Some woolen garments are so delicate that even a simple wash with water at the wrong temperature can cause them to shrink, thus giving rise to what is commonly called “felted wool”. However, if this happens, it does not mean that the garment is hopelessly damaged because it is possible to stretch it gently, making it slightly larger, although it may never return to its original size again. Wool can become felted very easily after washing with hot water or if it is dried in the dryer; in these cases, the garment can undergo a reduction of about four sizes. The following guide will show you how to assess the intensity of the damage and try to remedy it. So let’s see how to stretch wool sweater.
How to stretch wool sweater?
Soak the sweater
Fill a basin with warm water and add a softener to wash the wool, according to the product instructions. Gently add the garment and press it into the water. Don’t mix or shake at all. After 20 minutes, drain the water with the garment still in the basin. Gently press the water out of the shirt, but don’t squeeze or squeeze. When you have to pick it up, do it gently starting from the bottom. If the wool is only slightly felted, you won’t need to soak it for a long time. Remove excess water by rolling a towel. Gently stretch, paying attention to any seams because that’s where you are going to hit the limit on how much you can stretch.
Dry the sweater
If the armholes of the sweater insist on remaining tightened. Avoid pulling it too much otherwise you risk damaging the wool. Keep the size of the felted sweater flat until it is completely dry, also because once it is dry you will no longer be able to stretch the wool; so make sure you’ve done everything you can while the sweater is still wet. Do not leave the garment outside to dry in direct sunlight, as the outside drying of the felted sweater must take place on a large flat surface to allow air to circulate. This actually speeds up the process, however, some dyes used on yarn are enormously photosensitive and can fade or darken over the course of a couple of hours.
Check the elongation
Finally, to understand how to widen a felted sweater, you need to check the sweater itself if it has stretched a lot during the drying phase because it will gradually tend to shrink. So leave it for a long time (preferably overnight) before trying the length. To prevent over-stretching, it would be best to dry it inside in a rolled-up towel and leave it outside so the air can circulate; if you want to prevent the wool from becoming too frizzy, you can use a bath mat. The same trick can work with a sweater’s body length too, but it’s very difficult to avoid distorting the shape. Finally, to prevent shrinkage, it is good to know that felting also occurs due to humidity.