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Recycle old sweater into pair of mittens

Mon., Feb. 8, 2010

An old sweater can provide a new sewing experience. King Features (King Features)
An old sweater can provide a new sewing experience. King Features (King Features)

This is the time of year when kids and adults like me lose one or more of their mittens. Our pairs simply don’t match up in February the way they did in November.

If you’re in that same predicament, try this quick and super-easy sewing activity to replenish your supply for the weeks left in the season. Make a new pair of mittens from an old sweater.

Here’s how:

1. Find an old wool sweater that’s about ready for the rag bag. Be sure the cuffs are still tight around the sleeves. Lay the sweater flat on a work surface.

2. Make a mitten pattern by tracing a favorite mitten on a sturdy piece of paper, such as a paper grocery bag. Add 1/2 inch on all sides. Cut it out.

3. Put the pattern on the sleeve of your sweater, placing the wrist end of the pattern over the cuff end of the sleeve. Pin the pattern to the sweater. Carefully cut out the mitten pattern.

4. Sew it up! With wrong sides facing each other, sew the mitten together using the small stitch on your sewing machine, reinforcing the thumb portion. Turn the mitten right side out. Make a matching mitten from the other sleeve, using the reverse side of the same pattern.

You can recycle more of the sweater, if it has an interesting design or figure on the front, such as a sailboat, flowers or an animal.

Cut out the design with a heart- or square-shape paper pattern, and you can make a decorative doll pillow with your child.

Cut a plain, matching piece from the back of the sweater. Sew the two pieces together, leaving a small opening. Stuff the pillow with fabric scraps or polyfill. Stitch the opening closed. Decorate it with a button or ribbon.

Donna Erickson is the author of several books about family activities and host of a public television series See more activities at

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