Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Fingerless mittens for bunads

When I visited my father this summer, I wanted to show him the bunad I had sewn this winter. To my surprise, he had a bunad encyclopedia, which he had bought on sale. He was very pleased, because he got an additional book for free, featuring old patterns for gloves, mittens, wristlets and fingerless gloves for bunads (see "Håndplagg til bunader og folkedrakter" by Heidi Fossnes).

It turned out that this was a treasure of a book, and I fall in love immediately. The author had travelled all over Norway, visiting museums, taking pictures of old mittens, gloves, wristlets and fingerless gloves (here after referred to as hand garment). Then she made a reconstruction of the old hand garments, making patterns. Most of the garments was from the mid to the end of the 19th century, but some were even older.
Many of these projects were incredibly beautiful, and photos of both the old garments and the new reproduction are presented in the book. I fell for many of then, among them these fingerless mittens from Ål in Hallingdal. There were no record of the age of these mittens, but you can find them in the museum in Drammen

Embroideries on knittings is actually harder to do than I expected, but after a while I got the hang of it. The big challenge was to transfer the embroidery pattern from the book to the mittens. The book suggests to do this by freehand, but I did not want to risk that. So I applied a technique from quilting, transferring quilt patterns. The trick is to make a copy of the pattern onto a piece of tulle fabric. Then you only need to go over the patterns with a pen, and the pattern will be transferred due to the holes in the fabric. My only problem was that all my fabric pens had dried out, so I used an ordinary felt pen instead. This resulted in some smearing, but despite this, it worked out well in the end.

This was my first attempt. I really liked it, so I will probably make more of the patterns in the book.


  1. Hi,
    I have been looking everywhere for some mittens like this for a film im working on! Would you consider making a few pairs? Or know someone who would?
    Many thanks

  2. I would love to. They are great fun to make. But I think you need to send me a mail to so we can talk.