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Christmas mini mitts tutorial

November 18, 2013

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I do love to make miniature things, and these mini mitts are my latest mini make.  I designed these for a festive tutorial link up organised by Laura Howard of Bugs and Fishes by Lupin.  You can find links to all the lovely tutorials in the link up right here.

Although I’ve made my mitt mini, you don’t have to – make yours whatever size you like.  This single mitt would make a great tree ornament just as it is, or you could pop a little gift or treat in it.  You could also make a 2nd mitt and string them together as a pair, to put on your tree.  More than 2 would make a nice garland (maybe strung with baker’s twine and mini pegs) or even an advent calendar, mounted on a board.

You’re going to need a few basic supplies:

  • White felt.  I use 40% wool felt but use whatever you like – just don’t use thicker than 1mm if you’re making your mitts in miniature, or they will be impossible to turn out
  • Tacking / basting thread
  • Cotton sewing thread in matching colours (white and red)
  • Red embroidery cotton (I use DMC perle cotton No8)
  • 2 shiny red buttons (I’ve used 20mm shell buttons here)
  • 12 sequins (I’ve used iridescent ones)
  • Needles for both types of threads
  • Fabric scissors
  • Pencil for marking fabric and pencil for tracing / marking plastic
  • Printed template design
  • Template plastic OR a piece of thick card and some tracing paper
  • Iron, board and a pressing cloth (a white cotton hanky folded once is perfect for this)

To make:

First you need to find your mitten template and settle on the size you want to make.  There are 100s of mitten templates on the internet – search Google images for ‘mittens template’ and pick one you like.  Don’t choose anything too dainty or detailed – you need a simple and strong image.  Print out the template to the ‘real life’ finished size you would like your mitten to be and then make your template by tracing the design.  I like to use template plastic and a plastic marking pencil to do this (make sure you remove the pencil marks from the template before you use it – a baby wipe is perfect for this), but you can use tracing paper and cardboard if you don’t have any to hand – just as good.

Prepare your felt by pressing it smooth using a pressing cloth and your iron set on wool with steam.  Double over the felt and using the template, make sure that your doubled piece of felt is large enough to take the template design twice, laid side by side.  One of these mittens will be the ‘outer’ decorated mitten and the other will be its lining.

Draw around the template once (the whole way around – including the line at the wrist) then flip the template to become a mirror image of the first, joining at the wrist, and draw around that one too.  Make sure you have the thumbs at the same side!

Making sure your two felt pieces are still together at the edges, pin the two mitten shapes together through both thicknesses of felt.  Now use your tacking thread to tack / baste around the inside of the mitten shape, to hold everything together.  You can now cut out your pattern piece, leaving a small seam allowance all around (my seam here is only 2 to 3mm).

Remove the pins and using white cotton thread, sew along the long side of both mittens, on the pencil line.  If you’re hand stitching (which is what I usually do) you can get away with a small running stitch, but best to backstitch for a good finish and sound seams, especially if you’re planning on having a small seam allowance (a good idea to avoid bulk).

Remove the tacking thread.   You now need to create a temporary marker of where the two mittens intersect at the wrist, that you will be able to see on both the wrong and right side of the felt.  You already have a pencil mark on the wrong side of one side of your pattern pieces – you now need to use your template and pencil to create the line on the other side too.

Once you have a line on the wrong side of both pieces, use your tacking thread and small stitches to stitch along the lines on both pieces, from the wrong side.  Be careful not to accidentally pull this line of stitches out as you work on the mittens – you will need to keep it in place right up to the last steps.

Now we’ll decorate the ‘outer’ mitten.  Open the mittens up, wrong side facing you and use your fingers to press the shapes open.  You can now see the outlines of 4 mittens in total with your tacking stitches dividing the outer and lining mitten pieces.

For the decoration on my mitten, I made two rows of 3 sequins close to the top of the mitten and added a button to each side of the mitten.  Feel free to decorate your mitten in any way you like – use embroidery threads, beads, crystals, whatever you like – change up the felt and thread colours – be as inventive as you like!  I stitched my sequins down with three stitches in a ‘Y’ pattern and secured my buttons with matching red thread, just as I would stitch a button to a shirt.  Just make sure that you don’t decorate in the seaming area and when centering decorations, take the seams into account so that everything is lined up on the finished piece in a balanced way.

Once your mitten is decorated, fold the two pieces back together, right sides facing, and use your tacking thread again to baste it all back together, making sure the edges all meet up properly.

Once this is done, you can sew around the mittens, meeting up with the seam you already stitched down one side – leaving an opening on one side of the lining mitten, large enough to turn the whole thing inside out through.  I’d recommend that you sew ON the pencil line when seaming the ‘outer’ mitten, and just inside the pencil line when seaming the lining mitten.  Doing this makes the lining mitten a teeny bit smaller, which will make it fit into the outer mitten a little tidier, when you turn them inside out.  Finally, check your seam allowance and trim, if you feel it needs it.  Make a tiny cut into the inside of the thumb, which will help avoid any creasing when you turn the mitten out.  Be careful and don’t snip your stitches though!

Now we can turn the mittens right side out, through the gap in the seam you left in the lining mitten.  If you’re making these in miniature, this is very fiddly!  Because I make miniature things quite regularly and make stuffed cloth dolls with small parts, I have a pair of surgical hemostats, which I absolutely couldn’t live without!  These are perfect for turning tiny things out and getting stuffing into small spaces, but use with care – they pincer the fabric very solidly and can tear things if you aren’t gentle.  You can pick these up on ebay for a few pounds.  The blunt end of knitting needles or bamboo skewers are also useful turning out tools – just be gentle.

Once you’ve got the shape turned right side out, finger press it flat and turn in the seam allowance around the opening on the lining mitten.  Place over the pressing cloth and press your mitten flat.  Now thread a needle and stitch up the open slot in the lining mitten.  I use ladder stitch to do this, which is invisible, when completed.  Check out YouTube for a video on how to make this stitch – it is very easy once learned and you will find that you use it a lot!

Knot off your thread in the seam itself, to hide it and run the needle some way into the lining part before clipping it off.

Now the fun bit!  You now need to push the lining into the outer mitten.  Start at the tacking thread on the wrist line – pinch the fabric here between your fingers and fold and push the first bit of lining into the outer.  You can then start to push the rest of the lining in and gently ease the lining shape inside the outer shape using your hemostats / needle / skewer.

Using the tacking thread as your guide to where the top of the mitten should be, finger press the parts together before giving them a press with the iron and pressing cloth.

Finally, pull out the wrist tacking stitches and using your embroidery thread, blanket stitch around the wrist.

Hide any thread knots in the seams of the lining mitten, where they will be out of sight.  Now add a hanging thread and any other decorations you want – I’ve added a mini jingle bell in red to mine by just knotting it onto the thread.  This is a fun way to create an ‘alarm’ on your mitt if you’re going to use it as a gift pouch on the three – nobody can touch it without jingling!  For mini mitts, a piece of the embroidery thread is perfect for hanging – just knot it together at the top.  If you’re making a bigger mitt, ribbon would be good – just seam the raw edges together and hide them folded inside the lining, which you can stitch to the side of the mitt using a small and neat running stitch.

I hope you will enjoy making these mitts and that these instructions make sense.  If you have any problems or want to ask any questions, please post a reply.  If you have any feedback for me on the post in general, would love to hear from you!

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8 Comments

  • Reply Mrs. Saint Nick November 20, 2013 at 4:28 pm

    Darling mitts! Your directions are great.

    • Reply crimson November 20, 2013 at 4:35 pm

      Thanks so much! :o)

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  • Reply Alex - Hydrangea Girl November 21, 2013 at 12:49 pm

    Absolutely adorable tutorial! I love the teeny tiny details like the sequins and tread detail. These are just the cutest 🙂

    xx A

    • Reply crimson November 21, 2013 at 3:17 pm

      Thank you! I do love a sequin! x

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