DIY: Mittens From Old Sweaters

Raise your hand if you've got any shrunken, worn out or not-so-stylish sweaters in the back of your closet (both of mine are up). Let's give them a second life by turning them into warm little mittens! With just a few simple materials and the most basic hand stitch you can do, you'll have your very own handcrafted mittens in minutes! Pick a sweater with lots of pattern or add your own decor with buttons and thread.

Watch the how to video and follow the instructions below to make your own pair. Stay warm and enjoy your handmade mittens every winter!

•  Wool sweater (at least 80% wool, but preferably 100%)
•  Marker or pen for tracing  
•  Scissors
•  8-10 straight pins
•  Embroidery floss matching the color of your sweater
•  Sewing needle
• Buttons and additional embroidery floss for decorating

Prep the sweater: Wash your sweater on the warm cycle then dry it on high heat. This will felt the wool fibers together so they won't fall apart when you cut them (kind of like tangled hair). Your sweater will shrink significantly. Tip: Place your sweater in a mesh laundry bag to avoid the wool fibers from clogging your machine.
Flip over + trace: Turn the sweater inside out and lay it flat on a table. Lay your hand on one of the side edges of the sweater and trace a mitten shape around it with a marker or pen. Add about a half-inch all the way around your hand to allow for seams. Leave about an inch or two at the bottom to create a cuff. Since the bottom of sweaters are already ribbed and finished, this creates a great cuff for the mitten.
Cut: Cut out your traced mitten, leaving about an inch or two of fabric around it. 
Pin: Secure the front and back layers with several straight pins along the edges. This will ensure the two layers will stay even while you're stitching.
Sew: Thread your needle with embroidery floss and do a simple running stitch along your tracing. Make sure to leave the bottom of the mitten wide enough so that your hand can easily fit through.
Trim: Trim about a quarter-inch around the stitching to remove the excess fabric. Be careful not to cut too close to the stitching, or it may fall apart.
Flip: Now the fun part! Flip over the mitten to see your finished product. 
Decorate: Use buttons and colorful embroidery floss to decorate!
Repeat: Repeat all steps on the opposite side of the sweater.

P.S. If you're in Los Angeles, join me on Wed. January 16 for a free craft night at TOMS! We'll be making these sweater mittens. RSVP over here.


  1. Anonymous1/08/2013


    And that sweater looks a lot like one that I converted into a tea cozy.


  2. Well.....how nifty and thrifty is that!!

  3. I love that DIY! Such a great way to use my old too hot washed sweater!!

    May invite you to take part in my guestblogging challenge? I’m looking for great DIYs, topic is recycling/upcycling. And your mittens are perfect!
    Maybe you would like to take a look:

    :) lici

  4. J'adore, quelle superbe idée, pour l'hiver prochain, je vais en fabriquer plusieurs paires....
    A bientôt

  5. Anonymous11/05/2013

    Don't you need to machine stitch these?

    1. That would be the most durable option, but I found that hand stitching with embroidery floss, since it's pretty thick, works just fine. You can go stitch over it twice for extra durability. I've had my pair for a year now.

  6. Anonymous1/29/2014

    I am make these tomorrow with a group of ladies in a rehab center in Halifax Nova Scotia Canada

    I didn't notice the part about washing the sweater first will it be a problem if we don't ???

    1. I recommend washing/drying first so that the wool is felted together. If you don't wash it, then I'm not sure if the hand stitching will hold up properly. Good luck!

  7. Is there any particular reason to hand sew the mittens instead of using a sewing machine? I can sew by hand, but by machine is faster.

  8. This is such a great project! Thanks for posting.


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