Trade in your old sweaters for a new set of hand warmers
Have a sweater you love that doesn’t fit anymore? Or perhaps it’s become ridden with too many holes. Worry not! You don’t have to throw it away. Just reinvent it into mittens to keep your paws warm.
Time: 45 minutes
- An old sweater (shrunken, holey or felted; scarves work, too)
- Straight pins
- Embroidery thread
- Darning needle (or any needle with a big eye)
- Scrap paper or newspaper for tracing
- Pencil or chalk
- Buttons for eyes (optional)
Making Your Pattern
1. Be smart – ask first! Make sure it’s okay for you to use your sweater of choice. Mom isn’t going to be happy if you cut up her favorite angora sweater, but if you’re using an old sweater that’s worn out, she probably won’t mind.
2. Place your hand flat on a piece of paper. With your fingers held tightly together and your thumb pointing out, trace an outline around your fingers, thumb and wrist. Make sure your wrist is lying straight and not angled to the side.
3. Round out your tracing.
4. Add an extra ½cm-1cm to your outline (or else your mittens will be too snug) and then cut out your pattern.
Making Your Mittens
1. Turn your sweater inside out and lay it flat on a table. Position your outline on the sweater. Anywhere will do, but if your sweater has ribbing at the bottom, the ribbing will look nice as the cuff of your mittens.
2. Pin your paper outline down on the sweater, making sure to pin through two layers – both the front and back – of the sweater.
3. Cut around your outline, again leaving a ½cm-1cm margin around your outline.
4. Thread a darning needle with embroidery thread and tie a knot at the end of your thread.
5. Sew a backstitch around your mitten (see How to Backstitch below). Make sure to leave a hole where your hand goes in!
6. Turn your mittens inside out and repeat the process with an outline of the opposite hand.
7. Sew a decorative whipstitch (see How to Whipstitch below) in contrasting colors around the edges of your mittens.
8. Sew two eyes on each mitten.
If you want your mittens to felt a bit, you can soak them in hot water and then put them in the dryer for a few minutes until they are the desired size. But be careful! Leave them in the dryer too long and you’ll end up having to give your new mittens to a younger brother or sister.
How to Backstitch
Moving from right to left, point your needle towards you and push through the fabric from back to front. Repeat the motion, each time leaving a small margin of ¼-½cm.
How to Whipstitch
Same pattern as the backstitch, only before pushing your needle into the next stitch, bring it back underneath the thread from your previous stitch to create a line of thread running along your seam.