Creating a Happy, Colorful, Handmade Home & life on the shores of lake superior

May 21, 2013

How to Use Needle Felting Techniques to Decorate - or Mend - a Wool Sweater

Spring is the time to say "see ya later!" to all my winter clothes.  I don't actually have a special place to put them, but I do shuffle things around in the closet so really out-of-season things are hidden and spring/summer clothes are front and centre.  I also take this time to make sure every last sweater is washed in Eucalan (the stuff I use for washing "dry clean only" woolens at home), plus I use a sweater shaver to remove any pills

My Mom is doing the same seasonal song and dance so we thought it was high time we mended a hole ruining a perfectly lovely, if a little boring, cashmere sweater of hers.  Inspired by my wooly round up of projects in the winter (particularly this tutorial), we thought a DIY needle felted wool patch/applique would be a perfect dose of whimsy - and the perfect hole-hider. 

Needle felted wood applique

Instead of just a single heart to hide the hole, we needle felted on a row of hearts to hide the small hole but also give a basic sweater a little character that Jessica Day would surely approve of (if it were yellow or pink - but I couldn't convince my Mom of the merits of more zing). 

Supplies:
We used a cookie cutter to help keep the shape, but you can also draw on a design and felt in the lines.


First we slid the sweater on to the foam block.  Then we pulled off a small amount of wool roving and placed it in the shape of the cookie cutter.  We bit off  more than we could chew and felted a huge wad for the first heart.  Multiple, thin layers workers better!

How to needle felt shapes

This is the best part of needle felting: stab, stab, stab.  If you haven't been tempted by my needle felted art, let me say again: nothing relieves stress like stabbing something woolly with a barbed needle!  Just watch the fingers because these needles are terribly painful.  But this is really all there is to it!  Stabbing the felted wool repeatedly works the fibers into the wool sweater.

How to needle felt shapes
How to fix a sweater hole

Once all three hearts were felted neatly, we used an iron on the "wool" setting and gently pressed the hearts to smooth them out (I've seen other people skip this step, I've seen others mist with water first).  The finished sweater needs to be hand-washed (which means soaking and rinsing and laying flat to us) just like before.

How to set needle felted shape

Cute, right? 

How to needle felt shapes
Needle felted heart How to needle felt shapes

The same technique would look great on a cozy wool pillow.  Needle felting is quick and easy work, so a pillow with a dense pattern or repeating design would look amazing and take very little time. 

Happy felting!
SHARE:

15 comments

  1. Replies
    1. Thanks! I'm really happy with how it turned out. I have a cookie cutter in the shape of an axe and now I'm eyeing up some of my sweaters, wondering what colour axe to felt . . .
      :)

      Delete
  2. Replies
    1. Köszönöm!
      Ez egy jó érzés, amikor én vagyok képes rögzíteni valamit. Kanadában, sokan csak dobnak el dolgokat, ha van egy lyuk vagy sérülés.

      Delete
  3. This is such a cute idea! I don't have a damaged sweater, but I'm willing to damage my sweater to make it look as cute as yours. Pinning this for later. Thanks for sharing!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha :) The hole was only the motivation to get us going on this project. I plan on fancying up some of my (perfectly good) wool sweaters too!

      Delete
  4. Replies
    1. Thanks! I wish I could have talked her into a bolder design, though. I have fox cookie cutters :)

      Delete
  5. Um, I really need a fox wool sweater. Even though I already have one...you can never have too many.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You have a fox sweater? Awesome! Maybe for our next crafting session I'll bring my fox cookie cutter, lol. Border guards will scan my suitcase and be like, "what the hell does someone need cookies cutters for on vacation??? And what is that puffy wooly stuff?"

      Delete
  6. Oh my gosh... I had no idea this was so easy. Added to my never ending list!!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Great idea when a hole cooperated and went in a spot that you could do a design. Have any ideas my hole is midway up forearm & I have another in the back. Any suggestions appreciated

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's really personal preference, but I think a design would look good anywhere. A hole in the the sleeve is begging for a heart (hear on my sleeve??). I myself would be inclined to do a mod take on flowers, and have the vines stretch out a bit so they look randomly placed and sprawling. You can also do a pattern or design elsewhere (not just a hole) to make it look more intentional. Like a row of some shape across the back (conveniently covering up the hole as well). Or, do polka dots randomly on the whole sweater (covering the holes).

      Delete
  8. I was inspired by your technique for a project last xmas but forgot to come back here to comment until I saw your post pinned this week.
    I felted an old wool sweater to make a hot water bottle cover for my son. I thought it would be cute with a heart felted on it. But I decided a red maple leaf would be well suited to my son, who loves anything Canadian. It turned out amazingly well. I wasn't sure how well the points of the leaf would felt but it worked great with well defined lines.
    Thanks for the instructions, I would never have figured out how to do this otherwise.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for taking the time to come back to this old post and let me know! I'm so thrilled you could use this tutorial - your Canadiana hot water bottle cover sounds too cute! But you tease me anytime you mentioned your home or projects, because you know I always want to see, lol! What can I do to convince you to join Instagram??? :D

      Delete

You've made my day - I love hearing from you! I approve comments only to keep out the spam, so don't worry if your comment doesn't pop up right away.

© Dans le Lakehouse | All rights reserved.
See What Inspires Me on Pinterest