OK, truth: I made the mittens you’re about to see for myself and no one but myself. They’re not going in anyone’s stocking. But they were were fun to make and a good use of something that I didn’t wear anymore. In this case, one of my favorite j.crew merino wool sweaters had some unreparable moth damage, so not only couldn’t I wear it, but I couldn’t even donate it to Goodwill with the rest of my hand-me-downs. I shed tears over its destruction, and then went ballistic on the moth population, lining my drawers with cedar wands to try and save the rest of my wardrobe.
I didn’t throw the sweater out right away. There were actually 4 effected sweaters, in addition to upwards of a dozen t-shirts, and I’ve held on to all of them thinking that I could pretty easily make pillow cases or something out of the torso if I ever wanted something inexpensive and snuggly. I acquired some nice sweaters from the few years I worked part-time at j.crew, and they’re all equally snuggly.
The idea to make mittens out of the sleeves came to me this month when I realized that I misplaced my favorite pair and needed a substitute for when I take the dog on long walks. It’s getting cold out. Repurposing the sleeves seemed more resourceful than making mitten-shaped cuts from the body of the sweater (a la this Martha Stewart inspiration), and because this sweater was pretty fitted, the mittens would be snug without a lot of extra effort, right down to the wrist.
I taped the sleeves evenly where I wanted to cut them (with blue painter’s tape, handy for everything):
Because I had plenty of sleeve fabric that was uneffected by the mothies, I opted for longer sleeves (that would tuck up my jacket nicely). See? They’d fit nice. Handy.
After hacking the sleeve to length right at the blue tape with my sharpest scissors, I pinned the outline of a rounded end to each sleeve-mitten. It was easier to follow that path loosely than freehand the curve.
When it came to creating a thumb space (pocket? compartment?) I actually dared to slide my hand into the mitten while sewing; it helped to know just how far to sew to have a nice snug fit. I did not sew my hand meat, know your limits if you dare to try this, I’m not advising it.
With both sleeves stitched to fit, I trimmed the gloves inside out to eliminate excess fabric. The seam that you see up and down the whole long side of each mitten is still the original sweater seam; I only added new seams around the rounded fingers and the thumb.
They turned out cute. They’ll be cuter with a little de-pilling (it is an old merino wool sweater after all). Not nearly as gangster as this picture insinuates, just j.crew preppy enough to keep me appeased while I walk the doggums in the snow.