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.





Fashion in Art- Selections from the MET

May 2017    New York City

Nothing can make me happier than a whole day wandering at my pace at any major museum.  This adventure found me at the MET

I took a free guided gallery talk “Fashion in Art”.

The guide set the tone dressed fashionably including beautiful walking friendly shoes.









The first stop on the tour:  A Roman sculpture (copied from a Greek sculpture) of a women with a basket.  She is wearing a chilton, which is rectangle of cloth folded, draped over the body.  These were probably made from linen.  A peplos was made from heavier materials, usually wool.  Want to make your own?  Check out how at the Kentucky Educational Television site.

Note that historians are convinced that the clothing and the statues that document them were actually brightly colored.  Not the white sheet toga party garment that comes to mind.

Ancient Greek and Roman clothing continues to inspire fashion designers.  This essay and images of clothing in the MET’s collection (see below link) show how these designs elements have been incorporated throughout western fashion’s 600 year history.

Classicism in Modern Dress




Next stop: Courtiers in a Rose Garden Tapestry

Materials: wool, silk and gilt metal thread  Dated to 1440-50 Location south Netherlandish (contemporary Belgian Flanders)

Fashion pointed out in this tapestry:

The rolled headdress of the woman.  Fashion dictated showing lots of forehead, sometimes enhanced by removing hair from the forehead and eyebrows.  The head was topped with a padded roll, sometimes decorated with a veil or jewels.

Men’s jackets became shorter in this time period and were worn with hose.  No knitwear was available so they were cut on the bias to give the ability to stretch and mold to the leg.

Take a close look at the man’s shoes.  These long pointy shoes made from leather or fabric are called poulaine or crackowes.  Historians believe that this fashion moment was inspired by Richard II’s Polish wife Ann of Bohemia.  Extravagant fashion of the court were copied by men and women.


Bronzino (Agnolo di Cosimo di Mariano) (Italian, Monticelli 1503–1572 Florence) Collection of the MET. Photo owner MET.


Bronzino’s oil portrait of a young man painted in the 1530’s gives us two fashion items.

First the flat soft brim hat depicted was on of several types of men’s hats worn during this period.

The young man’s jacket features a decorative effect called slashing.  This fashion evolved from the practice of the Swiss army in a successful battle in 1477 over Charles the Bold.  The battle worn army cut up banners and tents and wove the scraps through the holes in their uniforms.  This fabric manipulation was imitated by the wealthy and remained popular through the 1500s.
Read more:

Antoine Laurent Lavoisier (1743–1794) and His Wife (Marie Anne Pierrette Paulze, 1758–1836) Artist:Jacques Louis David (French, Paris 1748–1825 Brussels) Collection of the MET, photo by the MET



Paris, France.  This painting depicts a new fashion of women’s dresses created from imported fine white cotton.  This fashion inspiration comes from Marie Antoinette and her pastime of dressing as an idealized common milkmaid.  The sudden increase in this gauzy cotton brought about a decrease for French silk.  During this time up to 20,000 silk looms in France ceased to operate, leading to joblessness and discontent.   Did this change in fashion contributed to the French Revolution?

Also in fashion during this time for both men and women – powdered wigs.  Powdered wigs become popular when King Louis XIV of France and his cousin Charles II King of England started wearing them.  Wigs were popular during this time to hide hair loss due to syphilis.  In addition, shaving the head to make the wig fit also made it easier to control head lice.  Ewww, I almost wish I hadn’t learned those facts!


And finally on this fashion in art tour, Madame X.

Madame X (Madame Pierre Gautreau)
Artist:John Singer Sargent (American, Florence 1856–1925 London) Collection of the MET, photo by the MET

The description of the painting is as follows by the MET.

Madame Pierre Gautreau (the Louisiana-born Virginie Amélie Avegno; 1859–1915) was known in Paris for her artful appearance. Sargent hoped to enhance his reputation by painting and exhibiting her portrait. Working without a commission but with his sitter’s complicity, he emphasized her daring personal style, showing the right strap of her gown slipping from her shoulder. At the Salon of 1884, the portrait received more ridicule than praise. Sargent repainted the shoulder strap and kept the work for over thirty years. When, eventually, he sold it to the Metropolitan, he commented, “I suppose it is the best thing I have done,” but asked that the Museum disguise the sitter’s name.

Virginie was know to use lavender colored face and body powder and to color her hair and eyebrows with henna.  She was known not only as a beauty but for her her extra-marital affairs.  When the painting was shown society felt that Singer Sargent was flaunting her overt sexuality with the flirtatious pose and the virtually strapless deep v neckline of her dress.   Both Virginie and her mother asked for the painting to be removed from public display, and because of the scandal she was forced to retire from society.  And when donated, the painting became Madame X to protect her name.



I hoped you enjoyed this virtual accompaniment of my tour of the MET.    Next up the Rei Kawakubo exhibit.




I am happy to answer any questions about this New York visit.  Photos not from the MET’s collection were taken with my Samsung Galaxy 8.  All photographs not credited are the property of ByMarkita and are copyrighted.  See copyright page for details.

Accommodations were at Hotel:  Hampton Inn Manhattan Madison Square Garden Area