Sewing felt has many unique qualities that make it versatile and decorative. Felt comes in many amazing colors and patterns making it perfect for a wide variety of felt crafts. Learn how to sew felt and enjoy its soft texture and vibrant colors.
Felt is a great fabric for beginners to use. Their bright colors and easy to sew textures are perfect for all sorts of little gifts. Every seamstress needs a felt pincushion and a needle-case! This free pincushion pattern with a sewing machine applique makes a perfect gift for any sewer.
Whenever you need a little handmade gift get out the scrap box and rummage through all your bits and pieces to cut, make and trim little, felt novelties.
Learning how to sew felt is not difficult. Felt can be machine stitched together or hand embroidered.
How to Sew Felt – TIPS
There are 2 main types of felt – craft felt and wool felts.
Craft felt is generally bought in pre-cut pieces of 9″ x 12″ (23xm x 30cm) from craft shops and is 100% acrylic or polyester. Occasionally it can also be purchased on rolls at fabric shops.
Acrylic felt can be a cheap option for items that won’t be washed such as felt gift bags and pincushions. Purchase it in squares from your local haberdashery or craft supplies shop.
Acrylic felt is great for projects such as felt flowers and pincushions and kids craft projects.
The second type of felt is wool felt which can be 100% wool or more commonly, blended with rayon. Where possible, choose the best quality felt made from wool as it is generally easier to work with and softer than acrylic felt. Pure wool felt of course is more expensive than the blended variety.
Take note of the washing instructions that come with wool felt. Most should be hand washed in cold water to prevent shrinking and pillage.
Wool felt is great to use for doll and toy making, and ragdoll hair as it lasts well and doesn’t pill as much.
Cutting felt is easy too! Use a pair of sharp scissors to cut straight lines and small scissors for the curves. Felt is very forgiving as it does not fray.
The edges of your felt will not unravel or look ragged as you cut and trim. In fact, if you make a little mistake or have some extra offcuts just store them in a felt scrap box to use later. There will be an endless supply of shapes and sizes to add decorative trims to the items you make.
For smaller, hard to cut pieces, use freezer paper to get accurate cutting. Freezer paper has a waxy surface which can be ironed to your felt on a cool iron setting. You can then draw shapes on the freezer paper and cut through both layers.
Sewing Felt By Hand
The most basic of embroidery stitches look great on felt. A simple running stitch, blanket stitch and chain stitch with some buttons and sequins add to the most basic designs.
NEEDLES AND THREAD: When sewing felt by hand, use a medium weight hand sewing needle and either strengthened polyester thread or embroidery floss for a decorative look. Embroidery floss comes in strands that are twisted together so you can separate the stands and vary the thickness.
THREADING: For hard to thread floss, use a needle threader to pass the thread through the eye of the needle.
STITCHES: Learn how to sew basic hand embroidery stitches such as
- Blanket stitch (Great for joining seam and applique)
- Whip stitch (Best stitch for joining seams)
- Running stitch (Use for applique)
- Backstitch (Use for applique)
- Ladder stitch (Best stitch for closing gaps with an invisible stitch)
- Chain stitch (Great stitch for applique)
Sewing Felt by Machine
NEEDLES: Medium-sized, sharp sewing machine needle is best as a big needle will make holes in the fabric. (Read my guide to sewing needle sizes).
THREAD: Use a strong all-purpose polyester thread for sewing felt. Cheaper threads tend to break more easily so purchase a good quality like Rasant, Gutterman or Coates.
MACHINE FOOT: For most projects, an all-purpose sewing foot can be used for sewing felt. Glitter felts and other felts with a textured surface may benefit from using a Teflon foot instead. A Teflon foot will glide over difficult fabrics that would otherwise stick to the bottom of a regular metal foot.
STITCH LENGTH: If you are sewing felt seams on a sewing machine, a short straight stitch around size 2.0 works well. When sewing applique, you can use a small zig-zag or 3 step zig-zag to seal the edges. The length of the zig-zag should be longer than you would use on woven fabrics as felt does not fray on the edges. Start testing with a width of 3.5 and length of 2.0 and see if you like how it looks.
How to Sew Felt: Projects
The patterns and ideas for sewing felt crafts are endless. You are sure to become a felt fanatic when you realize the wealth of sewing opportunities felt can bring to your sewing table.
Now you know how to sew felt why not try some fun patterns!
Sewing Felt Videos
Did you know that Treasurie has a YouTube channel featuring weekly sewing and craft videos? Here is a video I made of the felt gift bags.
Don’t forget to subscribe to the Treasurie channel.