comments 104

felted sweater blanket

Someone emailed me recently and asked me to explain how I made the felted sweater blanket I have posted on my projects page.  I found some old pictures on my laptop and put this post together.

104 Comments

  1. Anne

    Thank you for the instructions, I’ve been wanting to make something like this for a while now. Yours is lovely.

  2. I love this! I already have a ton of felted sweaters scraps I could use to make this. Thanks for the fantastic idea! Plus, since you already felted the sweaters, you can machine wash this on cold! woot!

  3. jan

    Don’t you need to attach the front to the back, so the batting doesn’t bunch up if you do wash it?

  4. It’s beautiful! I started cutting squares from felted wool sweaters for this very type of quilt, but then I began to wonder how much wear and tear it would have on my sewing machine. Did you notice any troubles with your machine during the process of sewing this quilt? Thank you for any insight.

    • Hmmm? I didn’t notice any extra wear on my machine. I did need to clean the inside of it a couple of times because a lot of wool fibers collected inside, underneath the bobbin. But I made this a while ago and I’ve been using my machine and I haven’t noticed a difference. Cheers and good luck!

  5. Cindy

    My grandmother made these types of quilts out of my grandfather and my dads wool long sleeve shirts. They kept us warm during the winter months.

  6. Ana

    How beautiful, did you just sew them with a regular foot? I have trouble getting the thick layers under my walking foot. And if I may ask you one more question: did you need to fiddle with the tension?

    Thank you for the post!

    • I did use a regular foot. Your question makes me think I should have fiddled with the tension. Is that something you typically do when you sew something thick? I’m self taught so maybe I’m missing a step. I will say that it all looked fine when I sewed it. I made the quilt for an auction so I don’t have it now to refer to.

      • Rae

        I’m no expert either, but I think tension means the height of the foot. Did you raise the foot higher than usual? Some sewing machines have that option…
        I live in South Korea and sewing machines are hard to come by. Doing this by hand would be really time consuming, but probably worth it! Thanks for the idea!

      • I did not raise the foot. It didn’t feel necessary. Love that someone from South Korea is reading my silly little blog. I’d love to see how your hand made blanket comes out. Keep in touch! xo jam

    • Hagrids Mom

      tension has nothing to do with the height of the foot. You would need to loosen it probably a little to make the stitches meet in the middle since the 2 layers would be so thick. I have a question on seam allowance? Most of the felted sweater items i’ve seen sew the layers together flat, side by side, with a zig zag stitch or some other bridging stitch. Instead of having the edges sewn together like clothing with the extra fabric inside. I have a polyester quilt top made of squares and sewn together by hand like clothing and I can tell you there is no way to quilt that – it stands up on the edges of the seam allowance. I have all sorts of felted sweaters but not enough nerve to try this yet.

  7. This is absolutely gorgeous! I’ve made longies for my daughter and her Halloween costume and a few other things from felted sweaters; now I have a goal for the scraps!

  8. Lydia

    I cannot wait to start this! Going out this weekend to thrift for wool sweaters.

  9. Fantastic and I can’t wait to give this ago!!! I have always wanted to work with old sweaters – felting, quilting just awesome

  10. This looks like an awesome project – I have been wanting to felt and quilt old sweaters for some time – thanks for posting this!!!!!!!!!!

  11. Danielle Guyear

    Hi……when you washed the sweaters initially, did you machine dry them or air dry them? Thanks

  12. Tara

    This is adorable. I have started cutting squares from cashmere sweaters that I have which now have holes in them in hopes of eventually having enough for a blanket one day. Did you sew the squares together by hand or with a sewing machine? Thanks for sharing, love love love it :) :)

  13. aimee

    Hi! Love your quilt. Do you intend on laundering as you do with regular laundry or will it continue to felt/shrink over time if not cared for differently? Thanks!!

    • I don’t own the quilt. I made it for an auction. I wouldn’t recommend washing it in a washing machine. I think it should be dry cleaned.

    • Jessie

      I made a similar quilt years ago and it is our family favourite! The kids jockey for position to lay claim to it when the weather turns cold :) I should get on the ball and make another one. Since it is such a favourited covering it gets lots of use & I launder it regularly at home. The wool is already felted and I see no difference once it goes through the washer & dryer.

      • Hey Thanks for the comment! The one I made I gave immediately to a school for an auction. I should make another one too just to have at home. Cheers! jam

  14. Heather S

    I have never felted wool before and was wondering if it has to be 100% or can it be a combination? I love this idea and would really like to try it.

    • It doesn’t need to be 100% but it needs to be over 90% (I think) and you want to select sweaters that are tightly knit. Old gap and JCrew sweaters work really well.

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  16. Teresa

    I love this…thanks to Pinterest for finding you. I also like to repurpose or upcycle…can’t wait to try this!!
    Thanks for posting it!

  17. sharonivy

    Having a ball thrifting and felting old sweaters for this project. Thanks so much for sharing!

  18. Sarah Gesiakowski

    I like working with recycled wool and have made a baby blanket in a similar way but used wool for the backside as well. I was afraid that to mix fibers I would create a washing nightmare. How does your blanket wash up with the cotton on one side and the wool on the other? What method of washing have you used? and detergent? Thanks.

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  21. Mary G

    I LOVE your sweater quilt!
    I’m always looking for recycled projects. I’ve made plenty of blue jean quilts. This will be next.

  22. Irene

    Thanks for posting. I already cut up several t-shirts but did not know where to start. Now I know! Thanks.

  23. Thanks for another informative blog. The place else may I get that kind of information written in such an ideal method? I have a project that I am just now working on, and I have been on the look out for such information.

  24. meexiles

    what would happen if you zigzaged them together before felting them? would it pucker?

  25. Dianne

    First of all I love this idea. You mention both 3×3, and 5inch squares. I am a little confused. Also can you use wool pants or skirts?

    • I cut 5 inch squares, then sewed 3 together in a row. When I had 3 rows of 3 squares I sewed them together to make a square of 9 smaller squares. 3×3. I just used felted sweaters but you could try using different kinds of wool. I wouldn’t mix different weights though. I think it will make the blanket uneven. Know what I mean?

  26. Mary Beth

    I, too was confused by the 5″ squares becoming 3″ squares. I take it you used a 1″ seam allowance?

    • Do I say that? 5″ squares becoming 3″ squares? Yikes! What I hope I said is that I sewed the small 5 inch squares together, 3 across and 3 down (3×3). I think I used a half inch seam allowance.

      • Dianne

        How it is worded. You say you kept sewing these 3×3 squares untilI you had enough to cover the surface of a twin size duvet cover.
        Now that I have looked at it again, I realize you meant you used 9, 5″ squares to make one finished square. It just was a little confusing. Thanks for your reply.

      • Jo

        In quilting it is referred to as a 9 patch – 3 across, 3 down. I too wondered about the 3 x 3 squares until I looked at the picture. For being self taught, you have done a beautiful job, even if you don’t know the terms, etc.!! I love this quilt! You have inspired me to make one. :-) Keep up the great work!
        PS. Found this on Pinterest.

  27. Cecelia

    Did you do anything special to your seams like press them open or to 1 side???

  28. Hey this is kinda of off topic but I was wanting to know if blogs use
    WYSIWYG editors or if you have to manually code with HTML.
    I’m starting a blog soon but have no coding know-how so I wanted to get guidance from someone with experience. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

    • Hello. I don’t have any coding or HTML experience either. I find WordPress pretty intuitive. You can figure most things out by clicking around until you figure it out. Good luck with your blog.

    • oh, hi. I didn’t see your comment there. The sweaters do not unravel after they have been felted. They must be a high wool content and it works better if you start with a tight knit, but yeah — after you wash them in hot water they get felted. They tighten up and you can cut them easily.

  29. Cheryl R.

    Is it possible to use/felt cashmere sweaters? Could cashmere and wool sweaters be used in the same quilt? And..what type of stitch did you use…length etc.

    • Hmmm? I wouldn’t mix cashmere and wool together. The weights are different so I think it would make the quilt feel wonky. I have seen people make entire quilts out of recycled cashmere sweaters. It seems like a good idea for making a baby blanket.

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  31. Mary

    I am hoping to make this awesome quilt! However, I know that I will have some questions. The first being, were all of your sweaters 100% wool? I found many that were 85% wool, but didn’t pick those ones up. Can I use those as well?

    • Gosh. It’s been a long while since I made this but I think I went with sweaters with a higher wool content. I would should for 90-100%. Vintage Gap wool sweaters always seemed to work well. Good Luck!

  32. I’ve been working on this ever since I found your blog. I finally have enough pieces and I am starting to sew them together. So glad I found you!

  33. Margaret Carey

    Op shops here I come….Fabulous idea… I LOVE it… thanks so much for sharing…

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  35. Mary Kay Fish

    Hi, just saw your quilt in the All You mag, was wondering if a novice could do this or do you need experience ? Thanks Mary Kay

    • Sorry. It is confusing the way I wrote it. Each individual square is 5 inches by 5 inches. When I started sewing them together I sewed them into blocks of 3 squares by 3 squares — a block of 9 squares. Does that make sense?

  36. Jennifer

    any tips for handsewing? ive got one of these in progress (it was nice to see your tutorial and know that i had been doing it the same way just with different sizing of pieces) but i dont have a sewing machine…. any ideas for solid handsewing that wont pull out (its mostly felted anyway so its fairly solid material) thanks!

    • hmmm. The only hand sewing I’ve ever done is a blanket stitch on the edge of things. If your pieces are felted tight like you say they are then I think it might work. I follow Crispina French and it looks she does a lot of hand sewing. You should check out her work at http://crispina.com/. Thank you for saying hello. Good luck with your project!

  37. Micaela

    So how many total squares did you use? I can’t tell by the photo since it’s folded…

    • Oh Gosh. I’m not sure. I just looked at the image again to see if I could figure it out. Each little square is sewed into a group of 9 squares. It looks like I put 6 groups across. I can’t tell how many tall. I suggest once you make a group of squares lay them on top of a twin blanket you like and see how they fit. That is what I did. Good luck!

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  39. Donna Faye

    hi, I have been quilting for 58 years and I want to say be proud of your lovely quilt! You did a very good job and your color selection is smashing! Kudos my dear, you are a Quilter! Donna Faye

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  41. Nancy Chandler

    Yesterday I finally finished the top of my blanket. Now I have to make a decision to finish the edges and put on a backing. The blanket is queen sized and is quite heavy even though it’s made of (Goodwill) cashmere sweaters only! Its already quite heavy and I’m concerned if I put on a backing it’ll be way too heavy. How heavy is your blanket and do you wish you hadn’t backed it?

    • Oh Gosh. I’m sorry I didn’t respond sooner. I was just making my son’s bed and remembered that I never responded to your comment. My blanket was very heavy too. And backing it was clunky. I’ve never asked myself if I would have liked it better if I hadn’t backed it. I guess I would have. The blanket was sold at an auction so I don’t have it around. But I think you are right. Perhaps it is better not to back it. Look at these blankets by MES textiles. They don’t looked backed. They look great. Hope this is helpful. http://www.mes.nl/#blankets

  42. bernadine

    HI can you tell me how you sewed the squares together. ie did you put the wrong sides together and sew as one would normally do and have the seams on the inside.

  43. Tray

    Maybe someone can give me a rough estimate as to how many sweaters it takes to make one? I love the idea and have been collecting some sweaters for a felting project. :)

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  46. Found you via Refashionista. Very cool project — it’s so simple and straightforward I’m ashamed I never thought of it. I am an avid longtime knitter but have never been interested in knitting an entire blanket, even though there are some great patterns replicating the look of a quilt. I particularly *love* that this is an easy way to use damaged sweaters. This is the best of all worlds: recycled, super wool, colorful and quilted, and relatively (vs knitting the equivalent) quick! Thank you so much for sharing!

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