Sweater Mittens

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By General Crafts Contributor Michelle

Turn an old sweater into new mittens. It's the perfect unique holiday gift!

Make a warm pair of mittens from an old sweater for yourself, your child, or a friend. Create the look of a knitted mitten, without picking up a knitting needle!


Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Child’s, Ladies’, or Men’s Mittens PDF (These are very basic sizes. I suggest sewing a test mitten out of scrap fleece to gauge the correct size, before actually cutting your sweater. You can always cut the pattern smaller, or cut around it a bit to make it larger.)
  • An old sweater (the larger the better)
  • Polar fleece
  • Sewing machine
  • Thread
  • Scissors
  • Sewing pins
  • Sewing needle


We’ll first make the fleece linings. To begin, fold your fleece right sides together. Pin your pattern pieces to the fleece, being sure to line up the arrows with the direction that the fleece stretches. Cut out your fabric pieces. You’ll need all three pieces for each mitten–six total pieces to make a pair of mittens.


Pin the top and bottom pieces, right sides together, so the thumbs are lined up. Stitch from the base of the thumb on the thumb-side of the mitten, around the thumb, and across the middle seam. (In the above photo: stitch from the tip of the scissors around the line indicated by the row of pins.


Repeat the above process with the second mitten. Make sure you’ve made a right and left mitten.


Lay the back piece right-sides together with the front pieces that you just sewed. Pin to hold. Sewing on the side with the thumb, move the thumb so it is facing upwards. Sew from the bottom cuff edge up to the mid seam at the base of the thumb (As indicated by the green line in the above photo). You want to sew just to the seam, so it hits the midline stitching, but doesn’t cross it.


Now pull the thumb down, and sew from the midline seam above the thumb, clear around the rest of the mitten, ending at the cuff (As indicated by the red line in the above photo).


Once again, you want to sew so the new seam begins right in the midline stitching, not at all backwards past it–We want to close the seam next to the thumb, without stitching the thumb itself down.


Leave your fleece mittens just as sewn, with the wrong sides out. These are the linings, and we want the good-sides in.


To cut the outer sweater mittens, take the same three pattern pieces, and cut one set of three pieces with the printing on the pattern face up, and one set of the three pattern pieces with the printing on the pattern face down. We’re cutting these pieces from a single layer of fabric, so we need to make sure we cut both a left and right mitten. Line up the “BOTTOM” and “BACK” pieces so the bottom edge is along the bottom ribbing of the sweater–this will form the cuff. The “TOP” pieces can be cut from the upper part of the sweater, but be sure you cut them so the weave of the sweater is running the same direction as the “BOTTOM” and “TOP” pieces.


Double check that you have two sets of pieces, one set cut so the pieces are mirror images. Better to check now, than to sew two left-handed mittens.


Sew the sweater mittens together in the same way you did as the fleece linings. Be sure to line-up the cuff edges carefully so they’re even. Turn the sweater mittens right-side out.


With the fleece linings still inside out as you sewed them, place your hand inside the lining mitten, and then place the lining mitten inside the sweater mitten. When the mitten lining is correctly inserted into the sweater mitten, with the thumbs all lined up, carefully pull your hand out, leaving the lining inside the sweater mitten. Fold the cuff backwards so you can see where the cuff and body of the sweater meet.


Fold the edge of the lining mitten back to hem it (hiding the extra inside the gap between the sweater mitten and lining mitten), and line up the edge with the cuff seam you exposed when you folded the cuff back. Use your needle and thread to whip stitch the folded edge of the lining mitten to the inner edge of the cuff. Repeat with second mitten.

Upcycle an old sweater into super warm mittens!

These are super fun mittens to make, and very warm to wear. Make some for yourself, this holiday season, or to give away as gifts.

Happy crafting!!

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