How to Felt Wool Sweaters (and what to make with it!)

If you’ve been around the blog much, you know I love to upcycle. I have a habit of picking up clothes and linens at thrift stores just to cut them up and use them as fabric! One of my favorite items to do this with is wool sweaters. Now you could just use the wool sweaters as is, or you could felt them! This makes a great medium for a variety of crafts and even some garments!

Why felt sweaters?

When you felt sweaters, it tightens the fibers and brings them closer together. Often it gives wool that “fuzziness” as well. A felted sweater changes the fibers to make them easier to use for certain crafts – and actually helps garments like cloth diapers to be more absorbent! Felted wool will also not fray when you cut it, so this is what makes it perfect for so many craft projects – you don’t have to finish any of the edges! Plus, a thrifted sweater (or one that no longer fits, has stains, etc.) is a very inexpensive and sustainable fabric source.

Will any sweater work?

No – you need to use sweaters with a fiber content of at least 80% wool. Sweaters with higher wool content will tighten up (and shrink) even more.

How do you do it?

Felting sweaters is a super easy process:

  1. Wash the sweater in the hottest water you can.
  2. Dry the sweater on high heat.
  3. Repeat the process as often as necessary until you achieve your desired result (remember: the fiber content has an impact on your results, so lower wool content sweaters will felt less than higher wool content).

What do we make with them?

So many things! Here are a few ideas:

Cloth diaper covers or wool longies

Pillows
Coffee cozies
Cuff bracelets
Mittens
Pencil toppers

Tablet cover
Ornaments
Play purses
Dress up mustaches
Embellishments for onesies

Hoop art

The possibilities are really endless!

What is the first thing you’ll make with your felted wool??

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