Mittens are a practical way of keeping your hands warm during the winter months. In this tutorial we will use a create sewn mittens from the included free pattern.
Wearing them also helps prevent hands from sliding around in gloves and makes it easier to type on a smartphone. There are many different ways to make mittens, but sewing a pair is one of the more traditional methods. This tutorial will teach you how to sew your own set in just a few steps!
DESCRIPTION: No knitting necessary, this is a cut-and-sew fabric mitten that can easily be made in any size. It is made from shrunken (felted/fulled) wool sweaters — Check you local thrift store for such a sweater, and if it’s not shrunken enough, then just throw it in the washing machine for a regular cycle or two using hot water and soap (I have noticed that the degree of shrinkage varies with the sweater, rather like different yarns will shrink differently). The mitten can be made from either 2 or 3 pieces of fabric and modified almost endlessly in style. I learned this pattern from my mother who used to make such mittens for us from sweaters she picked up at the second-hand store that she worked at.
The mitten’s seams can be machine sewn (inside or outside seams) or baseball-stitched, whip-stitched, or blanket-stitched with yarns. Try embroidering flowers on the back. You can even knit cuffs onto them if you want and add cords. Or you can be creative with the cutting of the mitten pieces and use the sweater cuffs as the mitten cuffs. The mittens can be as crude or as decorative as you want. And, depending on the thickness of the felting, you can make oven mitts (single or pair) by cutting a double-thickness of the palm side of the pattern (if you make a single oven mitt, be sure it’s of the correct “handedness” for your right- or left-handed self or friends). And the pattern works great with real felt that you make by hand — when I made a cookie-sheet size piece of felt in my first felting class, I went home and cut out and made one of these mittens. I was going to use it as an oven mitt, but it was so pretty that I only take it out and use it as a sample in mitten classes (of course I can’t find that mitt right now, but I’ll add it’s picture later when I find it).
Other great tips, Fantastic Cross Stitch Tips
This mitten pattern has been around in one version or another for years – I have been given at least two. The attached pattern is my version, and can be made of either 2 or 3 pieces.
SIZE: Any size. Use your photocopier to adjust the size to fit whomever you want (directions below)
SKILL REQUIRED: You don’t even need to be a knitter, but you have to be able to either hand sew or machine sew the seams.
FABRIC: A shrunken sweater or piece of wool felt large enough to lay out the pieces in the size you choose.
MISCELLANEOUS: scissors, sewing machine or sharp darning needle and yarn, straight pins for pinning pattern.
IMPORTANT — SIZING PIECES: Because of computer scaling issues, I don’t know of a way to ensure that what you print out from your computer will be the same size as what I drew. So I included vertical and horizontal scale lines on each pattern piece. You can shrink or expand the pattern to a size you wish to make by just making sure that the scale lines are the same length on each piece. If you print the pieces so that the scale is exactly as written (i.e., an inch on the scale is actually an inch on the printed pattern piece), then the pattern is for a ladies’ large hand (my hand size). The pattern pieces may look rather huge, but remember that there are small seam allowances included. As an example, if you want a smaller size mitten, try printing so the scale lines are 3/4 inch instead of 1 inch.
Other free patterns, Free Pattern for Beginner Coaster
ALSO NOTE — there are no cuffs shown because the pattern pieces wouldn’t fit on standard typing paper if I added cuffs when I drew these original patterns. But the pieces as shown are the right length to make if you are going to add a knitted cuff.
NOTE — if you lay out the pattern pieces on the right side of the fabric, you will get a right-handed mitten.
Lengthen bottom edge of each piece if a cuff is desired (be sure to lengthen all pieces the same length).
For the palm piece, use the same piece as above in the 3-piece mitten (no thumb piece needed). Lengthen bottom edge of each piece if a cuff is desired (be sure to lengthen all pieces the same length).
It’s pretty obvious what a mitten should look like, so I’ll just say this — cut pattern pieces (if making oven mitts, you can cut two palms if the fabric is thin). Be sure to cut a right hand and left hand mitten if you’re making a pair. Match the lettered dots and bottom edges of all pieces and pin. Sew about a quarter inch seam by machine or hand, with seam either inside or outside.
Wondering which type of thread to use for your project, see our Guide to Sewing Threads
NOTE — remember, if you sew your seams with a shrinkable yarn, the final product should be hand washed or it may shrink further.
- Cut backs out of front side of sweater & palm out of back side of sweater (that’s the way the purple oven mitt is cut)
- Embroider designs on the back if you like.
- Pick up stitches from the bottom edge (using crochet or buttonhole stitches) and knit a ribbed cuff.
- Cut the mitten so that the cuff of the sweater forms the mitten cuff – you can even cut a sleeve so that there is only a single seam that runs across the top of the fingers and then down and up to the top of the thumb. Also cut a small diamond-shaped piece of fabric and sew into the seam at the inside base of the thumb to serve as a gusset to take the stress out of the thumb seam.
- For an oven mitt, cut a narrow strip of the felted fabric and sew the two short ends into mitten’s side seam as a hanging loop.
- Make mittens out of any stretchy fabric, such as stretchy fleece or velour
Unless you know that the mitten fabric and trim is so felted that it will never shrink again, you might want to hand wash and air dry, or make the mittens big enough that a little more shrinkage will not matter.
Looking for more sewing ideas. see our Sewing Craft Ideas post
back and front of 3-piece mitten of polar fleece with knitted cuff, well worn from camping trips
design variation mitten made from sweater sleeve with cuff, and with thumb gusset