How to sew mittens using a recycled sweater

January 5, 2017 5 Comments

How to sew mittens using a recycled sweater

January 5, 2017 5 Comments


Here comes a step by step guide on how to sew mittens using a recycled wool sweater dress and a pattern from Danish pattern magazine Alt om Håndarbejde. Though any mitten pattern will work of course!

I was really excited to try this project as I love wool mittens and try to snag them at Christmas fairs where you can usually buy lovely hand knitted mittens and socks. But I also have a tendency to loose those precious mittens and since I’m not much of a knitter I was intrigued to see if I could try to sew them instead.


What drove me to this particular mitten pattern in the Alt om Håndarbejde issue 11/2016 was that that the mittens looked somewhat smaller than most mitten patterns. Plus my hands are pretty much the size of a child’s, hence why I really don’t like big mittens!



As I had a vintage cable knit wool sweater dress that I don’t wear, I thought it would be the perfect fabric for this project. In hindsight I should probably have washed the sweater in warm water to make it felt a bit, because the knit was quite unstable to work with. But I have more fabric so left, so maybe next time!


A step by step tutorial on how to sew mittens using a recycled sweater

This pattern consists of four pieces

  • Cuffs (made of ribbing fabric)

Thumb piece

Upper mitten

Inner mitten




As you can see I tried to utilize the details of sweater as much as I could, using the ribbing on the sleeves as cuffs and using the cable knit for the upper mitten piece.


The mittens are lined, but I had to scrap the lining since I cut it in a stretchy lycra/bamboo knit that was too unstable for all the twists and turns of the pattern. I think a fleece would or a stable knit jersey knit would be a better choice for lining.


First step is to sew the thumb part



Then comes the only tricky bit with this pattern which is sewing along several corners to attach the thumb to the lower inner mitten piece. For this step I had to use regular zigzag stitches due to all the twists and turns.



Then it ‘s time to attach the upper mitten piece to the lower one. For this step I used a serger.


The final step is to attach the cuffs. In the original pattern this is a folded piece, but since I had ribbing on the sweater I wanted to utilize that instead and made it a single layer.


The finished mitten, I did the smallest size (S), but they still turned out too big, so I took in the side seams and also made the thumb smaller. So the mitten in the photo is the adjusted version, which is a bit smaller than the original pattern.  Next time I will make the pattern even smaller!

sew-mittens_031  sew-mittens_033

The finished mittens from all angles. The edges are a bit uneven due to using an unstable knit. But with a fleece or a felted fabric I don’t think this would be a problem.


Happy in my new mittens!





Johanna Lundström

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  • JenL January 5, 2017 at 5:35 pm

    I have been thinking about making mittens too. I salvaged a nice sweater and turned it into a kind of cowl/snood, but I find that I never wear it. Mittens would be nice and I have small hands too. I may give it a try!

    • Johanna January 9, 2017 at 7:55 am

      You should! It was a very quick make, the only extra work was making them even smaller than the pattern. So making a sample first to make sure the fit is right is something I would recommend, to myself too 🙂

  • Anne January 7, 2017 at 2:04 pm

    Nice! This is definitely a project I could take on to put old sweaters to good use! Thanks for the tutorial – seeing the way the mittens are put together is very helpful!

    • Johanna January 9, 2017 at 8:01 am

      It is, I don’t know why I hadn’t thought about it earlier! It really mimics the look of hand knitted mittens, and I’m gonna make more for sure

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