Upcycled Mittens


Put up your Mitts

Sweater weather

Or weathered sweaters? Eh? No?

Whether you have amazing seamstress skills or not, I promise you can pull these off. And the best part? No knitting required! Turning old sweaters into mittens is an inexpensive project that can also turn into a highly personal gift. They’re a big hit! All you need is to raid your closet and have a little patience.


I made this pair for my Grandma Marge

Joe’s fabulous mom taught me how to make these, and I’ve been hooked ever since! If you don’t have old sweaters to part with, hit up the thrift store like I did. I won’t tell anyone.

On a side note: She also made these pillows from jerseys. How clever is that?

Before Starting

You’ll need

  • 3-4 different sweater fabrics
  • Fleece for lining
  • Thread and sewing machine (it would be pretty hard without a machine on this one)
  • Pattern (I printed this one from romancakedesigns.com)

roman cake

  • Sharp shears
  • Pins
  • Buttons optional

A couple keys that will make your life easier:

  • Wool is the best for warmth – The fibers lock together tightly.
  • Pre-wash everything and dry on high heat, so it shrinks now not  later.

Bonus points

  • If making as a gift, find out (discreetly) what color jacket your lucky recipient wears.

The Quick and Dirty

Here’s an abbreviated version of how to make these. I promise they get easier with each pair, so don’t get discouraged like I did the first time. Just play around with different patterns and keep trying them on for size. You’ll do great!

You can use a mitten you have at home, or a homemade paper pattern for a guide. Start by cutting out the right size, and leave a little extra room! Trust me.

Let’s Get Going

First, find the fabric you want as the back of your hand. This is Piece 3. Cut out two.


Set these aside for now.

Then decide what you’d like as the finger tips.

cuts 1 and 2

That’s Piece 1 – cut out two (*flip the pattern or double up the fabric to get one left and one right hand cut)

Place on top of Piece 2 (the palm) and pin ’em together. Right sides together.

Start & Stop

Here’s where you’ll sew. You may want to stop 1/2″ sooner. My thumbs are long.

With fleece

You’ll do the exact same cuts for the mitten lining. All pieces with fleece.

first sew

Sew away! If you have knit fabrics, make sure they don’t stretch while sewing.

Here’s where I get excited. Turn your pieces.

Turn it out

Thumbs up, you’re awesome!

Ta dah. Looks like a mitten already!

Remember Cut 3 on the sidelines? Here’s where we combine all three main pieces.

Alltogether now

Put your freshly sewn palm on top of Piece 3. Right sides together. Pin all the way around.                *Be sure to tuck in the thumb*

Pin it to Win it

Sew all the way around, leaving the hand opening open.

All 3

A 1/4″ seam allowance should be fine. Trim off extra fabric so you don’t get bunchy mitts.

Now turn the whole thing out…

Insert lining

Time to put the lining in. Just use your hand to put the lining right in!

Cuff Time

If your work station is looking a mess at this point like mine, don’t panic. Home stretch!

Line and cuff

Take the actual cuff off one of the sweaters. Stick in the cuff, turned inside out.

photo 2

Push it far enough in so that you’re sewing around the bottom. Bottom of the mitten joins with hidden part of cuff – So you get a nice finished edge around the cuff. I had to watch a tutorial video to get this part down.


Or use a piece of faux fur. Again, this part is hard, but sew through all 3 layers and turn the cuff over and “cuff” your mitten.

 You can attach a button to keep the cuff up, and add hand stitches all around.

Mix n Match

Feel free to line them with felt for extra stabilization. Or add little pockets!


And you’re done!

Here are a couple great tutorial videos:

A lady from work gets really into these too – You can get really creative with mixing!

work mittens

Alright, next I’m tackling learning to knit. I have a serious case of knitting envy!

I wanna make some slipper socks like this pair I got in high school.

slipper socksP.S. We’re collecting mittens over at cheerfulgivers.org. Please let me know if you’re interested in donating some (handmade or not!) for Minnesotans in need.

Chime in