Introduction: ARCTIC VORTEX MITTS (Leather, Fiberfill and Fleece)

About: writer, artist, always somebody's mum, butter churner, spinner, painter, big-phat CBC 1 radio fan

It is myth that the Inuit have more than a hundred words for snow. It is a fact that, when the snow is blowing and the temperature plummets, there is no end of swear words for the cold. When you venture outdoors, you must listen carefully for that soft "thud" that means some exposed portion of your person has frozen solid and dropped into a snowbank.

This. Is. WINTER. It must be negotiated properly if one wants to have enough fingers left in the summer to apply the required amount of sunscreen to keep from burning to a crisp! With triple layerARCTIC VORTEX MITTS one can manage the Cold Weather Warnings and Wind Chills in COMFORT and STYLE!

Step 1: Tools and Materials

  • approximately 2sq feet/ 60sq cm each of :1-2 ounce leather, "arctic" fleece, polyester fiber-fill type coat lining
  • sewing machine (you could do it by hand, but a sewing machine is recommended)
  • *ideally* a leather foot ("walking" foot) attachment for your sewing machine, leather needles
  • scissors, thread, needles, pins, measuring tape, spring clips/ bulldog clips, gel pen

MY PATTERN fits a medium to large woman's hand ( see photo) 7 1/4 inches circumference around the "base" of the fingers, not including the thumb. You can scale up for a larger hand, down for a smaller one BUT I recommend sewing a prototype mitten from scrap material before you cut the expensive stuff. I have longer than average fingers. This is reflected in the pattern. You may want to adjust for this.

download pattern here

Step 2: Notes on Cutting

If you are experienced in sewing from patterns, you can probably skip this step. Read through if you are less confident, so you don't end up with an inside out/backwards situation.


  • you need a front and a back and a thumb for each mitt
  • be sure to cut the "right side" of the fabric is where you want it; this may be overstating, but you will need a LEFT palm, thumb and back - and- a RIGHT palm, thumb and back
  • CUT THE OUTERMOST LAYER, the leather, FIRST. To cut the leather, it may not work to fold it in half, right sides together and cut two pieces at once. Cut out your downloaded pattern on the dash line - the outermost marking, trace around the pattern with a gel pen (1 pattern side up/ 1 pattern side down for each piece) and cut out on the gel pen line. DO NOT PIN the leather - that will create permanent holes.
  • For the mid lining and inner lining, you can cut 2 pieces ( 1 left, 1 right) at the same time. To do this, fold your fabric RIGHT SIDES TOGETHER, place the pattern printed side up on the fabric, pin in place, cut out.

  • in cutting out the thumb space, cut INTO the pattern NOT outside exterior edge as around the rest of the pattern. If you cut outside the pattern, rather than under it, you will make the thumb hole SMALLER. You want to make it larger. See markings on pattern.You may need to either draw the cutting line on the outer and mid layer on your fabric to preserve the pattern to correctly cut the inner most layer, or, use tracing paper to copy the lines, or print more than one pattern.

  • the thumb is NOT symmetrical - it is a little larger on the palm side

Step 3: Cutting Out

NOTE: the downloaded pattern provided will look slightly different from the prototype in the photographs

Keeping in mind the pointers in the previous step, simply follow the directions on the pattern.

The easiest way to cut, is to cut the left and right largest, outer layer (red leather, for me) first, followed by the left and right mid layer (fiber-fill lining) second, and, finally, the left and right closest fitting inner layer (arctic fleece) last.

Be sure to cut a small notch at the top of the thumb as indicated in the pattern. The depth of the cut should equall the seam allowance: 3-4mm or 3/16"

Where ever a seam curves, the seam allowance must be clipped AFTER sewing to EASE the stitching and allow for a smooth, flat seam, free of pulls and bunches.

Step 4: Sewing and Assembly 1


LEFT MITT-- with RIGHT SIDES (the "good" side or "outside" of the fabric) TOGETHER (facing each other) sew a BACK and PALM together. DO NOT sew across the "bottom", the wrist opening OR the thumb opening. Leave a small gap open on either side of thumb opening as indicated on the pattern and in the photographs above. Lock-stitch or knot beginning and end of seam to prevent them coming undone. LEAVE INSIDE OUT.

Fold left THUMB in half. Notch will be at the upper tip of the thumb. The base of the thumb is NOT symmetrical. The palm side of the thumb is slightly larger, so that the thumb of the mitten will be in the natural position, not sticking straight out the side. SEW THUMB from the notch to the end of the small curve, as indicated on the pattern. As in the seam of the mitten, leave a small part of the thumb seam un-stitched. Again, lock/knot seam. Clip curved edge of seam of thumb.



Put the right side out sewn thumb on your thumb (see photo above) matching seams and edges and stuff it in the open thumb space. This will result in the main bod of the mitt and the thumb in a "right sides together" position. Pin or baste the thumb in place. This may take a bit of fussing and, possibly, clipping edges to ease. Be sure to sew inside the clipped edges.

Once you have sewn the thumb in place (locking and knotting the seam) you can turn the entire mitten RIGHT SIDE OUT and wear it alone. Or, leave it IN SIDE OUT to wear as an inner layer. Hem or finish wrist edge if desired.

REPEAT for RIGHT mitt, inner arctic fleece layer

Step 5: Sewing and Assembly 2

Continue sewing MID LAYER (fiber fill lining) and OUTER LAYER (leather) as described for INNER LAYER (arctic fleece).

If you do not have the capacity to sew leather with a machine, a small, close hand stitch will work nicely. AGAIN, to not pin leather in place as the pins will create unwanted holes. You can use small bulldog clips or paper clamps to hold the leather together to keep your work neat and tidy.

You may wear each layer of your ARCTIC VORTEX MITTSalone or in combination.

The most comfortable and aesthetic way to wear your mitts - all three layers together - is to have the fleece INSIDE OUT on your hand, so you "feel" only smooth seams, the mid-layer RIGHT SIDE OUT, so the exterior of the lining is smooth and seam-edge-free, allowing the RIGHT SIDE OUT leather mitten to slip on easily.

But if it a slightly less cold day, you may just want to wear the arctic fleece, RIGHT SIDE OUT. Or, maybe the the fiber fill lining and fleece together - go for it.

Walk that dog! Go skating! Shovel your sidewalk! Whatever you do outside you can now do with your toasty warm hands in your ARCTIC VORTEX MITTS!

Step 6: Silicone

a good spray of silicone will help your leather outer layer be water resistent

Sew Warm Contest 2018

Participated in the
Sew Warm Contest 2018