Believe it or not, there are actually some great uses for old jumpers. You know the ones I’m talking about: those that have shrunk in the wash, or haven’t been in style since your half-senile great aunt gave them to you for Christmas back in the 1990s. They’re the sweaters that take up space in the closet before finally being donated to thrift shops when you finally get around to doing so, where they’ll languish in garish sorrow until someone takes pity on them. Believe it or not, there are some great uses for these old things before you decide to toss them away—in addition to using their sleeves as legwarmers or wine bottle cosies, you can do something spectacular with them: turn them into mittens!
- An old sweater (woollen is best, but acrylic will do as well)
- Thick paper or thinner cardboard (like Bristol board)
- A pencil
- A ruler
- Straight pins
- Needle and thread (a darning needle would work best, and good, sturdy thread along with it)
Lay the cardboard down on the table in front of you, and then place your hand on top of it. Draw your fingers together and stick your thumb out as though emulating a mitten, and use your pencil to trace around it, adding another 4 or 5cm or so at the bottom for the wrist cuff. Then trace around that again, 1.5cm or so outside the original line: you’ll need that extra space for sewing allowance.
Cut around the outer edge so you now have a mitten-shaped piece of paper.
Lay the sweater out in front of you, and place the outline on top of the jumper, with the bottom edge forming what will be the wrist cuff. Now, there are two ways of creating the mitten: you can either cut through both the front and back of the fabric at the same time so that you have the front and back of your mitten done, or you can cut out mirrored shapes on first the front, and then the back. I’d recommend the latter so that you have greater control over the fabric, and don’t have to worry about one side slipping as you cut.
Okay, so. Let’s assume you’re cutting out 4 pieces: you have the outline laid out, and now you’ll pin the paper onto the sweater. Cut around the outside edge of it, and set that mitten piece aside. Flip the paper pattern horizontally and lay it down the way you did with the first, and repeat the process. You’ll now have the tops of both mittens.
Photo: Bored Almighty
Flip the jumper over and repeat this process again, so you have 4 mitten pieces in total.
Match the pieces together so the insides meet one another in happy mitten bliss. Then, flip them around so you have the backs touching each other on the inside, and the inner weave visible to you. Use your needle and thread to sew around the outside of these mittens, leaving a little over half a cm around the edges. I’d recommend sewing the pieces together with a backstitch, and if you’d like extra reinforcement around the edges, go back over it all with a blanket stitch. Don’t sew the wrists shut.
Now turn the mittens right-side-out again, and voila! You can go frolic about outdoors and build some snowmen or something. Enjoy!