How to… make mittens

How to… make mittens

Create quirky felted mittens out of old shrunken jumpers – it’s a simple, but ingenious idea and it’s really very easy to do! Read on to find out how…

The list of projects you can make with a felted jumper is endless. With winter upon us our first project had to be these cosy mittens! So if, like us, you’ve ended up putting your hand washing in a hot wash, you have already rather cleverly completed the first step at felting! For all you clever clogs who follow care labels, simply follow the instructions below to catch up!


  • A woolly felted jumper, ironed
  • A4 sheets of paper
  • Dressmaker’s pins
  • Needle and thread (or a sewing machine)
  • A good pair of fabric scissors

Find the perfect felting jumper

  • 100% lamb’s wool is the best kind of wool for felting.
  • The bigger the jumper the more fabric you’ve got to work with!
  • Don’t worry if you don’t like the colour or pattern. Once transformed into a pair of mittens they can be embellished with beads and ribbons or whatever you can find.
  • Felted material can be sewn by hand as well as machine.

How to felt

  1. Lay out the garment and measure it. (After washing you will measure it again to compare how much it has shrunk).
  2. Put the item in the washing machine on a hot wash. Add one lid full of delicate wool wash detergent.
  3. A pure wool garment should be washed at 60º. If you are using a nylon mix garment try going even higher at 70º.
  4. Once the cycle has finished, measure the garment to check how much it has shrunk. Ideally you are looking for between 30%–50% shrinkage. If you haven’t achieved this first time round, pop it back in for another spin to achieve the desired effect.
  5. Once the garment is fully dry it is ready to use! This fabric can now be cut without fraying.

How to make the mittens

  1. On one piece of A4 draw a mitten shape 5cm bigger all the way around your hand with your thumb out to the side.
  2. Don’t make the wrist area too small as felt isn’t a very stretchy material. It is much easier to make it too big and then make it smaller!
  3. Unless you’re ambidextrous, cut out this shape and use it as a template to draw the second, identical mitten shape.
  4. Straighten out the jumper on a flat surface and pin the mitten templates on with the wrists on the waistband, so you get a ribbed effect at the bottom.
  5. Cut out around the templates.
  6. Remove the templates. You will now have two felt layers for each mitten. Pin these together and sew around them, a few millimetres from the edge. The seams will be on the outside so put some thought into which stitch you use. If you’re sewing by hand, backstitch will give a neat finish. If you fancy making a feature of the seams, use thicker thread and an over sew stitch so it really stands out. Use a sewing machine if you’d like a neat, almost invisible stitch.
  7. We really feel that mittens are simply not mittens if they don’t come on a string. To release your inner 5-year-old (and to stop you losing them), cut a long strip up the arm, across the back and down the other arm (this way you know it’ll be the right length) and attach both ends with a few secure stitches to the inside of the wrist on both mittens.

For many more projects like this, from moccasin slippers to T-shirt bags, check out the Cloth Magazine website

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