This roll-neck collar project was created from leftover scraps from my arm warmers and the small ball of wool remaining from the crocheted beret Meinhilde made for me. When I found this shrunken cashmere sweater on a thrifting expedition, I really wanted the arms and body of the piece, but didn’t have any plans for the neck.
After some heavy Pinterest research, I discovered the roll-neck collar and decided to give it a go. To add a DIY twist, I decorated the collar with little turquoise hearts. This was my first attempt at felting and it was very easy. Using a small Heart cookie cutter, felting needles, and a felting mat (or you could use a big plastic brush too), I created three hearts in the front and one in the back. I’m really happy with the results of these cute little embellishments.
The felting mat is not mandatory, but it will make your project easier. My first failed attempt at making my own mat out of layered cardboard resulted in a broken needle and I had to stop my heart because I didn’t have any spares. The cardboard was not flexible enough and a small twist of the needle snapped it off. You could also use a thick styrofoam as a base, but be careful to jab the needle in perfectly straight.
Another note: felting needles are not regular sewing needles. They are longer, have no eye, and most importantly have a jagged texture near the tip to catch onto the wool’s texture.
DIY: Roll-Neck Collar with Felted Hearts
- cashmere sweater
- pure wool in contrasting colour
- pinking shears
- felting needle
- felting mat or large plastic brush (longer the bristles the better)
- sewing machine
- small heart cookie cutter, or any other shape you like
- Lay sweater on large flat surface. Using pinking shears, cut arms off near shoulder. Cut across chest right below armpits. Keep neck section and use the other pieces for these projects.
- Sew a 1cm zigzag seam on freshly cut sides to secure the raw edge. Try not to stretch fabric while sewing, which will warp the top ends of the warmers.
- Lay the felting mat on the table, brush side up, and place the bottom right corner of the sweater, good side up, on top of the mat. Place the heart cookie cutter near the bottom right corner.
- Cut a piece of turquoise wool to a length that will allow you to wrap around the inner edge of the cookie cutter, sort of like a border. For my heart, the length was around 8cm, but don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be exact. Using your fingers, pull the wool apart a bit to loosen the tightly wound fibres. Lay wool along the inner edge of the heart cookie cutter and holding it steady with one hand, hold the needle in your other hand and start slowly poking at the wool.
- The poking action will push the fibres through the the sweater and make them stick together. Be careful not to injure yourself (I am on the clumsy side so I wore a kitchen safety glove on my left hand). Continue poking the turquoise wool until it starts getting matted to the sweater. Add some more wool to fill in the heart. If there are any sparse patches, add some more wool.
- Continue felting the two other hearts (one to the left, another above) like in the photos to make the trio on the front.
- For the back side, place the heart in the centre of the back, just below the neck. Continue the heart like the other three, but once it is complete, cut a longer piece of turquoise wool (but do not loosen the fibres, you want this strand to keep it’s shape) and create a free-form balloon-like tail.
- To set patches, spritz with a tiny bit of water and iron on low.
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