I don’t always find wool in thrift shops because I want bright colors, and don’t work in primitive styles. Sometimes, though, there are interesting weaves and colors that I think I may be able to use. I’m going to walk you through what I look for if I do happen to find a wool garment that speaks to me at a thrift store.
It must be at least 80% wool
My absolute preference is for 100% virgin wool, but I will take it if it’s a good color. Cashmere doesn’t felt up, so I avoid it.
How big is the weave?
The weave has to be tight enough to felt well. Looser weaves will just leave you frustrated.
How big are the panels?
Some jackets have different cuts and different sizes of panels. If I’m looking for something that has enough fabric for a background, then I look closely at the way the jacket is constructed.
In some cases, the actual fabric is cool enough that I will consider allowing the seam to stay in.
What size is it?
Bigger sizes means bigger panels! Spread out from the area you may be used to looking in for your size. I start with the men’s sections (coats, blazers, and pants) and then move into the women’s sections (coats, blazers, skirts, pants).
Wash it BEFORE you cut it apart!
Nothing is more discouraging than cleaning your washer and drier after felting thrifted items you’ve cut apart first. Let me encourage you to just toss that stuff in and go for it. Cut off buttons first, especially if washing will ruin them and you want to keep them.
I think anything goes. I tend to be a hack-n-whack person, myself, but you can be as careful as you’d like when cutting apart the seams.