Recycling Old Sweaters
I have been wanting to try my hand at sweater mittens for some time and have been saving old sweaters for that purpose. This summer I learned to knit and decided to knit something for my children and grandchildren for Christmas and I thought I would make them each a pair of sweater mittens to match. I may have bitten off more than I could chew. While I did succeed in getting all the hats and headbands completed the mittens and liners were sewn, but not sewn together. So they all got wrapped up and opened and then I took the mittens back to finish by New Years Eve! 🙂
One suggestion I would make is to do one pair completely before making such grandiose plans. 🙂 I, of course, decided to work on them all at once, ignoring my own advice. I used the information at Sew Very Cute and traced out the hand print on paper as a template adding about a half and inch all the way around which allowed for thickness of hand and about an 1/8″ of seam allowance.
First I made all the liners out of fleece material I had on hand from tie blankets we made last year.
Then I pinned and sewed the liners together right side facing each other. Next I laid the finished liner on the sweater and pinned it in place, then cut the sweater. Notice I was doing two pairs of mittens out of this sweater. The back and front of this particular sweater was the same pattern front and back so I just cut bother layers. But if you are having the top of the mitten one pattern and the palm a different solid you have to be careful to cut two tops and two palms. This is why I actually used the liner to make sure the mittens faced each other.
After cutting them out pin the sweater pieces right sides together and sew about an 1/8 inch seam on all sides but the bottom opening. If it is a sweater that might fray you could use Stop Fray (but it was too smelly for me so I did not). Instead I chose to stitch close stitches on the machine for the bottom hem.
Then turn sweater mitten right side out and leaving the liner seam side out slide it into sweater. This way there is no bulky seam on the inside of the mitten where you hand is.
I had loved the idea on Sew Very Cute of using the yarn to make a decorative whip stitch on the bottom of the mittens but alas, the yarn I used was far too thick to penetrate the liner and the mitten. 🙁 So I used a very small needle and thread to attach the liner to the sweater. It end up looking nice and matches this hat for a boy very nicely. As I type this I am still working on completing the rest. The fun part about doing this is all the cool old sweaters you can find to do this.
I just reread her instructions at Sew Very Cute Mittens and ha, ha! I see she said to only go through the sweater part with the yarn. 🙂 I guess I might try that on the rest and update you. See how important it is to read instructions carefully. 🙂
I am a basic sewer and don’t do it that often, but I think they came out pretty ok. They are certainly going to be warm mittens. I have to say also that I really prefer working with the nicer quality wool sweaters- the one merino wool sweater that I have had around for years was my daughters when she was a teenager that my husband decided to be nice and wash for her (which shrunk it to toddler size) She really enjoyed the lovely sweater mittens I made her out of that sweater. 🙂 So give it a try and have fun!