Recycle a sweater into fingerless mittens

These mittens give you warmth and the flexibility to type (or to sew!)

Turn your sweater ( any type but cashmere is especially nice) into a quick and thoughtful gift for you or a friend.

Check out thrift shops for a soft sweater.  If it has moth holes or stains, just make sure you can cut around them.

I wash my sweaters on delicate.  Note that cashmere does not felt, but wool will compress and get smaller.

For this example, I found a small purple sweater at a thrift shop.  The neckline had been cut – otherwise I would have been able to make 2 pair of mittens.  I will just search for a complimentary color and make a pair that mixes the body of the mitten and the thumb.  I have enough for one more mitten.

Print off the pdf pattern  by clicking here :  fingerless_mitten pattern – be sure and select actual size on your print menu.  Making sure your pattern measures 1″ in the sizing square.  You will need to tape together the mitten body at the join line.

Cut two mitten bodies and two thumbs right sides together.  If you need to cut each piece individually – make sure you flip the pattern so that you get a right and left mitten.  Cut with the greatest stretch going around the hand and the body of the mitten.


I cut this pair utilizing the lower edge ribbing.  You do not have to have a ribbed edge.  Simply serge the lower edge after you cut out the mitten body to keep the edge from curling.  The top edge (fingers) will curl slightly and doesn’t require any serging.


Sew with a narrow long zig zag stitch.  On my machine my setting was a width of 1.0  and a length of 3.5.  This gives the seam a little stretch.  You will be sewing the seam above and below the thumb circle on the body of the mitten.

Because the sweater is bulky, I suggest you use a scrap of the sweater to start off your seam.  Butt the doubled scrap up to your seam, be sure to backstitch or lock the mitten seam.

You can try on the mittens at this point and make sure they are snug to your liking.


You will sew the thumb piece using a 1/4 ” seam allowance 3/4 of an inch down from the top.


Again, use your scrap piece to start your seam smoothly.


Press all of your seams open.  I used only the tip of the iron and steam, but not pressing the sweater loft flat.

Turn the thumb seam to the inside.  Place thumb piece inside glove piece so that right sides are together.  Now match the thumb seam and the finger seams, match the notches and match the lower seam to the point on the thumb pattern.  Start and end sewing at the thumb seam using a 1/4″ seam allowance.  Press this seam open and viola your mittens are complete!   I trimmed my notch and a little of the seams to lay flat and be more comfortable.

To recap  instructions:

1)cut 2 mitten bodies and 2 thumb sections right sides together

2)if not using ribbing section of the sweater, zig zag or serge lower edge

3) Sew mitten body above and below the thumb opening right sides together, check fit.

4) Sew thumb section seam 3/4 ” from top edge right sides together

5) With right sides matching pin and sew thumb section to mitten body matching notch, thumb seam with top of mitten seam and point of thumb section to lower mitten seam.





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