Ladies, I recently received a 100% cashmere scarf from my grandmother. It is is lovely and warm and soft and beautiful, but I don't think I would ever wear it as a scarf. It's a bit thick to be bunched up around my neck. It's not an heirloom or anything, so I was thinking of repurposing the material. I think there's only enough to make a capelet, a la Butterick 5032, but here's my question:
Would the cashmere need to be treated in any way? Is it likely to be pre-shrunk, or should I steam it? It looks pretty fuzzy, almost like fleece, so would it need to be felted? I have no experience with this kind of material. Also, am I crazy for wanting to do this?
Thank you for any insights you can offer on the matter!
I don't think you are crazy. If you will wear it once you remake it, I say go for it. I am assuming that it must be dry cleaned so I would only dry clean it afterwards.
I think your question is how to best launder such a fabric prior to using it in a project? (At least that's how I'm going to answer this question).
Here's something to consider: natural fiber wool (i.e. comes from an animal), like cashmere, felt, which involves both becoming stiffer and shrinking) when exposed to warm water and agitation (i.e. rubbing of threads together). I'd be very wary of using any sort of warm/hot water on cashmere for fear of said felting as the cashmere will lose all of its beautiful drape.
The best way to launder cashmere is to do so by hand with a detergent that is suitable for delicate fabrics. Use only luke warm or cool (but not frigid) water. Gently squeeze the sudsy water into the fabric then let the fabric soak for about 20 minutes. Drain the sink and run tepid water (not warm, but not frigid) through the fabric until the water runs clear and free of suds. Gently PRESS (do NOT wring) the water from the cashmere. At this point, if you want, you can place it on a towel, roll the towel up, and gently press out the excess water (this will speed up the drying process). Then hang to dry.
FWIW, I don't think you're crazy at all. Why not repurpose it into something you'll use..
I don't think you are crazy at all. If you'll never wear it then it will just sit in a drawer. If you are like me, I would be super sad and guilty about it just sitting and being wasted.
You are super talented and could make a lovely caplet out of it. I really think you should go for it.
I had a cashmere sweater of my dads that I cut down and remade to fit me. I ended up sewing then serging the edges and it has held up fine. I hand wash it and air dried with no issues. Your fabric looks more stable then mine and seems like it would hold a structure nicely.
Please post when you finish it.
Thank you for your advice on washing and encouragement, ladies! I will definitely post pictures when I'm done. I still need to find an appropriate lining.