Monthly Archives: January 2016

Smitten with Mittens


This past fall, I made a stop at my local thrift shop, in search of a few wool sweaters in fun colors or interesting patterns to felt and use for crafting. My original plan was to cut the sweaters into flower petals, embellish the edges of said petals with seed beads, tack the petals together with a button in the center and add the flower to a hat, tablet cover, or a cardigan sweater as an embellishment. In the pile of sweaters was this stripy crew neck, not 100 percent wool, but it still felted nicely. My thought was that I’d use the stripes to make the hat and then add the flower to the side in the style of cloche hats from the twenties (something kind of like this one from the Sundance Catalog).

But I’ve not gotten around to tracking down seed beads, so the sweaters have sat, nicely arranged by color, in a basket in the corner of my office. That hat idea may still come to fruition, but in the meantime I had an idea to make something of the striped sleeves. When I slid the sleeve cuffs over my wrists, they fit perfectly, with no sewing required. So I decided to cut the sleeves off and make myself a pair of mitts. It went kind of like this…


Sweater with sleeves…


Sweater without sleeves. I used a pinking shears to do the cutting, in hopes of reducing the chance the edges would fray (of course I was sewing them right up, but …).

FullSizeRender FullSizeRender

This next part is kind of off-the-cuff (sorry, I couldn’t resist)…I simply turned the sleeve inside out, tried it on, and used a fabric marker to note placement for the thumb. I used the same marker to sketch the top of the mitten curve. I also snipped a one-inch slit for the thumb. (For both mitts, I decided to use the inside seam of the sleeve as the thumb side).

I stitched along the top of the mitten and trimmed off the excess sweater pieces.

Now comes the tricky part…that rascally thumb. I cut a piece for each of the thumbs from the stripy scraps and pinned them in place along the seam. Then I held my breath while I scrunched the thumb and mitt under the foot of my sewing machine and stitch the thing in place. And wouldn’t you know it? It worked! Sure, the thumbs don’t match, but that’s part of the charm. Best of all, they are sturdy, perfectly functional, and darned cute. I decided not to line the mitts, so they are not super warm, but I like them this way…they fit in my coat pockets and are great to slide on when I’m driving the kids to school in the morning.

I may add some sort of embellishment to the back of the mittens…but for now, I’m smitten with these mittens. And I remain forever impressed with anyone who’s able to sew two perfect thumbs that match…someday.*

Stay tuned for more projects in the weeks to come. It’s winter in Minnesota, which means it’s prime time to craft. Ready, set, go!


*So I thought I’d include a link for crafting perfect thumbs since my instructions here are so vague, and what I found made me laugh…I guess I like to do things the hard way. This makes perfect sense.