How to Make Mittens From Wool Sweaters

    by Elizabeth Chaplin

    About the Author

    Elizabeth Chaplin has been writing professionally since 2005 and has published articles with various websites. She has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in illustration and works as a graphic designer. Her experience also includes crafting, interior design and photography. Chaplin also created a natural beauty business in 2011, hand-making and selling organic, cruelty-free products for hair, skin and face.


    Woolen mittens are a wintertime standby, keeping fingers warm while shoveling snow, ice skating or building a snowman. Wool stays warm even in the wettest conditions, shedding water better than most other fibers. Mittens are relatively easy to make, due to the rounded, simple shape. One way to create custom woolen mittens is by reusing an old wool sweater. With a few basic sewing materials, making warm, snuggly wool mittens is a task you can finish quickly.

    Things You'll Need

    • Tracing paper
    • Marker
    • Scissors
    • Wool sweater
    • Pins
    • Sewing machine
    • Thread
    • Sewing needle

    show more

    Make a Pattern

    Place one hand, palm down, onto the surface of the tracing paper with fingers spread slightly. Trace around the hand and upper wrist, keeping the line rounded and about a half-inch away from the skin. Do not conform the line to the shape of the fingers; mittens have a rounded tip. End the line so that it reaches about two inches down the wrist. Cut out the drawn shape with scissors. This will be the pattern.

    Turn the wool sweater inside-out and place on a flat surface. Cut up the side seams of the sweater to create two flaps. Then, cut across the top of the flaps to remove the square of sweater from the bust and sleeves of the sweater.

    Stack the two layers of sweater fabric on top of each other with wrong sides facing each other. Set the pattern onto the fabric with the thumb pointing to the right and pin it into place. Do this by pinning all around the inner rim of the tracing paper.

    Cut out the first two wool pieces by cutting around the pattern. Unpin the pattern and flip it so that the thumb is pointing to the left. Pin it onto the fabric using the same technique and cut around it. You should now have four mitten pieces.


    Pin two mitten shapes together to create each mitten. Align the edges and then pin around the inner edge to hold them together. Both pieces of mitten should be inside-out.

    Ensure that you use the appropriate needle. For lightweight wool, use a 60/8 needle. Medium-weight wool requires a 70/10 to 80/12 needle, while a 90/14 needle is ideal for heavyweight wool.

    Place the mitten directly under the needle. Sew around the edges of the mitten about a quarter-inch from the edge. Leave the end of the wrist open. Repeat this for the second mitten. Remove the pins.

    Hand sew around the seam allowance edge of the mittens. The seam allowance is the quarter-inch of wool that extends past the sewing line. Stick the needle right above the sewing line, then bring it up and over the seam allowance. Then, stick the needle through the opposite side about an eighth-inch from the first hole. Repeat this until you finish the entire seam allowance for both mittens. Turn the mittens right-side out to wear.

    Photo Credits

    • Hands in mittens with winter scarf image by Sophia Winters from