Tuesday, March 9, 2021

A Dress for the Medical Doll


I recently corresponded with a mom of a little girl who owns one of my Medical Dolls. After our conversation, I reflected on the fact that the Doll's only garment is a hospital gown. Which kind of was the point: it was intended for a pretend-play scenario in a medical or healthcare setting. Further, when I was designing it for its original purpose  - a magazine tutorial - the editorial team and I were very selective with its final set of accessories to fulfill the space constraints of the publication. 

Revisiting the Dolls this past fortnight, however, made me wonder what they might wear when they'd recovered from their injuries or illnesses, or when the surgical procedures were over and they were done with physical and occupational therapy and ready to go home and get on with the rest of their lives. The Owie Dolls had a dress/shirt to which their hospital gowns reversed when they were all better; why should the Medical Dolls be subjected to perpetual treatment and neverending convalescence? It was, I felt, an important thing to think about, not only in the context of a make-believe rag doll but also in the light of what's been going on in the world in the last couple of years. And - let's be honest - winter has been especially onerous this year, with the restrictions and enforced isolation and general uncertainty of what spring and summer might bring. I know we've been told to live in the moment and focus on the present but if those are to have any virtue, it is in the context of a future that is worth looking forward to.

Hope, in other words. 

And so I thought I'd draft a dress for the Medical Doll - a Go-Home outfit, as it were. I worked on it in between other projects, so it had to be quick, without lining or zippers or buttons or anything fussy like that. From paper draft to final stitch, it came together within a day or two, and then it was packed and mailed off to this little girl and her doll. I took photos of the finished dress, though, and saved the paper patterns to share here on the blog. However, because I needed to get it in the post ASAP, I didn't photograph the individual steps, so this is going to be more of a deconstruction than a tutorial. Regardless, I hope you'll enjoy using it to sew dresses for your own Medical Dolls. 



As all my girl dolls have been sold, here is Patrick very kindly modeling the dress for you guys. It is a very simply-constructed garment: raglan sleeves on a straight bodice with a gathered skirt and a bound neckline.


This is meant to be sewn with knit fabric, for easy dressing and undressing. Even with the stretchiness of the fabric, the dress has to accommodate the doll's sizable head, so there's a slit opening at the back that's fastened with ties, 


all of which add up to a dress that's suitable for even beginners to make. 



First, download and print out the templates.






Click HERE to download the templates.

Note: There are no seam allowances (SA) on these templates. You'll have to add your own where needed. I recommend 1/4". 


Here are specific instructions for cutting and layout:

Use knit fabric. Do not use wovens, such as quilting cotton. This dress design is intended for fabric that is stretchy. 

2  Lay out all four templates (the bodices, the sleeve and placket) so that the fabric stretches sideways in the completed garment (i.e. horizontally across the body or arm).

3  Fold the fabric to double thickness with the stretch direction perpendicular to the fold and

(i)  place the edges of the Front and Back Bodice templates with the bent arrow along the fold of the fabric. Cut out one Front Bodice and one Back Bodice. Do not add SA along the folded edge. Do not add SA along the neckline. Add SA around all the other sides.

(ii) place the edges of the Sleeve template with the bent arrow along the fold of the fabric. Cut out two Sleeves. Do not add SA along the folded edge or the short neckline section. Add SA around all the other sides.

4  Cut out one Placket. Do not add SA around any of the edges - the final piece of fabric is exactly the same size as the template. Do not cut along the midline slit now.

5  Measure and cut out a rectangle of dimensions 21" x 5-1/2" for the skirt of the dress. The direction of greatest stretch of the fabric should be parallel to the long side of the rectangle.

6  Measure and cut out a strip of dimensions 20" x 1-1/4" for the binding of the neckline (and included ties). greatest stretch of the fabric should be parallel to the long side of the strip. You can use the same fabric as the rest of the dress, or ribbing.


Here follow the sewing instructions. A caveat: because we're using knit fabric, which doesn't fray, you do not need to finish any seams or edges. However, I've included instructions to finish edges and seams anyway because that just gives the whole garment a neater finish (especially if you have a serger).


1  First make the slit placket. 

Fold the Back Bodice along its center back line and press the midline so that it is visible. Fold the Placket along its midline and press so that it is visible. If desired, finish both long sides and curved bottom of the Placket (this step is optional because knit fabric doesn't fray, but it does give a neat finish. Do not finish the curved top of the Placket at this point - you'll bind it along with the neckline of the dress later). 

With RS together, align the midlines of the Back Bodice and Placket so that the curved top of the Placket is also aligned with the fabric edge of the Bodice's neckline. Stitch along the dashed line. Carefully cut along the dotted midline, then turn the Placket RS out through the slit so that the WS of the Placket and Back Bodice are now together. Press the slit opening. On the RS of the Placket, topstitch close to the edge of the fabric through both the Placket and Back Bodice. This will hold the Placket in place. 


2  Next, attach the sleeves.

Finish the hems of the sleeves. Fold the finished SA of the hem to the WS of the sleeve and sew the hem "in the flat".

With RS together, sew one sleeve to each shoulder of the Front Bodice along their raglan seam lines. With RS together, sew each shoulder of the Back Bodice to the 
other side of each corresponding sleeve along their raglan seam lines.


3  Then bind the neckline of the garment, and

It is easier to bind the neckline of the bodice before the side seams are completed so that the Front and Back bodice pieces and be spread apart. Locate the mid point of the 20" strip of binding and temporarily attach it to the mid point of the front neckline with pins or small clips. Pin the binding in place along the neckline on either side of this attachment point, working from the front of the garment toward the back. Beginning at one corner of the back Placket opening, attach the binding around the neckline, ending at the other corner of the back Placket opening. Continue to sew closed the free sections of the binding strip - these will be the ties. For additional instructions, here is a post containing methods of attaching bias tape and here is another detailing how to bind with knit fabric.


4  Sew the side seams.

With RS together, align and sew the side seams of the garment, continuing through the sleeve seam. The bodice is finished.


5  Finally, make and attach the skirt.

With RS together, sew the short ends of the 21" x 5-1/2" rectangle together to make a wide and short cylinder. Finish one edge of the circular opening, then fold and sew 1/4" of this finished edge to the WS of the fabric. This is the hem of the skirt.

At the other end of the cylinder, use the longest stitch length to sew two rows of basting stitch around the entire opening - the first row is about 1/4" from the edge of the fabric, and the second about 1/4" farther away from the first (i.e. the second row will be about 1/2" from the edge of the fabric). Leave trailing threads at both ends of both rows of stitches. 

On EITHER - but not both - the RS or WS of the fabric, carefully pull the trailing threads of both rows simultaneously to gather the fabric. Pulling both rows at the same time allows you to create even, parallel gathers. Make sure to gather from both ends of the rows, creating gathers toward the centers of the rows. Gather (and evenly distribute) the fabric until the circumference of the cylinder matches that of the bottom of the bodice. 

With RS together, sew the bottom of the bodice to the gathered edge of the skirt, stitching between the two rows of basting stitches (the two rows of basting stitches will keep the gathers in place so you can stitch over them without shifting).

Finish this seam.

The dress is finished.




 


Wednesday, February 24, 2021

I Finished Something

that I'd been sitting on for several years. 


Some Scandinavian-style embroidery on upholstery suede. These, along with the newer cuts of the same suede in different colors, will become shoulder bags at some point in the future. Which could then become a sewing pattern. Unless - erk - I sit on that, too. Regardless, it feels good to finish something!


Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Cardboard Popper - a tutorial by Kate


Hello friends! I hope everyone's surviving the winter and finding ways to enjoy the sun (when it turns up).

We've just come out of a cold snap here in Minnesota. Negative 20s and whatnot. Not pleasant at all, but we stayed in and did virtual school and tried not to let cabin fever make us too cranky. 

Kate has been making fidget toys. Too many Zoom classes at school, perhaps. Sitting still in a physical classroom is not nearly as odious as being hyperattentive on a videocalls for hours on end. Especially when there aren't any physical friends to sit next to, or when half the attendees' screens are dark and muted. Big hugs to all the kids out there who are showing up anyway, and doing their darnest to make it work. We see you, we're proud of you and we can only imagine how tough it is. 

Anyway, Kate spent several afternoons making an assortment of things to play with. Some were inspired by pre-existent toys she'd seen online. This one, the Simpl Dimpl, was actually an infant toy she discovered last summer when we met up with her baby cousin for the first time. It's curiously addictive to play with!

This popper is Kate's cardboard and paper version. She named it after the original toy and, as you can see in the photo below, it's version 2.0, the more robust iteration of her prototype.


Here it is in Kate's hands, to give you an idea of its size.


And here are a couple of videos of Kate popping the colored dimples.



There are so much I love about this design. The circles, foremost, because they're round and all those colors make the whole thing look like a happy artist's palette. And also because it's brilliant in its simplicity. Finally, it's cardboard. And my kid combined art and Physics, using stuff around the house to invent a workable version of a commercial plastic thing. 

Too good not to share with others, I thought. After all, who's to say there aren't other kids with time on their hands, going slightly bonkers at virtual school, missing friends and all the other good things from the World Before?

Shall we make a popper together? Here is Kate's tutorial - she made this Two- Dimple popper for ikatbag and walked me through the steps. I watched her, took photos and asked a lot of annoying questions.


We made a template for you to download if you're disinclined to freehand the shapes the way she did for her prototypes. There are two frame templates:  "The Two" and "The Eight". The Dimple template will work with either frame.





Click HERE to download the template.


This is what you'll need for "The Two":

  • 1 x "The Two" frame in corrugated cardboard (we cut ours with the flutes parallel to the longer axis of the frame)
  • 2 x "The Two" frame in white card stock 
  • Narrow strips of the same white card stock to cover the edge of the project
  • 2 x Dimple circles in paper or card stock. We found that while thick printer paper gives the most satisfying "pop", construction paper and card stock also work.


plus (not shown in the photo above):

  • clear tape wide enough to cover the Dimple circles (packing tape works well)
  • high temperature hot glue gun
  • scissors and X-acto or craft utility knife

Here's a tip for cutting out the frame: cut out the circles inside the frame first, and then cut around the outline of the frame - cutting something out of big shape is easier than cutting it out of a smaller shape because the bigger shape is more stable and moves less. This is true for both the card stock and cardboard, but is especially helpful for the cardboard. Here's why: when cutting stuff out of card stock, most people work on a cutting mat (or stack of newspapers) and use a slicing action to cut through the card stock with one hand while holding the card stock flat and stationary with the other hand. The thickness of the corrugated cardboard requires a sawing motion to get the blade all the way through the hollow flutes to the underside, and most people will hold the piece of cardboard away from a cutting surface to allow the blade to move freely in and out. If you'd cut around the outline of the frame first, there'd have been a lot less cardboard to hold on to while you were sawing out the inner circles - not only is this less stable, there's also a higher likelihood of the frame itself bending or being overly manipulated by the time the circles are liberated from it.


Let's begin! 

First, cover both sides of the circles with clear tape,


leaving enough tape around the edges


to "bubble cut" a border of at least 1/8" around them.


You don't have to do this beforehand, but we cut a slit (see next step) as a visual guide so we didn't have to draw on the plastic later.


You can eyeball this next step without actually drawing the radial lines (like in the pink circle above), but we included them in the green circle for clarity.


Cut along ONE of the lines to make a slit,


then bring that cut edge to meet the second line, overlapping the segment between them.


This should give you a very wide and shallow cone. 


Tape the edge down with a small piece of clear tape.


Invert the cone and flip it over. The cut edge will pop out on the underside. Tape that down with a piece of clear tape as well.


Make two of these shallow cones.


Fire up the hot glue gun. On one side of the cardboard frame, apply glue over the entire surface.


Stick on one of the white card stock frames. This side is finished.


Flip the frame over. On the other, bare side of the cardboard, apply glue around one of the inner circles


and stick one of the cones over the circular hole. It'll be mostly the clear 1/8" border around the paper that gets glued on.


Repeat this to stick the second cone over the other circular hole.


Now apply glue to the rest of the frame around the cones,


and stick the other card stock frame on. 


Here's a photo of Kate using the stub of a marker to press the card stock more firmly to the cardboard surface, because it was too hot to use her fingers.


You can declare the popper finished at this point, or you could keep going and cover the bare edge, too (we did!)


Apply hot glue to the edge in a short section at a time, and glue on the narrow strip of card stock, pressing it carefully (here's the fingertips-saving marker again) to ensure it adheres fully.


Here's the completed popper: The Two.


The dimples should pop in and out easily.



Kate made "The Eight" the same way, except with Dimples in eight colors. 


Happy making!



Monday, January 25, 2021

Mittens for Grownups



Hello friends! 

I made some mittens this past Christmas. Partly because I myself needed a pair of decently warm ones that weren't of the puffy utilitarian winter-sport variety, but also partly to see if I could still . . . y'know . . . sew. 

2020 was a weird year. So was 2019, for that matter. I know a pandemic happened. I know there was tragic civil unrest and a momentous national election. I know that life, as we once knew it, was canceled (in a manner of speaking). I was working through losing my dad and my aunt and didn't have a lot of emotional energy left over to process much else. That is not to say I walked around in a daze. Um . . . okay, that's not entirely true. 2019 was my daze year. 2020 was the year I was angry at everything, including nameless people who whined that they couldn't go out to get a Starbucks latte because The Government Made Them Stay Indoors.

It's a mixed bag, grieving alongside the entire world. Initially, it was all relief: I and my newly-misshapen family could finally stop feeling like the mopey outcasts in a shinyhappy universe. Because suddenly, every other newsfeed article was about grief! Everyone - from experts to politicians to the donut shop owner down the street - was talking unashamedly about death! And people were even waxing philosophical about the specific horror of losing loved ones from miles away and not being able to say goodbye. I was no longer invisible! It was all hugely validating in a giant-support-group sort of way.

Then, inexplicably, it began to feel a tad annoying. My very personal grief, it seemed, was dissolving in the vast sea of generic global tragedy. On top of losing two particular people who were cornerstones of my identity as a daughter, niece, child-turned-adult, parent and immigrant, with each dire statistic in the news, I was now also losing the unique experience of adjusting to a sane world without them in it. No, I groused at the headlines, losing the right to work out at a gym or buy groceries in person or hop on a cruise to nowhere are not the same as never again hearing my aunt call my name or seeing my Dad grinning at the airport when we stepped off the plane and onto home soil.

Of course they aren't. But I had to work through that, too - the annoyance, the disgruntledness, the cynicism, the emotional burnout from fighting the temptation to compare my lot to that of any random person on the planet. There was a boatload of self-pity in there, too - anger wears many cunning disguises when it walks the streets of loss. In the handbook we use in my grief support group, there is a near-comprehensive checklist of emotions we're encouraged to revisit often. The goal is to learn that we're always in flux as we mourn - we never really arrive, but we're not the same person we were when we began, either. We use that checklist to measure how far forward we've come (some people might call this progress but that might be implying that grief is a state of regress from which we need rehabilitation, which of course it isn't), and how wide our hearts are expanding to accommodate and transform the pain.  And that's the point, isn't it? Loss - whatever that may mean to you - is your own, and you get to process it however you need to, because no one will - or can - do it for you. 

It was particularly interesting to discover that my motivation to sew (or make, in general) was another, albeit subconscious, calibration for my grief. I didn't write or sew or make a cardboard thing for a very long time after my Dad died. And when I eventually did sew again, it was a Menagerie critter or two at the request of my aunt, who herself was dying. It was at once intimate and desperate, because I was in a kind of purgatory bookended by losses, one traumatic in how it blindsided me, the other looming in slow-mo technicolor dread. I knew of other bereaved people who "threw themselves" into new projects and new crafts, and this filled me with awe and slight envy; if I threw myself into anything at all in those early months, it was grief literature and the company of other broken souls united in our wont to discuss maudlin issues with relish. Please try to sew something, I'd tried convincing myself so many times, it'll be good for you, and might even feel nice. Wouldn't it be nice to feel nice?

Incredibly, I survived the first Christmas. Seven months after losing Dad and anticipating a trip to Singapore on which I would see Auntie Laura for the last time, I painted wooden trees, because it was all I could manage by way of Advent participation. And I made airplane bags for the kids. And behold - even though it absolutely gutted me, ironically, it did feel nice to sew again. 

Then we went hurtling into the pandemic, head over heels, with nary the chance to stop for breath - literally. What a year. I took so many steps backward, all while under the impression that I was making impressive headway grief-wise. And as the year petered off into more restrictions and apocalyptic holiday forecasts and such (whee), Christmas arrived again. Do you remember? It seemed like ages ago, didn't it - the year 2020?

Yet, Christmas 2020 felt different than Christmas 2019. Lighter somehow. Not as viscous against forward momentum. Like I'd survived something and miraculously not been utterly annihilated.

Well, let's try that sewing thing again, I thought. Once upon a time, you made stuff simply for the hedonistic pleasure of it. Shall this be an experiment - you like experiments, don't you - to see if you can sew something new again?

 And that, friends, is whence came these mittens. 


Two days before the gifting-deadline, I made mittens for myself (prototype, therefore iffy) and for my mother-in-law and sisters-in law.


I cut the outer layers from wool fabrics that were a long-ago gift (you may recognize them in some skirts in these old posts here, here and here).


The mittens are lined with fleece and faux fur. 



which make for pretty cuffs when folded up.


There is a hidden elasticized panel in the lining at the wrist to help the mitten stay on securely while allowing it to slide over the width of your hand. You can't see any gathers on the outside, which means the outer wool fabric gets to stay sleek-looking without bunching. 


This pair has a faux fur lining.


These next two are lined with luxe fleece (I'll talk about this later in this post).



and this one is lined with regular printed fleece (like the anti-pill or blizzard sort you can find in stores like Jo-Ann and Hobby Lobby).


This thumb seam took some patience to piece together, but it does allow the thumb to rest at a more natural angle than in these earlier mittens I've made for my kids. I love the fit and wider range of motion.


Anyway, I thought you might like to make your own mittens as well (what else is there to do in January in these parts, anyway?), so here's a tutorial. 

Let's talk about fabrics first.

As mentioned earlier, I used wool for the outer layer of the mitten, mostly of the tightly-woven melton variety. I've heard of folks repurposing old sweaters, which is a fabulous idea. Bear in mind, though, that because sweater yarn is much more loosely woven/knit together, the insulation factor is compromised somewhat. Which is fine if you're in the less frigid parts of the world but if you're living close to the poles like I am, and want to cut up a cable-knit jumper, I'd strongly recommend bulking up on the lining or adding Thinsulate or something.  Repurposing wool coats (commonly melton) might be another good upcycling option. 

The lining layers in my mittens were made from many different fabrics, but all chosen with the goal of comfort against the skin. My favorite warmth-wise, is luxe fleece. 


It's available in fabric stores like JoAnn in a wide variety of solid colors and prints, and costs about twice the price of regular blizzard/anti-pill fleece.


It's also thicker and plusher than blizzard and ant-pill: here is a comparison of the lighter-colored luxe below the darker-colored blizzard.


Polar fleece is another kind of fleece to use in this project. I haven't seen it at stores like Joann, unfortunately, but our local SR Harris carries the Polartec brand. Polartec 100 is thinner and feels quite like the anti-pill and blizzard. 


The 200 is equivalent to the luxe fleece in thickness. Anything higher than the 200 would be difficult to sew in this project.


In a pinch, you could even try that luxe or polar fleece in both outer and lining layers. I wouldn't recommend microfleece or minky or any of the cuddle fabrics. They're soft and lovely but not anywhere as warm. 

Feel free to mix-and-match your outer and lining fabrics, not just in color scheme but also in insulation function. For instance, pair a thicker wool outer fabric with a lighter fleece lining and a thinner wool fabric with a luxe fleece lining. I've been using my wool melton-outer, blizzard-fleece-lining mittens since December in typical Minnesota winter temperatures and they've felt perfect.

For a pair of mittens, you'll need about 1/3 yard of each fabric (outer and lining), as well as 7" of 1/4"-wide elastic and some scrap knit fabric (dimensions below). 


PREPARATION:

First, download the templates by clicking HERE.



I've included two sizes. Size 1 is a little smaller. I drafted it for my hand - here are the dimensions below. If your hand is roughly this size, use Size 1. If it's bigger, use Size 2. 


Second, note that there are NO SEAM ALLOWANCES (SA) IN THE TEMPLATES. The solid lines are the STITCHING lines. Remember to add your own SA around all the solid edges of the templates. I recommend 1/4" unless your fabric frays easily, in which case I'd use 3/8". 

Third, you'll need to assemble the BACK upper and BACK lower template pieces into a single template pieces, which we shall call the BACK template piece. To do this, align the dashed lines so that the respective end points (one is a star and the other is a cross in a circle) match. Tape the two template pieces together along this dashed line. Use this taped-together template to cut out the BACK of the mitten.

Fourth, lay out the templates and cut out the fabric pieces. I've omitted grain-direction arrows from the template pieces because they're already so busy with the other info on them. Just imagine that your finished mitten should stretch horizontally (across your palm between thumb and pinkie) rather than vertically (between wrist and fingertips) and orient your template pieces with the grain of the fabric accordingly. 

You'll want to cut out two sets in an outer fabric and two sets in the lining fabric. One set in each fabric will be the mirror image of the other i.e.
* Set 1 in the outer fabric is the mirror image of Set 2 in the outer fabric and
* Set 1 in the lining fabric is the mirror image of Set 2 in the lining fabric.

In addition to the template pieces, you'll need 
  • Two strips of soft stretchy fabric (I recommend knit of some kind - an old T-shirt is perfect) each of dimensions 1" x 6" (SA included)
  • Two pieces of 1/4"-wide elastic, each 3-1/2" long (SA included).

In the photo below is ONE set of lining fabric pieces, plus the knit strip and the piece of elastic. They are hideously multicolored for visibility in this tutorial. Yours of course will all have been cut from the same piece of non-hideous fabric. All these pieces will make the mitten lining of one hand. The elastic and knit strip are only needed for the mitten lining layers - you won't need elastic or the knit strip for the outer mitten layers. I'll remind you of this later.


Let's get started!

STAGE 1: Attach the THUMB front
This is the fiddliest part of the entire construction process. It requires some serious fabric acrobatics but be patient and remind yourself that the rest of the mitten will be a piece of cake compared to this bit.


Step 1
Familiarize yourself with the three points B, C and D on the FRONT upper and THUMB front. Actually mark these points on the WS of the fabric if necessary. Visualize how the respective points are supposed to match up. This is not instinctive - it will feel more natural to want to attach B on the THUMB front to point A on the FRONT upper (deliberately not labeled in the photo below for this reason). 
  

Step 2 
Place together the RS of the FRONT upper and THUMB front pieces and align their respective edges BC as shown. Starting at the edge of the fabric at B, sew from B to C. Stop at point C (the actual point C as indicated on the templates, not the edge of the fabric.


sorta like this (ish). My BC line is a bit shorter than it should be.


Step 3
Now visualize that you'll be next sewing from C to D. On only the THUMB front piece, snip almost all the way through the SA at point C to allow you to spread the fabric as shown. On my piece of fabric, this snipped SA looks like a wonky "M" - that isn't typical, and I have no idea why it turned out thus. Yours should look like a single cut. The important thing is the SA should split apart almost all the way to the actual sewing-point C.


Step 4
With RS still together, rotate the THUMB front piece to allow you to align the edge CD with the respective edge CD of the FRONT upper piece. Sew from C to D.



Step 5
Along the SA of the edge DE of the FRONT upper piece, make shallow snips as shown. This will allow you to align this concave edge along the corresponding edge DE (which is inconveniently convex) of the THUMB front piece.


Step 6
Flip the entire project upside down now so that the WS of the FRONT upper piece is lying face up on your work surface. In this orientation, it is easier to align and sew the respective edges DE of both pieces.


Match the respective points E of the two pieces.


Working with the FRONT upper piece on top and the THUMB front piece underneath, sew from D to E (or E to D, whichever is easier).


You can see how the snipped SA of the FRONT upper layer spreads apart around the convex edge of the THUMB front piece underneath.


You should now have something that looks like this. Go ahead and trim/notch/grade the SA at points C and D to allow these seams to lie as flat as possible. I skipped pressing the seams in this fleece lining ensemble, but if you're using wool for your outer layer, you'll want to steam-press these same seams so they lie flat.


This is the RS. Hurrah! The fiddliest part is done! And here's that point A finally - we're going to be using in the next steps.


STAGE 2: Finish the FRONT

Step 7
Smooth out the bunched up THUMB front piece so that it lies flat(tish) like so.


You're going to attach the THUMB back piece to it next. Locate point A on the THUMB back piece.


Place the RS of both THUMB pieces together, align their edges and points A and F.


Beginning at the edge of the fabric at point A, sew from A around the thumb to the edge of the fabric at F.


Here's what it looks like on the THUMB back side.


Step 8 
Spread apart the two layers of the thumb so that you can access points G, F and E as shown. Orient the FRONT lower piece so that points G and E (and F, too, although that's not shown in the photo below) are lying adjacent to the respective points on the FRONT upper.


Flip the FRONT lower upside down and onto the FRONT upper piece so that their RS are together and the respective points G, F and E match up. Sew across the edge of the fabric through G, F and E as shown to connect the FRONT upper and lower pieces together.


The front of the mitten is finished! Set it aside.



STAGE 3: Prepare the BACK of the mitten lining
Note: Skip this entire stage when you make the outer mitten layer for each hand - remember that you'll only need the elastic bit for the lining layer.

Step 9
Lay the BACK piece WS up on your work surface. Mark or notch the points X and Y. You're going to attach the piece of elastic along the line XY, stretching it so that it spans the entire width XW. You'll also be encasing that elastic piece in a fabric channel. We'll be sewing both the elastic and the knit fabric channel in the same step, which can be hard to visualize, so I'll show you the layout layer-by-layer.


This is where knit fabric strip goes. It needs to lie on the BACK piece so that the long midline of the knit fabric strip lies along the line XY. You're going to align the end of the knit fabric strip with the edge of the BACK piece at X. Because the knit strip is longer than the width of the bitten, there'll be surplus knit fabric at Y. Remember this layout. Now remove the knit fabric strip so we can position the elastic.


This is where the elastic goes. Lay the piece of elastic along XY with 1/4" of its end extending beyond the edge of the BACK piece at Y.


Here's a closer-up:

Now carefully position the knit strip over it as demonstrated earlier. Trim off the surplus knit fabric at Y.


Step 10
Now carefully transfer everything to your sewing machine. Starting at the X end of the knit fabric strip, using a 1/4" SA to sew along the long edge of the knit strip toward Y. At about 1/8" from the edge of the fabric near Y, stop and turn the project 90 degrees and sew along the short side of the knit fabric strip, stitching over the end of the elastic at Y. Turn the project 90 degrees again and, using a 1/4" SA, sew along the other long edge of the knit strip back toward X.


I stopped partway to take this next photo to help you visualize what we're doing. So far, we've sewn 2-1/2 of the 4 sides of the fabric strip, and attached one end of the elastic. 


Let's keep going - fold back the knit strip to expose the free end of the elastic. Yes, I know - my needle should be in the down position (way to break sewing rules!) 


Grab that elastic end and pull it toward X. Everything behind your presser foot is going to bunch up in protest.


Keep sewing toward X, pulling more of the elastic and holding it in place, until you're able to pull the end 1/4" beyond the end of the fabric at X like you did at Y at the start of this step. 


Here is the end of the elastic folded back to show you that while it's protruding 1/4" beyond the fabric edge, it's still positioned exactly over point X. Turn the project another 90 degrees and sew the fourth side of the knit strip, stitching over this end of the elastic.


If you've done it right, the mitten back should look like this. This elasticized section which, incidentally, will be invisible on the outside of the completed mitten, is what will discreetly hug your wrist so as to keep the mitten on your hand.



STAGE 4: Connect the FRONT and BACK


Stage 11
Place together the RS of the FRONT and BACK pieces.


Sew around the long sides and curved top of the mitten. Do not sew along the short straight bottom of the mitten. Leave a 2"-3" gap along one of the long sides for turning out later. You'll only need this gap in the lining of the mitten; when you make the outer mitten, sew all the way around and don't leave a gap at all. One of my kids is pulling the elastic taut so the edges of all the fabric layers align neatly for this photo.


Here's a short videoclip showing the mitten being modeled at this stage.




STAGE 5: Make the outer mitten
Repeat Steps 1- 11 to make the outer mitten for the same hand, with the following differences:
  • All the outer mitten pieces are the mirror image of the respective mitten lining pieces for the same hand.
  • Omit STAGE 3 for the outer mitten and proceed directly to STAGE 4 (the outer mitten doesn't have an elastic channel).
  • Omit the 2"-3" gap in Step 11 (the outer mitten doesn't require a gap).


STAGE 6: Attach the outer mitten and mitten lining

Step 12
Turn the lining WS out and insert the outer mitten into the lining so that their RS are together and the thumbs are nested.


Step 13
Align the respective side seams


and sew the outer and lining layers together around the bottom opening.


Step 14
Carefully pull out the outer mitten through the gap in the mitten lining, then turn the entire project RS out.


Sew the gap closed. Ladder stitch is recommended but you could also use the sewing machine.


The mitten is finished. Push the lining back into the outer mitten and fold up the cuff. The hidden elasticized section should keep the wrist area snugly fitted when the mitten is worn. This is one completed mitten. You'll need to repeat this entire construction process to make the other mitten of the pair - remember to cut out all the pieces of the second mitten in the mirror image of those of this first mitten.



It feels wonderful to write and share this tutorial with you. Happy mitten-making and stay warm and safe!