Saturday, January 14, 2012

Super Simple Fleece Mitten Tutorial

I live in northern Vermont and I don't know about where you are, but here it is C-O-L-D cold.  In fact, according to the Burlington Free Press right now, it's this cold:

That's right, 1 degree outside and feels like -13.  So it seemed like the perfect time to use up fleece scraps and put together a quick pair of mittens.  You see, I lose things.  A lot.  And my major triumph of the last several years has been my ability to hang on to my super warm purple fleece mittens.  But alas, this year they mysteriously vanished between May and October, and so I've been mittenless this winter.  But today, it was time to fix that.  1 flippin' degree, people!

I googled the heck out of mitten patterns and finally settled on this:  I'm afraid I don't know who Barlow Scientific is, but it does clearly state that this pattern was adapted from a free pattern for oven mitts this person found at a Hancock Fabric store.  I like the mystery of it all. I also liked that these suckers would be big enough to double as oven mitts.  Did I mention it's 1 degree outside? 

I had approximately 1/3 yard of anti-pill fleece kicking around and it was enough fabric for two pairs, so my guess is that you could make this with 1/4 yard for a single pair. Here are the three pattern pieces.  They make mittens sized for a women's large/men's medium or
  • Hand girth:  9"
  • Hand length:  8-3/4"
  • Thumb length:  3-1/4"
When I saved them from the Barlow Scientific site they were small jpegs, so I scaled them up to the recommended 1" x 1" per square dimensions.  If you click on the images here, they should open in the correct size.

My hands are the size of a 10 year old's hands.  No, seriously, they are.  At the Museum of Science in Boston they have an exhibit that shows the size of human hands at different developmental ages and mine match up perfectly with the 10 year old's - stubby fingers and all.  So I chopped an inch off the top of the mitt and the top of the thumb pattern pieces for mine and it worked out really well.   You'll need to cut two of each pattern.  Because my fleece didn't have a right and a wrong size, I folded the fabric over and laid out the pattern pieces so that I'd have two of each automatically.

For convenience's sake, I've numbered them and I'll use the numbers from here on out instead of piece-with-the-thumb-sticking-up or something to that effect.  You're welcome.

Step 1:  Match pieces 1 and 2 together and sew around the top using a straight stitch, stopping at the black diamond.  I've highlighted the seam in yellow.

Step 2:  Flatten out the sewn together pieces so that the silhouette matches up with piece 3. 

Step 3: Pin together with piece 3 and sew around the outside using a straight stitch. Again, the seam is highlighted.

Step 4: Fold up the unfinished bottom cuff 1/2 inch and sew with a zig zag stitch so that it will stretch.

Step 5:  Repeat with the second set of fabric cut outs to make the mitten for the other hand.

Congrats!  You've made a pair of mittens!  Turn those beauties right side out and enjoy warm hands all season long.  Want to make them extra warm?  You can make a second pair 1/4" smaller, keep it wrong side out with the seams visible, and then place it inside the slightly larger pair and sew them together along the cuff with a zig zag stitch..  The slight decrease in size will keep it from being too bulky - just make sure to trim the seam allowance down as much as possible.  The second layer of fabric will also make them more wind-proof, which - trust me - is incredibly helpful!

Enjoy them!  As my partner always says to get me to wear winter gear when I don't want too, frostbite is significantly less cute than wearing appropriate clothing.  Words to live by, people.  Words to live by.

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