Skip Navigation Website Accessibility

How to Make the Inauguration Mittens

On January 20th, Bernie Sanders attended the 2021 presidential inauguration sporting unique mittens that caught everyone’s attention. Made from repurposing old sweaters, the mittens are being replicated by knitters all around the world.


It’s not every day that the knitting world gets so much attention from the media. If you have been keeping up with social media, you have probably seen many photoshopped images of Senator Bernie Sanders wearing his hand-knit mittens. These mittens have turned into an internet sensation. People were also able to track down the Vermont schoolteacher who created them, Jen Ellis. As part of a side business, Jen would upcycle wool clothing into mittens and sell them at craft fairs or give them to others as gifts.


Lucky for you, we were able to find a free Ravelry pattern published by a fellow knitter who reverse-engineered the mittens. If you’re stuck at home and feeling up to the challenge, you can give the knitting pattern a try. If you want to recreate a more unique version of Bernie’s pair at a beginner level, keep reading along.


Use Old Knitwear

As previously mentioned, Bernie’s mittens were not completely hand-made from scratch. They use repurposed wool sweaters to achieve a hand-knit look. Why do the extra work? If you have knitwear lying around that you’re not getting much use out of, recycle it and use it to create your unique pair of mittens.


Pro tip: If you plan on gifting a pair to loved ones up North, using machine-washed sweaters that shrunk will make for denser knitwear. This kind will trap more warmth and is highly recommended for cold winters.


Make the Lining

Bernie’s mittens are lined with fleece. If you need the extra layer, start by tracing a mitten shape around your hand on a sheet of paper. Cut that out and use it as a guide to cut the fabric of your choice. You will need to cut two for each hand and sew them together while leaving an opening for the hands.


Make the Outer Layer

The next step is to repeat the previous process, but with the outer layer of your choice. Make sure you trace around your hand while wearing the lining layer to make this cutout of the outer layer slightly bigger.


Stitch Both Layers Together

Place your outer layer inside the lining layer so that the mitten is inside out and begin sewing it together. We recommend using thick cotton once you get to sewing both layers together at the cuff. Once it’s all sewn, you will have a unique pair of famous Bernie mittens!


Sheep Thrills Knitting in Lauderhill, FL

If you’re a South Florida local, Sheep Thrills offers private lessons for knitting, crocheting, or weaving during open hours. Call us today at 954-742-1908 to schedule your private lesson. You can also visit our website to shop online for the materials you need and find more information about our safety guidelines for shopping in-store.