • 1 wool sweater (minimum 80% wool, 100% merino works best)
  •  Scissors 
  • Sewing machine, needle and coordinating thread


    1.     Place your hand on a piece of paper, with your fingers slightly apart. Using a pencil or marker, trace a mitten shape round your hand.
    2.     Retrace a second line about 1 inch away from your hand line trace. This second line is your sewing line. 
    3.     Now trace a third line ¼ inch away from your second line. This third line is your cutting line.
    4.     Draw a line at your wrist bone, to mark how far from this point you’d like for your mittens to sit.  
    *You can also affix at elastic at this point, but I found the stretch in my felted sweater was enough for me.
    5.     Draw the length of the mitten at about 3.5 inches past the wrist bone.


    6.     Lay your sweater flat onto the table. Use the pattern you created to cut out a total of four mitten pieces. When using a felted sweater, there is no need to worry about fabric direction.
    7.     If you decide to use an elastic, with a fabric marker, mark the elastic placement line on the wrong side of each cut-out.

    * Unless otherwise noted, all seams are a ¼ inch allowance.

    8.     Match two of the hand cutouts with right sides together, and stitch the outer edge using a ½ inch seam allowance. If you decide to use elastic, end this stitch 2 inches above the wrist bone when you will be sewing the elastic.
    9.     Repeat for the second mitten.
    10. Open both mittens flat, and finger-press the seam open.

    OPTION: Embellishments
    Use ribbon and/or faux fur and stitch at the seam edge.

    OPTION: Elastic wrist
    On the wrong side of the mitten, measure the width of wrist bone line you drew with the fabric marker. Subtract 1 inch and cut 2 of this length of elastic. Stitch the elastic in place at the seam allowance. Stretch the elastic across the wrist bone line and hold the elastic in place while you zig-zag stitch the elastic. Stitch the end of the elastic in place with a straight stitch.


    13.  Fold each mitten in half, with right sides together. Stitch through all layers around each mitten’s edge. Clip out the seam allowances of all curves. Turn over the mittens and enjoy!  

    Note: Mittens didn’t turn out? You can also use them at a cutlery and napkin holder for your Christmas table setting!

    You can find all these tutorials and other great articles in Homegrown, Parenting in the North (FACEBOOK, WEB, ISSUE).