Yesterday, Jessie, Nicki and I had the pleasure of joining the Denver Craft Ninjas for an amazingly fun sewing workshop where we shared how to sew mittens from recycled felted sweaters. I can’t think of a better way to spend an afternoon than sewing and laughing with old and new friends who share the love of creating. If you’re involved in a local sewing guild or group, I’m positive you know what I mean!
We started with recycled sweaters that we’d felted in advance. If you’ve never tried it, felting is a great opportunity to reuse old sweaters that have holes or stains or that you just don’t wear anymore. Felted sweater fabric is warm and dense, doesn’t ravel and is super easy to sew. You can usually get more than one pair of mittens out of a sweater, depending on the sweater size and how much it shrank during felting. We had two mitten patterns to choose from, one that’s made from two pieces and one that has three pieces for a slightly better fit in the thumb. Everyone chose a sweater and started cutting!
The next step was to customize the mittens. It’s easier to do this before construction so that you don’t have to reach inside the layers to stitch or needle-felt. We had a lot of fun goodies on hand for embellishing, including wool felt and yarn for needle felting and applique, embroidery thread and many, many cute buttons. I brought along pictures of some of the ideas I found last week, but I have to say, I was completely amazed and inspired by how creative everyone was at personalizing their mittens! So many cute and clever ideas!
Miriam used a cable knit sweater and added cute buttons:
Katie used scraps from another sweater to make these super-cute fox appliques:
Liz cut out wool felt circles and added buttons:
Ninja-in-Chief Becky used a Fairisle patterned sweater and matching buttons:
Erin lengthened the pattern and added a cute embroidered monogram to her pink mittens:
Kristina from The Nerdy Sewist added a button and loop to keep from losing her mittens! So clever! Read about her mitten-making experience on her blog.
Amy shortened the pattern a bit and added a cute cluster of buttons:
Elizabeth cut out this lovely snowflake applique:
Betty added a little pink heart and button:
I was really excited to have my mom there! She added these pretty bluebird:
Everyone’s mittens turned out fantastic! Thanks again so much to everyone for coming–we loved getting to sew with you!
If you’re inspired to make your own recycled sweater mittens, here are the instructions and pattern:
Be sure to send us photos or post them to our Facebook page when you’re done! Happy sewing!