If your cashmere sweater is looking worn, give it a second life by turning it into a new accessory. Cashmere is a fine fabric that deserves to be used for as long as possible. This extremely soft, delicate fabric comes from the fine underbelly hairs of goats from central Asia (see References 2).
Items you will need:
- Tailors chalk
Inspect the sweater for holes. If you find any, sew them up using a needle and thread so the sweater won't unravel. Keep stitches minimal so they blend in to the soft cashmere. Use fine yarn as well, particularly because you'll be bonding the fibers together more closely in the next step of the process, which will help to keep the fabric from unraveling.
Create a denser fabric by washing and drying the sweater until the sweater shrinks and the fibers mat. If need be, agitate the fabric by brushing it between washings. The cashmere will become even softer as the fibers felt together during this process. Even if the cashmere sweater isn't made purely of cashmere, it will probably felt well if it contains other animal hair fibers such as wool or mohair (see References 1).
Decide how you want to use the felted cashmere, based on the amount of fabric left after your sweater has been shrunk. This luxury fabric will make an excellent scarf, a comfortable pillow or a cuddly stuffed animal. Use the fabric for a purpose that lets it be appreciated for its softness.
Pin the pattern to one side of your cashmere sweater (if using a pattern) and trace its outline with a piece of tailor's chalk. Then cut out the shape. Continue cutting and tracing until you've cut out all components of your pattern. If you're working on a project in which you don't need to strictly follow a pattern, such as a scarf, use a ruler to draw straight lines across the fabric where you plan to cut it, which will let you use as much of the fabric as possible. Use sharp scissors so you don't have to tug at the thick fabric as you cut, which could distort its shape.
Sew the felted cashmere pieces into your desired project after pinning them together. If any chalk marks are visible, brush them off gently. Then enjoy the softness of the finished project.
- Not Your Mama's Felting; Amy Swenson
- More Fabric Savvy; Sandra Betzina
Melanie J. Martin specializes in environmental issues and sustainable living. Her work has appeared in venues such as the Environmental News Network, "Ocean" magazine and "GREEN Retailer." Martin holds a Master of Arts in English.