Wednesday, January 4, 2012

DIY Mittens & Liners/Uses for an Old Sweater

Wow.
I have so much to say and so little time to say it in, so I'd better cut to the chase.
My friend was wearing *the cutest* little mitten set a few weeks ago. She said her sister had made them for her, which I thought was super cool (and realllyyy made me want to meet her sister!). It was a set of felted wool mittens with an inside set of mittens serving as a liner. I really liked the idea of the mittens having a liner, because in Michigan the extra warmth is often necessary. I thought it would be super easy to make myself. What can be easier than mittens? I believe hers were made with fleece, but I wanted to get rid of some extra sweaters anyway and thought we should use those instead. 
Step One
There are multiple options here. If you don't want to use your mittens as liners, you can keep following the steps to complete them. I also put in an option for making them from felted wool, which is super easy to make but not so easy to sew.
Here we go!
(1) Lay out your sweater and trace: if you have a pair of mittens that you want to use as a template, that's great. If not, use your own hand! If you're using a template, don't forget to add seam allowance. If you're using your hand- add LOTS of seam allowance! You want your hand to have some room. You'll need less room, though, if these are liners because they'll need to fit inside your other mittens. **note**, I placed mine at the bottom edge of the sweater. This gave me a ready made hem/pretty edge. Here's to the easiest route!
Cut and pinned!
(2) Cut and pin: before you start cutting, pin it in place. You won't have to worry about the material moving around and you'll be ready to take them right to the sewing machine if the pins are already where they need to be. 
(3) Sew: If you're using felted wool- be sure to use a heavy duty needle! Good grief, I think sewing the felted wool was the hardest part of the whole project. If you don't know what felted wool is, stay tuned.  
Liner peeking from mitten
(4) Embellish: If these are liners, you can still make them cute. Just add some ribbon or crystals or whatever you want to the edge. It'll peek out from underneath the mittens. 


If you want to make these into regular mittens, let's continue!
You'll want to add something to keep them tight to your wrist. Ideally, you'd use elastic. I didn't have any on hand... sooo... I used hair ties. It isn't a bad idea if you have small wrists. 
(1) Size the elastic: wrap the elastic around your wrist to see how much you need for the right fit. It's ok if it isn't tight because it will need to stretch around fabric. Hot glue the ends together.
Gluing down elastic
(2) Add ribbon: If you glue ribbon all the way around, you lose the elasticity. Just glue the ribbon down in one spot. Make sure you have enough ribbon to cover the entire elastic + an extra 1 inch. Then, add a second bit of glue on the other side and attach the end of the ribbon to it (one side). Make sure to leave a bit of room for the elastic to stretch. Don't glue the entire side down. Click on the pictures to get a better idea of what I mean. 
(3) Add a snap: On the same edge that you just glued down, add either a snap or clasp/clamp. I used some extra pieces from a shoe embellishment tutorial. The idea is that you want to attach the loose end of the ribbon to the other side without gluing it down. With the clamp, you can tighten the ribbon to fit your wrist once you have the mittens on. I feel like this is the confusing part of the blog, so if it doesn't make sense, feel free to ask questions and I'd be happy to sort it out for you.
As a mitten
(4) Embellish: Add buttons, ribbons, bows... whatever you want! You can see that on the felted wool mittens, I did them two different ways. I'm not sure which I'll end up keeping. However, there's a clamp on the back of the leopard puff... sooo... technically, I can just clamp it OVER the buttons and use both ways depending on my mood. I used hot glue to attach everything.


Post-felting
Really quickly, let's talk about felted wool. Felting wool is extremely easy and creates a very thick, warm material. I used one of John's oversized sweaters for the burgundy mittens and it worked really well. All you need to do is take a wool sweater, throw it in the washing machine on HOT and HIGH agitation and add some (1/4) baking or washing soda. It will felt right up! Be prepared for lots of pilling. You'll need to comb off the excess/use a lint brush. Sewing the felted wool was not my favorite thing in the world. It's really tough. Some people prefer to create their project first and then felt it, but you'd have to really do your homework since it's hard to say how much the wool will shrink when you felt it. You may end up with mini-mittens or some that are too large. 
That's all I have time for today. You can see from the picture that there are other parts to this blog. I didn't even get to the etc part! However, I *have* to leave for job #3 right now, so they'll have to wait until tomorrow. Check back, though, because there is more than even the picture shows! I hope you have a wonderfully warm day, and as always, thanks for reading! Pin It

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