Today, I finish the article of the making of the Fuyu no Jin Mittens. As I wrote in the previous post Fuyu no Jin means a winter war in Japanese. Traditionally, it’s army against army in winter but my mittens are going small scale. Yes, I’m taking a lot of liberties.
The previous post was about the designing process. This is about the construction process.
100% wool sweater to be recycled
Felting wool in 5 colors
- White or ivory
4 tiny black beads for eyes
Needle Felting Gear
- Felting Needle
- Sponge (for underneath the needle and project
- Liquid soap
- Water (warm to hot)
Sewing Machine or Hand Needle and Thread
Needle for sewing details
design for felting
Mitten Template (made from tracing hand or a template you like)
Pattern to Sewing
1. Make a template to trace out the mittens.
- I searched the Internet for a nice template but never really found one. It seems like thumbs are the trickiest part. This time I added thumbs separately. I ended up tracing the outline of my hand with a 1 cm allowance I wanted tighter mittens rather than loose and the sweater I was recycling has a lot of give.
2. Trace or pin the template to the sweater and cut it out. I traced one side then flipped the template for the back reverse side then traced, cutting the body of the mitten as one piece and one seam. Thumbs were not part of this template. I added thumbs by draping material over my thumb.
- If I had to do it again I would trace the whole hand, thumb included then just flip the template. I did that with a second pair. Construction was easier and it didn’t feel different to wear.
3. Sew the mittens up. I hand-sewed these and it took a couple hours for each mitt. I used a sewing machine on a second pair and it went much faster.
- I first tried to felt the seams. That didn’t go well. It might have worked if I’d allowed more than a .5cm. The seam felting was wasted time.
Adding the Design
1. Put the mittens on the hand and mark out the part the design will fit into.
2. Trace the design onto the mitten.
- I redrew the design from the sketch on the mitt rather than trace. I used disappearing fabric marker which became a bit troublesome. As time passed, I had to redraw on the mitten. This happened several times so the design morphed a bit. Rather than getting upset, I just consider this transition part of the process.
3. Put the sponge inside the mitten and under where you will needle felt.
4. Needle felt the design. I followed the instructions from this website for how to felt a design onto a surface. I think their instructions were good. Rather than repeating them here, I recommend you check out the link.
1. Hand-wash the design using hot water and liquid soap. Gently rub the design to felt the fibers. You might want to wear rubber gloves if the water is hot but still be careful about burns.
2. Roll the mittens the mittens in a towel and allow to dry flat. Be gentle!
3. Check the design when dry and use the felting needle on loose parts or tidy up the design.
4. Repeat steps 1 and 2 if needed.
5. If the design is secure and you are happy with it embroider embellishments.
On these mittens I embroidered a mouth and sewed on two onyx beads for eyes.
These mittens might survive a machine wash, though I wouldn’t care to test it. I recommend gentle hand-washing and drying flat.
I’ve used the mittens for daily wear and bike rides and they worked well. When I made felted seams, the seams opened up during a bike ride. So far, the hand-sewing has been durable and no problems with the designs.
If you have any suggestions of feedback about making the design or construction process easier, I’d love to hear.
Thanks for taking the time to read the article. Hope you enjoyed the two posts.