Bernie Sanders has single-handedly made recycled sweater mittens a HUGE hit. If you have not seen the photos yet, run don't walk to Google it. It's hilarious. Not only did Bernie go viral but so did those mittens and now, secondhand and thrift stores can't keep up! I just love that. So if you are looking for mittens made out of old sweaters, look no further.
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Benefits of buying Recycled Sweater Mittens
There are so many benefits to buying secondhand clothing. With fast fashion producing more than 100 billion items of clothing every year and with 20% of that going unsold, we need to find ways to break this unsustainable fashion trend.
It extends the life of your clothes
There is nothing more sustainable than taking one item and turning it into another one. If you have old clothing lying around, making a pair of mittens out of old sweaters is just one idea. And it keeps clothing to of landfill. Textiles are typically not accepted in most recycling facilities.
Saves you money
Let's face it. Thrifting is fun! You can find higher-end clothing at lower prices and if you are turning a sweater into a pair of gloves you don't have to buy a new pair and if you have kids it's even better because they grow out of things so fast. Let's put some of that green back in your wallet.
It promotes sustainable fashion
A sustainable wardrobe is one that is filled with secondhand items, upcycled items and clothing made from ethical brands.
You can create on-of a-kind pieces
This is probably one of my favourite reasons. Those recycled sweater mittens will be one-of-a-kind and people will ask you about them! I mean look at Bernie. The woman who made his gloves got over twelve thousand requests for them!
Best Recycled Sweater Mittens
Judy has the cutest collection of handmade winter woollies. Her recycled wool sweater mittens are made from two sweaters that she felted before cutting. Mittens can be a bit bulky, so if you are looking for less bulk, these are them!
Merino wool is a natural fibre, which is one of the reasons why it's considered to be a more sustainable fabric.
This cute little shop is run by Judy who hails from my hometown of Toronto. Judy fell in love with sewing early on thanks to her granny who used to sew her dresses. After losing her job in 2012 she found the world of upcycling and her passion doe sewing 'exploded'. She says she loved to turn old things into new ones and has made pillowcases into dresses, a man's shirt into kids' pants and much more.
She says "One of the things I love most about sewing this way is searching through thrift shops for the next item I can deconstruct. I love using vintage fabrics, giving them new life." LOVE IT!
Located in beautiful British Columbia this little shop is owned by Dianne who loves to go on treasure hunts in thrift shops to find pure wool sweaters that can be turned into gorgeous handmade recycled sweater mittens. She chooses from cashmere, lambswool, angora and Shetland wool and gives them all a new life, keeping with her zero-waste philosophy.
The mittens are lined with flannel and a decorative button is added. She hand stitches each seam twice! Which ensures the wool and flannel will stay securely inside the seam line
All the scraps that are leftover from the sweaters are turned in wool dryer balls!
Beautiful wool and tweed suit jackets and long coats are selectively purchased, laundered and are ready for a new life into unique wool and tartan Christmas stockings.
These are the closest I could find to Bernie's recycled sweater mittens.
I have a pair of these that I love. I bought them at an Etsy event years ago. They have lasted so long.
Located in Oakville Ontario, Owner Amy French designs, hand-cuts weaves and sews all of her creations using leftover fleece.
She is inspired by classic herringbone weave patterns and has really brought that to life in her designs. Choose from recycled sweater mittens with fleece lining, scarves, cowls, fingerless gloves and leg warmers - hello '80s! All of her designs are so cute and so versatile. It's hard to choose just one. The "convertible" scarves can be worn in so many ways, helping to make sure your wardrobe is even more fun.
Based in Hamilton, Ontario maker Lindsey takes "thrift store sweaters into warm woolly mittens!"
All of the things you see in her shop are crafted and designed by hand using woollen sweaters that she finds from thrift shops across Southern Ontario. She says she can't get enough. And I can't get enough of her cute designs. The mittens are lined with fleece for extra warmth, because... well...Canadian winters! LOL!
Some of her recycled mittens have hand embroidery on the top, making them even more appealing. I mean how cute are these!?
All the mittens are lined with fleece that comes from discarded blankets and throws. Giving each pair of gloves such a unique look. All of her selections are playful, colourful and would make a great gift, even for yourself. LOL!
Located in Oakville Ontario and run by Olga and Ninna who use recycled wool in all of their handmade recycled mittens. The reclaimed wool they use has a softer side to reduce itching.
These gloves are built to last. Wool is known for quality and durability and can last up to 10 years whereas synthetics might make it 2-3 years depending on wear of course. They talk about the many benefits of recycled wool and say that "surveys show that consumers use woollen products longer between washes due to wool’s natural ability to keep itself clean or be refreshed by airing, which reduces the energy and water impacts of woollen garments."
They also make the cutest bum warmers, quilts, scarves and reusable masks!
How do you make recycled mittens out of sweaters?
It's pretty easy you need old sweaters, some fleece too, a pair of scissors, a needle and thread, a good pattern and a sewing machine. This video is a really great tutorial on how to do it right!
There are so many options to choose from and you can see from these small collections I have shown you that there are so many people making and reusing things that would otherwise be discarded and you have to go to love that. And hey, need some cozy socks to pair with our mittens. check this out.
Making a choice to live more mindfully means you are buying less and if you are choosing to buy you are at least looking at secondhand as a really great alternative! I'd love to hear from you, what's your favourite secondhand hand buy?
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