Upcycling clothing: how can I reuse or recycle a felted wool jumper?

A few years ago, I found the BESTEST JUMPER EVER in a shop. It was a lovely shade of purple, with fair isle detailing and fit me perfectly, in a really flattering way. Best of all, it was in the last ditch clearance sale so only cost £4. From the title of this post, I’m betting you can tell how this story ends. I got to wear it once before I shrunk it horrendously in the wash. Sigh.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s been in that situation – and there are people who buy old wool jumpers from charity/thrift/op shops purposefully to felt them and use them for crafts.

Have you ever made anything from a felted/shrunk wool jumper? Anyone got any suggestions or links to finished projects/how-tos?

And what about reuses/recycling ideas for people who aren’t crafty or confident enough to make something extravagant with them?

Or any other sob stories about accidental shrinking/felting mishaps?

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9 Responses to “Upcycling clothing: how can I reuse or recycle a felted wool jumper?”

  1. anna says:

    If it’s felted enough, it will not unravel when you cut it. In that case, you can decide to leave the edges without stitches, and it’s ok to stitch by hand too. If it’s not felted enough, wash it once more in washing machine, in hot, then run it in dryer again set hot.

    I’ve made some bags from felted wool sweaters.
    You could also make a case for your laptop, iPad, iPhone, iPod, or a cozy for a teapot or a coffeecup etc.
    They also work great for toys (for humans or pets – especially cats love felted wool).
    And if you have other material that is felted and of the same thickness, you could make a patchwork blanket.
    If it’s just a tiny bit smaller and not insanely shrunk, it may be worth to see if any of your friends would fit in it.
    But, as it’s a sweater you really loved and it sounds pretty, I think making a nice bag out of it would best give it a second life. You could either use a bag you like that has roughly the correct size and shape for pattern, or find one from some craft sites.

  2. Melinda says:

    I usually think of slippers and mittens ffrom old sweaters, even if felted. They could also be used for baby’s soakers, or diaper covers. Instructions are online.

    If the item comes from something big enough, it may be possible to find someone- a child, or someone more petite- that can fit the item and use it for its first intention.

  3. No your certainly not we’ve stopped spending on beautiful wool products because they are damaged to easily.

    The thing about an simple to shrink woolen garment is that it’s generally very high quality cheap stuff will survive tumble after tumble. Give it to super nana and take notes a couple of generations above if you didn’t knowthem better you’d have to be suspcious of witchcraft.

  4. Cappenz says:

    It may be possible to return it to its original size by soaking it in cool water with fabric softener in it and then stretching it gently back to size. It’s the only time I use fabric softener, and it is miraculous, even on severely shrunken sweaters provided they are not to the stiff, boiled wool stage. It would be worth a try, I would think.

  5. Linda says:

    Sounds perfect for an awesome woollen hat! Not that you lot in the North are thinking about warm hats -I certainly am. 1st frost due any day now.

  6. stella says:

    I once made a jacket for my dog from a felted jumper

  7. joanna says:

    I make my dog coats from felted sweaters and am busy making tea cosy’s Have made one from the sleeves and 2 out of the body. Inner soles for slippers and hotwater bottle covers

  8. Amanda says:

    Husband’s jumper shrank down to the perfect size for a jacket for our toddler. Slashed the front, added a zipper, and bound the raw edges with bias for a finished look.

    Boiled or felted wool makes a good insulating layer for potholders.

    Makes good applique material since you don’t have to finish the edges. You could cut flowers or other patterns and fancy up your winter coat.

  9. Uluska says:

    They can be sewn into cozy car seat covers.

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