Do you have old, worn out sweaters lying around that you don’t wear anymore? Instead of throwing them away, repurpose them into unique oven mitts with a few easy steps! Upcycling sweaters is a creative way to reduce waste and make fun homemade gifts.
Selecting Sweaters to Repurpose
When choosing sweaters for repurposing, opt for natural fibers like wool, cotton, or cashmere. These materials are heat resistant making them ideal for oven mitts. Examine the sweater for holes, stains, or excessive pilling and avoid any with too much damage.
The thicker and more tightly knitted the sweater, the better protection it will provide against heat. Chunky cable knit or Aran style sweaters work very well. Avoid sweaters made of delicate or loosely knitted fabrics.
Consider repurposing brightly colored or patterned sweaters to add a fun flair to your oven mitts. Solid colored ones can work too, but the end result may not be as visually interesting.
Preparing the Sweater
Once you’ve selected a sweater, wash it if needed to freshen it up. Check for any moth holes or weak seams and repair as necessary. Felting the sweater in the washing machine will help it hold its shape better once crafted into mitts.
Cut off the arms of the sweater at the seams so you have two sleeve sections. Trim any extra length from the sleeves so they are no more than 18-20 inches long. Remove any cuffs.
If desired, cut decorative shapes from the remaining torso piece of the sweater to use for applique. Think circles, hearts, flowers, animal shapes, etc.
Assembling the Oven Mitts
Turn one sleeve inside out and place the other sleeve inside it so the right sides are facing together. Pin the seams and arm openings together. Using a 1/2 inch seam allowance, sew around the edges leaving an opening along one side.
Trim seam allowances and clip curves. Turn the mitt right side out through the opening. Stitch the opening closed by hand or machine.
Insert a quilted oven mitt liner into the sweater mitt, matching the curved edges. Pin the liner in place then edgestitch it into the mitt, closing the gap.
Adding Creative Embellishments
Now comes the fun part – decorating your upcycled oven mitts! With the liner inserted, they are ready for embellishing.
Sew on any applique shapes cut from the sweater using a zigzag or satin stitch around the edges. Attaching buttons, ric rac trim or lace with fabric glue are other options.
For a folk art vibe, try embroidering designs with yarn or floss. Sew on pompoms, felt shapes or iron on patches. The ideas for ornamentation are endless!
By repurposing old sweaters destined for the donation pile, you can now create charming new oven mitts to protect your hands in the kitchen. Let your creativity run wild making sets of matching or mix and match mitts.
Tips for Successful Sweater Oven Mitts
- Choose natural fiber sweaters in tightly knitted fabrics
- Felt or pre-wash sweaters to help them hold shape
- Use thick mitts liners for insulation against heat
- Sew liners in by machine for a secure hold
- Embellish with appliques, buttons, embroidery & more
- Mix colors and patterns for a fun eclectic look
- Wrap mitt cuff in coordinating fabric for extra protection
With a little time and imagination, those old sweaters can have a new life as trendy, eco-friendly oven mitts to cook with. Repurposing them is an easy, thrifty craft project! Not only are you saving them from landfills, you’ll have stylish mitts to use and give as gifts.