Wet Felting: Swittens

February 1st, 2011 § 29 comments

Sweater mittensIf 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.

Felted sweater mitten pattern

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.

Felted sweater mittensSew 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.

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§ 29 Responses to Wet Felting: Swittens"

  • Dale says:

    Thanks! This is the best felted mitten tutorial I have found. I’m also looking for felted baby boots or socks for a one-year-old grandson.

    • Marcie says:

      Dale, so glad the tutorial is helpful. It’s a satisfying project. Great idea to post a baby bootie tutorial–easy and quick and can be made with the teeniest scraps of your favorite fabrics or felted sweaters. I’ll get right on that!

  • Amber says:

    Just wanted to let you know that I linked up to this post on my blog today!


  • […] for sweater felting tips, see previous Mossy tutorials on wool sweater felting (Swittens, Tiny Birdhouse or Sweater […]

  • Thank you for sharing your pattern and thoughts on making the mittens. I came across some beautiful felted mittens in Michigan. They were beautiful but a tad expensive. I have felted a sweater and now thanks to you I have the pattern that is needed. I’m going for it. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

  • gina twing says:

    Where can I get the pattern?

    • Marcie says:

      To be honest, I don’t do exact measurements. Sweater wool is fairly forgiving and I’ve found that drawing the pattern freehand works for me. It’s basic, but seems to turn out right each time.

  • Sara Louise Hidgson says:

    Is there a pattern I could download or do you free draw it out?

  • Sara Louise Hidgson says:

    I have drawn the pattern out but am a bit confused. Are there two pieces cut for no 3? And which is the bottom for part 1. I am struggling on how to put part one and two together and then adding it to part 3. Can you clarify for me? Thanks :-)

  • Sara Louise Hidgson says:

    Think I have Sussed it but would appreciate clarity all the same.

    • Marcie says:

      Sara, I draw the pattern out freehand. Then, with right sides of fabric together, I cut both the sweater and the fleece lining as in the chalkboard photo above. Be sure to cut out two of each pattern piece. Then, with right sides of the sweater fabric together, match thumbs from Piece 1 and 2 and sew along thumb from notch to notch. It may all look strange at this point…. Then, flip the sewn piece right side out. With right sides together, pin Piece 3 to sewn pieces 1 and 2. Sew edges together, but leave the bottom unsewn. At this point, you will have 4 mittens–two fleece and two felted wool. Then pop the (inside-out) fleece mitten into the wool mitten and sew together. Hope that helps!

  • Michelle W. Denny says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this. Others are charging up to $30 for the pattern. This will help when making Christmas gifts that everyone will LOVE. Have a wonderful Holiday Season. Thanks again. Michelle from Green Bay WI, GO PACK GO!

  • Emily says:

    I love your pattern and idea. I’ve posted on my blog a picture of your swittens (credit given) and routed them back to your blog for the directions. thesealilyproject.blogspot.com.

    • Marcie says:

      Oh Emily! What a beautiful blog you have–teeming with creative ideas and links to even more! Thank you so much for featuring my post. Very nice of you!

  • travellinardie says:


  • You know? Last winter I made a bunch for my son and for myself from a similar free pattern online… and my mistake was that I made them too small for me. The first pair for my little one came out too small, and then it evened out when I cut them bigger. Thank you for these. By the way, I love the mittens from your pictures. I think that it’s cute when you mix different sweater colors and patterns. :)

  • CA McNeil says:

    Marcie~ Thanks so much for this pattern. I loved these mittens when I saw them, and have been looking for a pattern.
    I’m in the process of cleaning out my elderly aunt’s home, and have discovered many outdated woolen sweaters. My intention is to make a pair of these mittens for every family member, using her sweaters so they’ll each have a memento of her. That’s my intention. If I even get one pair done, I’ll be happy. ~cam

    • Marcie says:

      Cam–what a wonderfully thoughtful idea! Who knows, once you get on a roll with one pair, you may find that the rest just pop out easily–let me know how it goes!

  • Germaine Fernandes says:

    I would love to make these mittens and have seen the tutorial, but have not been able to get the pattern. Can you help me with this?

    • Marcie says:

      Germaine, sorry to say I don’t have the exact pattern measurements. I have made them only for friends and family and have never had the need to use a specific pattern–I have cut them according to the wearer’s hand size. I am sure there are simple online mitten patterns out there that could be altered for felted sweaters, though.

  • Marilyn says:

    I found a pattern that looks like this one on make&dogirl.com. Hope this is helpful for everyone.

  • Helga Seter says:

    I ‘m feeling rather like a idiot! I’m beginning to make mittens from old wool felted sweaters. I took a number of patterns off the internet and have made several pairs of mittens. Often there isn’t enough room to the tip of the fingers, or the thumb is too short or too long. I am hooked on the project itself, BUT… none of the patterns fit either myself or several friends that have tried them on. Usually they are not large enough except for one, which is WAY TOO LARGE. And I can’t figure out how to use your pattern (how to draw it out or to make my own pattern). Can you help me?

  • Cindy Riley says:

    I too had problems with the fingers part too short. I will adjust the pattern to fit my hand now that I know better of how the pattern works. My suggestion is to do a trial run with a material that you don’t care about such as cotton so that you aren’t cutting into that wonderful wool fabric first!!!
    Thank you for your pattern!!

  • Janet Koehler says:

    Thanks for the tutorial. I made a pair for a coworker who is moving to Minneapolis, Minnesota. I have made many pairs of these mittens, but your idea of attaching the cuff to the lining is the best! Thanks again!

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