Ever since I completed the pattern for Children, Women and Men sweater mittens using repurposed wool and cashmere sweaters, I’ve been antsy to add a baby size. I am happy to say I now have patterns in sizes for the whole family. Although these are thumbless and have a slightly different look, they follow the same idea as the larger upcycled sweater mittens and are so sweet on the little ones. The thumbless sweater mittens pattern comes in sizes Newborn + and Baby Small (0-2 Years). The tutorial is shown below and the templates for the pattern are available here.
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Where to find your sweaters
There are a variety of places where you can find sweaters to use for your mittens. The easiest place is your local thrift store. You will find wonderful fair isle, striped, floral and other one of a kind designs. Don’t forget to look in your own closet for sweaters you have been planning to donate. I have had several requests to make mittens using sweaters from a loved one to pass on to other members of the family. This is such a special keepsake.
I like to use a combination of 2-4 sweaters, mixing solids and designs in colors that coordinate. Stripes, solids, floral prints, cable knit and fair isle designs are all perfect for this project.
Types of fabric
The most popular fabric is 80-100% wool sweaters. They are the warmest and thickest. Cashmere also makes very soft and cozy mittens. The fabric does not shrink/felt up as thick as wool does, which makes it slightly thinner than the 100% wool fabric. Both wool and cashmere are wonderful options. The mittens below are made of 100% cashmere.
From time to time I have found sweaters that are not wool, but the prints are hard to pass up. These turned out great despite not shrinking/felting when washed. Here is an example of a pair of women’s mittens using non-wool sweaters with patterns that made beautiful mittens.
You will also need fleece to line the mittens. This can be purchased at your local fabric store or you can use a repurposed fleece blanket you no longer use. Cashmere sweaters also make great liners
Preparing your sweaters
Before cutting your sweaters wash and dry them in your washing machine (hot water) and dryer. This will shrink the wool to make your mittens thicker and warmer. If you are using cashmere wash and dry them as well. They won’t shrink up as much but it does make them fluffy and soft. Do not wash the sweaters with other clothing as it will leave a lot of lint on the other clothing.
Notes and tips
~ Use a ¼” seam allowance.
~ Always back stitch when starting and finishing each seam.
~ The baby mittens come in sizes Newborn + and Baby Small (0-2 Years). Dimensions are included with the templates for an accurate fit. If you are concerned about the fit you can always increase or decrease the seam allowance slightly.
~ Take note of the arrows on the templates showing you which way to place them in relation to the direction the fabric stretches.
~ When trimming your templates, cut on the outside of the black outline.
~ I like to use a Sharpie marker to trace the template on the fabric. Alternatively, you can pin the template to the fabric and cut around.
~ If your fabric is quite thick and is slow to go through your sewing machine, never pull the fabric at the back where it has already been sewn. This will stretch out the shape of the mitten. You can gently guide/push the fabric at the front as it goes through the machine.
~ If you are planning to make multiple pairs of mittens, printing the templates on cardstock and/or laminating them makes them last longer. Laminated templates are available in my shop if you would like me to print and laminate them for you.
~ If you have an extremely special sweater you plan to use, I suggest first practicing on sweaters from a thrift store first to ensure you don’t make any mistakes using the sentimental piece that cannot be replaced.
~ 1-4 sweaters
~ fleece for liner
~ measuring tape
~ permanent marker (optional)
~ buttons, embroidery floss or thread + needle for cuffs
Making the mittens
When printing the templates, make sure you select “print as image”, “print 100%” or “print actual size”. Printer settings vary but select which fits these terms best. Do not click “fit to page” or “fit to borders”. This will ensure your templates come out the right size. Once the template is printed, check the square in the corner to ensure it measures 1” by 1”.
Cut your templates, leaving the black outline on. I use a Sharpie marker to trace the patterns. You can also pin the template to the fabric and cut around. For dark colored sweaters I use a white gel pen.
Cut 4 pieces of the fleece liner using the front of the mitten template.
Cut two mitten cuffs. Make the cuffs from the torso or arm cuffs of the sweater. Place the template on the bottom edge so you have a finished seam on each cuff.
Cut two pieces of the front of the mitten.
Cut two pieces of both inside palm pieces. If you prefer to have the inside palm one color instead of two colors, simply cut two more pieces of the front of the mitten and skip this step. The mittens below show both styles.
Once you have all of these pieces cut you are ready to sew!
Start with the inside palm pieces. If you are doing the inside palm one color, skip this step. Line them up with the right sides facing one another; wrong sides on the outside. Pin fabric pieces together. Sew along the top edge using a ¼” seam allowance. Always back stitch when starting and finishing all seams.
Trim any excess fabric outside of the seam to prevent extra bulk, being very careful not to cut too close to the stitching.
Lay the inside palm pieces on the top of the outside pieces, with the right sides facing each other, the wrong sides on the outside. Line up the edges and pin them together. Sew around the edge and trim any excess, being careful not to cut too close to the stitching.
Repeat the same steps for the liners. You will not flip the liner right side out when you are finished. It will remain the way it was sewn.
Fold the cuff piece in half with the right side on the inside. Pin the edge. Sew along the side. I do this seam twice on each cuff to ensure it does not come undone when wearing the mittens. Turn right side out when finished. Repeat for the second cuff.
The last step is to sew the cuffs onto the liners. Your cuffs should be turned right side out (not inside out). Insert the cuff into the liner with the finished edge of the cuff furthest into the liner and the raw edges of the cuff and liner lined up. Line up the seam of the cuff with either seam of the liner. Distribute the cuff evenly in the liner and pin. If there is too much bulk in the cuff, you can sew a new seam that makes the cuff slightly smaller and can be distributed evenly inside the liner.
Sew the two edges together, working along the inside of the cuff.
Repeat on the other liner. Now for the best part – insert the liner into the mitten and turn the cuff over top the mitten.
Your mittens are done. Now you just have to secure the cuff and they are ready to wear.
There are several ways to secure the cuff onto the mitten so that it does not come unfolded. The photos below are from our Women’s pattern but the options are the same for the baby mittens.
- Attach a button to the front; stitching through all 3 layers. Be sure to save buttons from your sweaters to use for the cuffs. Ensure the buttons are secured very well to prevent any choking hazard for the baby.
- Tack both sides using embroidery floss or yarn; stitching through all three layers.
3. Stitch along the cuff + mitten using the invisible stitch technique.
The templates for the sweater mittens in all sizes from Newborn to Men can be found here.
If you plan to make several pairs of mittens and would like a more sturdy set of templates, be sure to check out the laminated templates available in my shop. Our mitten patterns are available in sizes for the whole family.
Pattern and photos are the property of Fox & Pine Stitches. Copying, altering or sharing the pattern and claiming it as your own is strictly prohibited.
You have permission to sell items made with this pattern but credit must be given to the designer in any online listings/websites:
Pattern Credit: www.foxandpinestitches.com
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