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How to Make Knit Sweaters Look New

written by: amefree•edited by: Donna Cosmato•updated: 3/15/2011

Learn how to make knit sweaters look like new by mending and repairing them. Learn how to patch up a sweater to give it a whole new look.

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    Reduce your consumption by learning how to make knit sweaters look like new. You can clean an old sweater by removing pills or stitching any holes and snags. To make a knit sweater look new, you can also add patches or new buttons or turn the holes and tears into embellishments using patches and colored yarn.

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    Remove Pills

    As sweaters age, they often develop small pills, made of yarn or dust, on the sleeves and body. Pills form as a part of the normal wear and tear on a sweater, no matter how much care you take when washing and drying the sweater. Remove those pills to make knit sweaters look like new. While you can purchase a pill-remover, it's more eco-friendly to remove the pills using items you probably already have lying around your house.

    Smooth the rough, hook side of a piece of Velcro onto the area of the sweater with the pills. Yank the Velcro off and the pills should come with it. Be careful not to push the Velcro onto the sweater too hard. You don't want to pull up the intact yarn when you pull it off.

    You can also try to remove the pills from your sweater with a disposable razor. Use a gentle hand to draw the blade of the razor over the pill. Again, don't push too hard, as you don't want to cut into the actual sweater.

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    Fix a Hole or a Snag

    You can mend your sweater to make it look as good as new, whether you've torn a hole in it or just snagged a small portion of it. If you have a small snag in your sweater, but the threads are still intact, you can repair the snag with a needle-threader.

    Push the small wire on the threader through the snagged part of the sweater from back to front. Pull the snagged threads of the sweater into the wire loop on the threader, then pull the threader out of the sweater. As you pull the threader out, it should reposition the threads so that the snag disappears.

    You can fix a hole in a sweater by trying to recreate the knit of the sweater. It's easiest to repair a small, one row hole, but you can fix a large hole as well. To repair a hole, thread a thin needle with yarn that matches your sweater. Open the hole wide enough that you can see the loops of yarn on the top and bottom of the hole.

    Push your needle through the yarn loop on the top of the hole, then into the loop directly below it on the bottom. Bring the needle back up to the top of the hole, pushing it through the next loop. Continue stitching through the loops until the hole is concealed by the yarn.

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    Revitalize an Old Sweater

    Learning how to make knit sweaters look like new includes learning how to refresh an old sweater. Breathe new life into a tired sweater by adding a patch, repairing wear holes with contrasting thread and sewing decorative buttons onto an old cardigan. Use a brightly colored piece of fabric and fusible adhesive to make your own patch or stick with a ready made patch to conceal holes in the sweater. Cut out oval shaped patches for a fresh take on an elbow-patched sweater.

    If you need to mend a hole, choose a contrasting thread color instead of one that blends in to give your sweater a new look. Stitch the hole, then mend the sweater in several areas that do not necessarily need mending. You can also repair worn-out buttonholes by reinforcing them with contrasting thread. Use a thin but durable cotton or wool yarn for mending.

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    New buttons on a cardigan make a sweater look new.
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    Libers, Abigail. "A Stitch In Time." Martha Stewart Living. Martha Stewart, Nov. 2010;

    Stivers, Valerie. "Easily Remove Pills On Sweaters." Real Simple.

    Ryan, Jenny. "Elbow Patches."

    Image Credits:

    Buttons in a Bowl, Lisa Clarke;

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