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Felting Wool Sweaters

(4 Votes)



Felting is the process by which animal fibers (wool) are fused together with the application of heat, water, and pressure to form felt. For a shortcut, felt a wool sweater in the washer with hot water and soap. Once felted, the sweater should have shrunk dramatically and you should no longer see the stitches of the original garment.


  1. Only animal fibers will work for felting. Use a sweater made out of wool, mohair, cashmere, alpaca, or some combination of these. If synthetic fiber accounts for 20% or less, the sweater will probably work for felting. Check the label to see if the wool sweater has been specially treated to be washable, as if you see “superwash,” since these will not work for felting.
  2. Keep in mind that thicker 100% wool sweaters will be better for thick and sturdy felt craft projects, such as tote bags.  
  3. Make sure you safeguard your washer before throwing in the sweater. While felting, the sweater will release a bunch of wooly fibers, which can clog up your washer. Put your sweater in one of those mesh laundry bags (used for delicates) or zippered pillow protector. If it has a drawstring, secure the strings with a safety pin. (Mine have zippers.) Top-loading washers seems to work better than front-loading washers for felting, but you can try repeating the process a few times. A sturdy pair of jeans added to the washer will also help with felting.
  4. Remove the sweater from the mesh laundry bag before placing in the dryer. You will have to clean the lint trap frequently during felting.
  5. You may have to wash and dry the sweater again and even once more to felt some wool sweaters.
  6. Cut off any labels, embellishments, and ribbed cuffs, and cut the sweaters apart for pieces for felt pieces. Now you are ready to craft with your homemade felt!


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Brilliant! Just what I was looking for to use the old sweater stash in a new way.

This would work well with old 100% skirts too. I found a moth hole right in the front of a wool skirt and plan to felt it. What I'd like is some ideas on what to make with the felted fabric besides the obvious - purses, totes, vests and the like.

You can also make placemats, coaters, patches for blankets and quilts, and they make cute flowers too! You can make different styles/colors of felt flowers (if you want to use the same fabric from your skirt you can dye them different colors or try bleaching for different effects) and use as embellishments for other crafts or make a buquet of felt flowers! I hope one or some of these ideas were helpful. Have fun!

I love this idea, not just for the mittens, but the felting. I was so please to see the instructions for how to reuse sweaters. It so much more fun to shop when you know you will be able to reuse the item later. Plus now when I see sweaters that are marked 95% off but are the wrong size, I can buy them anyway! I'm ready to see if the "dots" have moved at my local discount store. Thanks to all of the contributors to this site. I share it with my friends as much as possible and try to utilize the affiliate links when I can. Keep up the GREAT work. Donna a collector of craft projects, too

I had no idea you could make your own felt. This is great especially since you use old sweaters that have seen their better days and either shrunk up already or have holes in them. Thank you for the info


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