Newborn Mittens With A French Seam (and optional ruffle cuff)

I recently sold a baby flannel pajama set on Etsy, and the buyer was so nice and sweet that I wanted to do something special for her - so I used some of the scraps to make some matching baby mittens.  (The kind to prevent scratching, not for cold weather.)  I was kind of rushed as people are this time of year, I had about 7 different projects going at once and the baby's first birthday party to plan.  I quickly researched some different ways of making newborn mittens -- most had a lining and that you sew together at the cuff and then turn it out through a hole in the lining.  Some recommended using elastic thread in the bobbin instead of threading elastic through a casing, but I haven't had good luck with that technique yet.  Then I found this other cool pattern but I didn't have any stretch knits to do the cuff.  So I whipped out this little do-hickey on my own and it came out pretty dang good!  It's different than anything I found online, and it's just one layer with a French seam so it's soft and smooth inside for baby's little fingers and nails.  This would be a great way to learn French seams too!

All you need is:

  • 2 pieces of flannel 4x9 inches
  • 1/4 inch elastic (do not cut to size, leave it on the roll)
  • coordinating thread - duh!
To start, we are going to sew the elastic directly to the wrong side of the fabric along one of the long sides, about 3/4' to 1" from the edge.  I pin it in place to get started, then just eyeball it or use your presser foot as a guide as you sew.  Do not cut the elastic from the roll yet!

Select your elastic stitch if you have it (#3 in the photo), or zigzag stitch.

Get your piece under the presser foot and put the needle down to secure the elastic, then you can remove your pin.  You will need to stretch/pull the elastic as you sew, and to keep from yanking it right out from the presser foot, you'll need to pull tightly on the threads behind the presser foot as well.  Once you've sewn an inch or so, you can pull back on the fabric so you don't break the threads.  Try to pull the elastic VERY tight so you get nice bunching.

When you sew to the end of the fabric, cut the elastic and this is what you should have:

I actually don't mind the ruffly raw edge but we don't want that elastic irritating the baby's wrists, so we're going to fold the raw edge over the elastic and sew it down.  I'm not folding the raw edge under because I don't feel that's necessary with flannel.  I'm using a zig zag stitch.  I like to line up the raw edge with the center market on my presser foot so you know the zig zag is catching nicely.  You will see the zig zag on the right side, so choose your bobbin thread accordingly.  

You will need to pull on both ends of the fabric like before.

And now you have this:

Moving on... fold the piece crosswise with WRONG sides together.

You can leave the corners boxy if you like, but I clipped curved corners which makes the French seam a little smoother too.

OK now we are doing the French seam.  Wrong sides are still together...  Sew about 1/4" along the curve and side to close up the mitten (do not sew the cuff opening closed, of course).  See my pink stitching.  If you need to, trim the seam to 1/4" so the raw edges don't stick out when we complete the seam, which we will do now!

Turn the piece inside out (right sides together) - no seam!

Now sew along the seam about 3/8" from the edge (slightly thicker than your seam allowance on the other side) in so that you trap the raw edges in the new seam.  This is how the finished inside of the mitten looks.

Turn right side out  --  no raw edges!

A matching set!

Of course after I made these I had a bunch of ideas to make it better, and I think a longer cuff would be good to keep the mittens on better.  Here's how I would do it:

For the longer ruffled cuff:

Start with a 6x9" piece and fold one of the long sides 2" from the edge like this:
Then sew 1" from the fold (along the red line)... 
Now there is a 1" flap with the raw edge that you want to open (fold to the left) and stitch the elastic just to the right of the stitching you just did...  Now you should have a ruffly edge which is not reflected in my diagram!
In case you can't tell from my horrible Print Shop pattern drawing :) the left side is folded twice, to the right and then back to the left

Now fold the raw edge back over the elastic (to the right) and stitch it down like in the main instructions.

That's supposed to be elastic sticking out

This way you have a 1" folded, ruffled edge and the elastic is confined to its own little casing to keep it in line.  When I make this option I'll post pictures!      

>> Here's an example of the "ruffled cuff" I am describing - but in the example it is a ruffled waistband.

I haven't had the opportunity to "test" these on a real live baby yet, so if you make a pair let me know if they fit and stay on!  The wrist opening, without stretching, was approx 4-5" around.  I'll have to make some for my pregnant friends and report back.


  1. Did you get a chance to try the longer ruffled cuff and test how they stay on?

    1. I'm sorry I haven't yet. I should because my friend has a 2 month old who might still wear mittens... It just moved up on my to-do list! Thanks for reading :)

    2. Have fun! Will have to check back then to see how it works out :)



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