So last weekend I finished up the cold weather mittens just in time for the craziest weather we have seen in years. The mittens are usable and soft, but not exactly the couture work I prefer to produce. All in all, the wearers are happy and warm so it all ended well. But some notes on the journey there.
I printed and cut out all of the patterns from my previous post (Emergency Project: Cold Weather Waterproof Mittens Part 1). I looked them all over and ended up using the pattern from FleeceFun.com.
I had originally wanted to make these mittens waterproof but the weather came upon me faster than I had planned and a trip to the fabric store was not panning out. I ended up pulling out the stash fabrics. I usually sew for adult women so I did not have much fabric that was honestly appropriate for the cause. Thanks to a spree of pajama pant making in the fall, I did have small stash of polar fleece fabric.
I am not too fond of this stuff, but it makes good for items for the little ones and my husband that will need to withstand many trips through the wash and still stay warm. Honestly for my husbands mitts I wish I would have had some boiled wool. I could have gotten out the wool fiber and felted the proper fabric by hand, but spending hours laying out wool and then felting it in the middle of a snow storm was just not appealing.
Onto some shop talk. I started out wanting to make these mittens extra warm, so I cut the outer layer from polar fleece and the lining from cotton flannel. I had a "bright" idea to use some fusible fleece batting on the lining fabric to increase the warmth. I was also very "smart" and cut and fused both of the child sized gloves before really testing this idea out.
After assembly line rotary cutting the pieces and fusing the fleece I started sewing the mittens up. There are good instructions on the site, but the seam allowance of 1/2 inch for both the lining and outer fabric did not work out so well. I did the first glove using and trimmed it as best I could, but the thumb became way too small with the lining. Additionally, my youngest boy did not like the stiffness of the fused flannel in the glove. So for speed and sanity, on the kids gloves I skipped the lining.
Now, on to my husband's mittens. After my mistakes with the mittens for my kids, I decided to try a few changes. I fused fleece to the large back hand piece but not to thumb lining pieces. I was hoping this would add some wind resistance. I also used 1/2" seam allowance on the lining pieces and a 1/4" seam allowance to the outer pieces to account for the bulk created by the two seams touching and the extra thickness in the fabrics. I also decided to bind the edges rather than turn them. I was lazy and sometimes I just don't want to turn pieces through a small hole when they are odd shaped.
It turns out I was correct and my hubby tested the mittens out a lot over the past few days. The temps have been below zero here and he said his mittens kept his hands quite warm. The kids love their gloves too. They may not have turned out waterproof or quite the seamstress mastery I like to create, but my customers are happy and hands are warm so I can feel happy with a job well done.