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shrink a cashmere sweater

Lina | Posted in Knitting and Crochet on

I would like to shrink a cashmere sweater. I tried to boil the sweater for 5 minutes, but the size did not change – neither did the texture. Any ideas?


  1. ShannonG4d | | #1


    The shrinkage you desire may also require agitation.  Have you tried running it through the washing machine? 


    1. Lina | | #2

      I considered it, but am concerned that felting would occur.

      1. HeartFire | | #5

        From what I recall in my textiles class, it is the fulliing or felting that makes wool shrink. The fibers themselves do not change in size. So yes you would have to aggitate the sweater in some way to make it felt and shrink it. otherwise the previous suggestion of taking it apart at the seams and cutting it down to sz would workGood luck

        1. rjf | | #6

          Isn't there something about wool fibers having tiny barbs?  So the agitation helps the barbs hook onto each other and that causes the felting?  Perhaps if the cashmere fibers don't have those barbs, then it won't felt as sheep's wool does.    rjf

          1. ShannonG4d | | #7

            I don't know if they felt at the same rate as other woolens, but I do know from personal experience that cashmere WILL felt.    Both wovens and knits will felt, and they make wonderful new fabrics with which to play:)

            As for controlled shrinkage, I'm thinking your best bet would be to take the piece apart and recut.  Trying to shrink a specific amount is chancy at best.


          2. SewNancy | | #8

            Agree totally.  No way to predict how much it will shrink.


  2. SewNancy | | #3

    How much do you want to shrink it?  I have taken in sweaters on the sewing machine or serger.  You can take it apart and sew it back together if it is really too big.


  3. ElonaM | | #4

    One of the odd things about my cashmeres is that they don't seem to shrink, regardless of how I treat them. I googled the subject, and a number of sites provided info indicating that cashmere isn't much of a shrinker (of course, some sites claimed that it does, too!).

    Anyhow, I wonder if the distinctive softness of cashmere may be related to some difference, however minor, with the microscopic scales characteristic of wool, which make felting possible.

  4. carolfresia | | #9

    I don't know much about cashmere, but I do own a very wondeful cashmere sweater that I purchased for about $15 in a vintage/used clothing store in LA. I'm sure it was there because it had undergone some sort of laundry "accident": it's marked Men's medium but fits me well, even though I'm more of a ladies' small. Also, it feels as though it's about 8-ply, if such a thing exists, and is fuzzy-textured like a fluffy angora sweater. I think it's fulled rather than felted, although in my dictionary the definitions of these two processes sound kind of similar. This has clearly shrunk and gotten thicker (fulling), but doesn't seem especially matted (felting). I'm betting somebody threw this into the washer and dryer.


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