While Spring is upon us and the weather is starting to get a little warmer, we also just had a couple of big snowstorms here in NYC. Ya can’t trust mother nature, she can be a real bitch sometimes. My craftmatic friend Sarah, who helped me make my ruffled suspenders hit me with the instructionado to make felted mittens that are easy to create out of laundry mistakes, or an old sweater salvaged from the thrift store. You can give it a try this weekend, or bookmark this page and save it for next winter!
- An old sweater (wool or cashmere)
- Sewing Machine
- Buttons or other accessories (optional)
First, felt your sweater: You’ll need a sweater that’s mostly made of wool or cashmere, not an acrylic fiber. Machine wash and rinse it in hot water, then put it in the dryer for a while. You should end up with a very shrunken sweater with the fibers of the knit all bound together from the heat. Maybe you’ve shrunk a sweater before– this is a great project to salvage any laundry accidents you may have. Felting is sometimes complicated, a great tutorial on felting sweaters can be found here:
Next, cut out your mitten parts. If you cut carefully, you can get about 2 pairs of mittens from one felted sweater. If your sweater has a pattern or a texture like a cable, make sure to lay out the top palm, bottom palm, and back of the mitten so the pattern in the sweater lines up. I wanted my mittens to be really long and ladylike, so I pinned my bottom palm and mitten back on the sweater about an inch higher than the bottom of the sweater.
Then, start sewing. Pin the top palm to the bottom palm, with right sides together, noting the mark in the pattern on the side of the bottom thumb. (I just used a pin with a colored top to indicate this spot where I’d end the seam.)
Sew across the palm and around the thumb stitching at ¾ inch seam allowance, stopping at the mark you made on the side of the thumb.
Trim seams to about ¼ inch seam allowance.
Now, pin the back of the mitten to the palm (with right sides together, again)
and then sew the palm to the back of the mitten, starting a seam on either side or the thumb. This might leave you with a small gap where the two thumb pieces meet the back of the mitten, I just hand sewed a few stitches in this little gap after I trimmed the seams around the back of the mitten and palm to ¼ inch.
Now, turn them right side out and you’ve got mittens that are tiny sweaters for your hands! The pairs I gave as gifts I sewed two buttons each (some matching, some not) along the bottom cuffs of each mitten.
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