If you’ve perfected The Tiny Birdhouse and are considering enhancing or refining your newly-acquired skills, or you are simply looking for a more practical way to shamelessly debut your crafty accomplishments, you should consider making old sweater mittens—in our house, they are called Swittens.
Like The Tiny Birdhouse, this project requires at least one medium-weight 100% wool sweater (or two or three). I’m often partial to snazzy colors for this one—luminous greens, saucy oranges—although, surprisingly, humble grays and browns can be powerful. You will also need some soft fleece for the mitten lining. Optional matchy-matchy. A small handful of you with nimble fingers and minimal time constraints may prefer to hand sew this project. In the interest of cold-handed project members craving speedy outcomes and post-project refreshments, I use my trusty sewing machine. You might also need a few random buttons for flare.
As with The Tiny Birdhouse, add your sweater(s) to the laundry batch and wash and dry on normal. The sweater is now felted and can be cut into the mitten pattern.
Pattern: Pattern size is up to you. I recommend that you size your first mitten batch to be gifted to (or kept for) larger hands. For me, there is a significant positive correlation between successful project outcome and project size, when measured by various indicators, such as big smiles. Don’t start out too teeny. With right sides of fabric together, cut both the sweater and the fleece lining as follows. So that one hand does not get gypped, be sure to cut out two of each pattern piece.
Sewing Instructions: With right sides of the sweater fabric together, match thumbs from Piece 1 and 2. Sew along thumb from notch to notch. Flip sewn piece right side out. With right sides together, pin Piece 3 to sewn pieces 1 and 2. Sew edges together, leaving the bottom unsewn. Trim excess wool around the edges as close to seam as possible. For the fleece lining, follow the same instructions for sweater fabric. Turn everything right side out.
Cut the sweater cuff from the cuff of the original felted sweater. It should be 3 ½ to 4 ½ inches long. Pin the cuff to the bottom of the fleece lining with right sides together and rough edges together.
Sew around the cuff’s rough edge. Turn the fleece lining inside out and put it inside the mitten. Turn the sweater cuff up and over the mitten. To secure the cuff, sew a button or stitch around the cuff’s top edge. Chop-chop you’re done, with an impressive finish.