Transform an Old Cardigan into Mittens DIY Tutorial

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Woot! Today my friend and fellow blogger Minte is back to give us a great DIY Cardigan to Mitten Tutorial (or Jumper to Mitten Tutorial, for my UK readers! 🙂 )

Minte writes at adventureenough.com

Thrift store blues

I have a huge pile of used clothes I’ve been meaning to donate, but I volunteer at the thrift store, and sorting through their donations has really made me look again at the clothes I was meaning to give away. People donate some really gross stuff, and at the thrift store, we don’t resell worn or used clothes.

Well, none of my stuff was gross, but I figured most of it was a little too worn (at the sleeves or neck, etc) to pass along.
But that doesn’t mean I couldn’t reuse it! I just bought a sewing machine and I’ve been eyeing up every piece of fabric I see, thinking, “What can I use this for?” My old clothes took on a whole new meaning. New hobby + thriftiness = old cardigans made into mittens!

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DIY Cardigan into Mittens Tutorial

I’d seen this idea somewhere on Pinterest, but I didn’t really follow any tutorial or directions for it. You can follow mine — It was easy!

I had two cardigans that I never wore anymore but were too stretched and worn around the cuffs to give away. The torso area of the sweaters were fine, though, so I figured I would chop them up and make them into some lightweight mittens!

They remind me of those thin ones you can find for cheap at Target — not meant for playing outside or subzero temperatures, but warm enough to run errands in when it gets frosty!

Supplies

The Steps

  • First I ironed my cardigans. (I didn’t photograph my process from the beginning, but I figure you can use an iron on your own.) If your fabric is wrinkly before you start, you might end up with lumpy and uneven mittens once you sew them. If, for some reason, you’re using new fabric, make sure you wash it first in case it shrinks.
  •  cardigan-to-mittens-tutorial
  • Next I turned my cardigans inside out and laid them flat on the ground. Make sure the front and back are both flat, but not stretched. I placed my hand along the side seam (one less seam to sew!)  with my wrist on the ribbing at the bottom of the sweater. This way my mitten would hold onto my wrist without having to add elastic or elastic thread or anything tricky. The knit fabric will hold on like the sleeve of a sweater would!
  • I traced around it with a Crayola washable marker (you can see it in brown both above and below). I used washable in case it bled through the fabric, but I don’t think it did. You could also use chalk, which is what my mom always does with her projects. It’s pretty easy to tell the wrong side from the right side with my sweater, but it may not be with yours, so be careful! cardigan-to-mittens-tutorial
  • I marked a larger mitten shape around my hand-sized one so I had some seam allowance for when I sewed it. Then I pinned the smaller mitten shape  so it didn’t shift around as I cut out the larger one with my fabric scissors.
  • Load up your sewing machine with matching thread. If you don’t have a sewing machine, thread your needle! This project would work just as well sewing my hand because it’s so small and it doesn’t have any delicate work to it. cardigan-to-mittens-tutorial
  • I sewed along the inner marker line, but if I did this again I would sew just on the outside of it. The mittens, especially the thumbs, are a little snug. I knew my fabric was stretchy, though, and I didn’t want to risk it. I back-stitched at the beginning and end, but in retrospect, maybe I should have in the crevice between the thumb and hand portions too. That area of a mitten can get a lot of wear.
  • After I sewed up the first one, I tried it on inside-out to make sure it fit pretty well. Like I said, the thumbs were a little tight, but it was good enough for me. You can always use a seam ripper to take it out and redo it, though. cardigan-to-mittens-tutorial
  • Once I’d sewed up all four mittens, I trimmed the seam allowance down as close as I could to the seam so it wasn’t all bunchy on the inside.
  •  cardigan-to-mittens-tutorial

The finished product

And boom! Mittens! They seem a little girly-camouflage to me, but hey, now I don’t have to buy mittens this winter. Of course it’s still 80 degrees outside in Japan, but hey. I’m prepared.

cardigan-to-mittens-tutorial

After sewing, they’re fully functional and ready to go, but after looking at them for a little bit I decided to add a little extra to the wrist. I cut the buttons off the cardigans and mixed-and-matched a little. I didn’t like the dark green buttons on my lighter gloves, but I LOVED my pale pink buttons on the dark green!

I sewed them onto the wrist of the mittens while I was watching TV. Super easy. The pearly buttons make me feel fancy, even though these mittens only took a 5-year-old sweater and 20 minutes to make.

cardigan-to-mittens-tutorial

I’ve also seen this project done with woolen sweaters, although I’m not sure how much different it would be. One tutorial I saw had the woolen pieces sewn together with embroidery floss, which I’m sure was really sturdy for the heavier fabric. Whatever you choose, have fun!

Good luck with your project!

Such a cute idea. I have a cardigan I totally want to make into mittens!

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