If I had a dollar for every time we've said "where are Izzy's mittens?", I could buy many pounds of really good chocolate. Or really good coffee. Maybe both.
Point is, until being a parent, I thought one or two pairs of mittens were enough for anybody. Not so, my friends. Apparently, when it comes to toddlers, there are NEVER enough mittens.
Thankfully, it's a cheap and easy fix. I have a huge stash of old felted sweaters, just wanting to be used, and that good wool felt makes fantastic mittens. I'll show you how I make them, and set you up with a printable pattern for sweater mittens.
First things first though - if you don't already have a stash of felted up sweaters, we need to remedy that. 100% wool felts best, but any sweater that's at least 80% wool or so will work perfectly well. Chances are you have a few hanging around that haven't been worn in years.
You know the ones. They lurk in our closets as shriveled testaments to distracted laundry days...days we forgot to pull the sweaters out of the wash, before tossing everything in the dryer. Or maybe, they've been victims of a few ardent moths - and though we have great intentions of mending those holes, we never have, and know we probably never will.
Dig those puppies out and throw them in with your next three or four loads of laundry. And each time, put them in the dryer. On purpose. The result will be wonderfully thick, squishy wool felt. If you haven't worked with felted sweaters before, you're going to get hooked. You may find yourself stopping at thrift stores, for no other reason than to check out the sweater section and snap up all the good wool ones.
I digress. Now that you have some felted wool, we're ready to make those mittens.
How to Make Sweater Mittens
First, you need to print and cut out a pattern.
Option A. You can download my pattern here (It includes both toddler and child sizes). To make sure the size is a good fit, compare it to a mitten that fits your child well. The mitten should fit inside the pattern with a little extra space all around. Chances are, one of those pattern sizes should be just about right, but if it's a little too big or small, just scale it up or down a bit with a copier.
Option B. Trace your own - hunt down a mitten that fits your child well (you only need one, so any mate-less old favorite from the bottom of the mitten box will work fine.) Trace it, leaving a 1/4" seam allowance on all sides. Whichever method you choose, cut out your pattern and lay it down on the felted sweater, lining up the bottom of the cuffs with the bottom hem of the sweater. Pin the pattern down and cut it out, right through both front and back of the sweater. Scissors work just fine, but a rotary cutter really makes this super easy. Un-pin the paper pattern, flip it over, and cut another set of mitten pieces, again cutting through both front and back of the sweater. Flip each set of mitten pieces, so that right sides, instead of wrong sides, are now facing each other.
Pin mitten pieces, making sure right sides are together. Sew all around, from one edge of the cuff to the other, leaving a 1/4" seam allowance.
Remove pins, and turn mitten right side out. Repeat pinning and sewing with the other mitten. That's it! Tuck those woolies onto some little hands, and send her out to play. Wooly mittens are great for collecting eggs. And holding hands.
Once you've remedied the toddler mitten shortage, you're going to want to make yourself a pair too! Here's my pattern for adults. I also think these mittens make a delightful and heirloom-worthy gift, when made from an old sweater of Grandma or Grandpa's!
Have some cute little sweater mittens you've made? I want to see them! Drop me a line and let me see what you came up with!
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Yes, I remember my grandmother put an i-cord on our mittens so we wouldn't lose them. Later my mom bought little tiny ? suspender type things that clipped on your coat sleeve and mittens. I think it's funny that i-cord is short for idiot cord, apparently for lack of a better tern for it. 🙂 I may have to make some for my nephews boys.Then maybe some for me. 😛
Libby M says
When I was a toddler, my grandma put a string on the mittens, one end on each, and threaded them through the sleeves of my coat. No lost mittens!
Libby, YES!! I remember mittens on a string from my childhood days too, but had completely forgotten about it until now. Totally brilliant...I am 100% stringing mittens tonight, because mittens are so good at getting lost! Thank you so much for the wonderful reminder!
I grabbed a sweater at goodwill but the pattern-that I would like is further up the sweater. Is there a way to use more of the sweater? I hope this makes sense.
Jan, I totally get what you are asking! When I use a part of the sweater from the "interior" - a part that doesn't allow for using the sweater's natural bottom ribbing as the cuff of the mittens, I usually cut the cuffs a bit short, and then get out some yarn, a darning needle and knitting needles. I stitch with the darning needle into the bottom of the cuff, and then knit a few inches of my own ribbing. This is because I really like a good snug, ribbed cuff on my mittens. Another way of adjusting for not having that ribbing at the bottom of the sweater is to simply cut the cuffs a teeny bit narrower, and stitch them up like normal. If your sweater is really good and felted, you shouldn't have to worry about any unraveling at the cuff, but if you're concerned about that, a quick whip stitch around that edge will do the trick.
Hope all this makes sense and helps a bit!! Best of luck!!
I am confused about cutting two front and two back of each pattern. Do you sew two separate pair or one pair that is doubled??
Hi Dayna! You need a front and a back piece for each mitten. They will be like identical mirror images of each other. You'll need a front and back for each mitten, so for the pair, that will give you two front pieces and two back pieces. Hope this helps!
Ashley L says
Omgosh those sound so easy! I’m not very skilled (yet) but I bet I could do that.
Ashley, they're SO EASY! It's really a snap - and I love that you use the word (yet!). The more you play around with the sewing machine, those skills WILL come quickly! Best wishes to you!
Completely agree - mittens are vanishing consumables. Lol. Such a cool idea! My girl will love them 🙂
Haha! Vanishing consumables - that they are!!! Thanks so much for the kind comment, and happy sewing! = )
Those look so warm and cozy! Also, I think i could make them. Thanks!!
Oh, you DEFINITELY can make them, Mamaguru! They're so easy and fun. = ) Thanks for the sweet comment!
OMgosh, those look so easy even I could make them! Thanks for the great idea!
Karen Merhalski says
Those look nice and warm! Izzy looks like she likes her new mittens too!
She sure does! She kept them on long after we came back indoors! = )