Resolving to Repair

Show your wool sweaters some love by mending

Wool’s Pitfall

Wool is a wonderful fiber: it is breathable but insulating and naturally resists odor and staining. Cashmere is a type of wool that is particularly desirable because of its ultra soft texture. Because of its durability, cashmere can often be found sustainably at secondhand charity shops.  Unfortunately, cashmere is also attractive to moths and susceptible to holes created by their larvae (gross, I know). But that is no problem for a modern darling with a few bucks and 30 minutes to spare. In this video I’ll show you how to use wool roving to repair a hole in a wool sweater using inexpensive and easy to find tools.

sustainably repaired cashmere sweater
sustainably repaired cashmere sweater

The green hearts on this much loved sweater used to be drafty holes.

Rethink what it means to love clothes

Loving your clothes is a sustainable act. I don’t mean loving shopping for clothes. I mean truly loving the clothes you already own enough to store them safely, repair and mend them when needed, and wash them with care. These small gestures fly in the face of the the fast fashion narrative that clothes are disposable. By extending the life of a garment you can reduce waste and the need for new garments. I haven’t invested the time nor energy in maintaining my wardrobe as I have in building it. Hence my new year’s resolution to take new pride in repairing my clothing.

How to repair wool sweater holes

What you’ll need:

  • Roving (matching or contrast color)
  • Felting needle
  • Felting pad

These are all sold at Michaels and other similar craft retailers.

What you’ll do:

  1. Gently separate a piece of wool roving, shaping it into a somewhat opaque circle. It should be approximately ¼” in diameter larger than the diameter of the hole.
  2. Place the felting pad underneath the hole. Center the piece of wool roving on top of the hole. Hold it in place with one hand and poke it with the felting needle with the other. 
  3. Continue poking the wool roving into the sweater and felting pad until the roving piece is flush with the sweater, adding more wool roving as needed to cover the hole.
  4. Turn the garment inside out and place the felting pad under the hole. Use the felting needle to poke the wool roving into this side until it is flush with the sweater again.
  5. Turn the garment right side out and repeat the previous two steps. For small holes, this should be sufficient. For larger holes, you may want to go back and forth from the inside to the outside a few more times. 

Next step: making a moth-repellent sachet to avoid the holes in the first place!