Thursday, September 29, 2011

Felted Cashmere Glove/Mittens

Living in the Pacific Northwest means dealing with chilly winters.   I love the warmth of my gloves, but I always find myself taking them off to tend to my phone or to dig for treats while I walk my dog.  For this reason, I wanted to make a pair of fingerless gloves with a mitten pullover.  This keeps your digits toasty, and minimizes the exposure when you're just making a quick flip through your playlist or playing Words With Friends while waiting for the bus.

I have a few cashmere-blend sweaters that have seen better days, and I've been looking for ways to reuse them.  There are holes and rips in the knit, but throwing away such a large amount of good-quality fabric seems like an awful waste.

 I recently came across the technique of felting, which pulls the fibers in the knit close together to create a felt-like cloth.  This leaves the cashmere sewable, thick, and reusable!

Materials Required:
  • 1 sweater to be felted
  • 1 pillowcase
  • 1 spool of thread
  • ballpoint needle for your sewing machine
  • embellishments as desired (buttons, ribbon, etc.)
One quick note: when sewing with knits, it is very important to sew with a ballpoint needle in your sewing machine.  This ensures the needle will not snag the fibers in your material, which will jam your machine and end in a gross mess.

Felt the sweater by placing it in a pillowcase.  This prevents any loose fibers from escaping, clogging your washing machine plumbing.  If you have a few golf balls, throw those into the pillowcase, too, in order to encourage agitation (thus pulling the fibers closer together).

Wash it in hot water, with a cool rinse.  This might take several cycles to achieve the thickness you want.  For me, it took three cycles, but it will vary depending on your washer and your original material.  You'll know you've achieved the correct tightness when the fibers are too close together to distinguish.

I used the glove template from here.  The pattern was the perfect size for me, but I have small hands.  You may need to adjust based on your own hand size.  For the hand, you'll need to fold your sweater in half and cut through two layers of fabric.  Cut out the appropriate pieces, making sure to leave 1/8" allowance on all edges.  I wanted to take advantage of the finished hem in the sweater sleeve, so I opted to cut the glove pattern from the sleeve (which is already double-layered if you lay the arm flat). I left some extra room towards the wrist to make a longer glove.  You can adjust this to your discretion.
The gussets on the left are single layer, the glove base is double layer
Only cut the thumbhole out of one side (this will be different for each hand--make sure you don't cut them both the same way!).

The instructions on are very clear and easy to follow.  After you cut out the hands, gussets, and thumb, you'll want to sew the gussets to their corresponding positions on the back portion of the glove.  I used a 1/8" thick zig-zag stitch to allow for stretching.

After the gussets are sewn, sew the palm-side of the glove to the gussets and down the side towards the wrist.  Since I knew I was making "hobo" style gloves (no fingertips), I didn't bother to sew the fingertips--this part gets finicky and was better left unfinished for me.  Sew the round portion of the thumb piece, leaving the base open.

Turn this piece inside out, and with the glove inside-out, slide the thumb piece in its opening.  Pin and sew with a 1/8" zig-zag stitch.
Now turn the entire glove so it is "rightside-out".  Now trim off the fingertips to your desired length.  I wanted to maximize my warmth while still allowing my fingers to use my phone, so I cut just below where each finger hits the first knuckle.
Now to make the mitten pull-over section.  With your hand inside the glove, place it palm-side down onto a folded piece of sweater (I used the sleeve, since it is already double-layered).  Trace around your fingers, leaving about 1/4"-1/2" clearance, depending on how much room you want inside of the mitten.  The base of the mitten should be below your fingers, but above your thumb.
Sew along the green line above, so it makes a pocket.  A straight stitch can be used for this portion if desired.  Invert the mitten pocket, and slide over your fingers to ensure a fit.  Now pin one layer of the mitten pocket to the back layer of the glove.  If you are very careful, you can do this while the glove is still on your hand, to ensure you don't accidentally pin the palm-side of your glove (I'm not responsible for any of you hurting yourselves!  Be careful!).

Here's a point where you can take some creative liberties.  You can either sew the mitten pocket on using some sort of hidden stitch (like a ladder stitch), or you can do a decorative stitch.  I opted to use embroidery thread, and did a decorative x-stitch across the back.

Your mitten-glove is pretty much done!  I decided to embellish the cuff with the remnants of another felted sweater, and dotted the sides with some leftover buttons (I have a huge collection from the spares that come with all buttoned clothing).

That's it!  I hope you enjoyed my first tutorial!

1 comment:

  1. This looked like a fun project! I like the added purple and buttons to the gloves. And I especially like the sad face on the holey cardigan. He looks really sad. Nice work!