Learn all about what is felt. Felt is a type of fabric that is produced by rolling and pressing different types of fibers together. It is done by using techniques that involve moisture, pressure, and heat. Layers of fibers are joined together and matted, resulting in a new type of fabric called "felt."
What is Felt Tutorial
This tutorial will discuss the definition of felt, its types and what felt can be used for. It will finish with the uses of felt and sewing with this amazing fabric.
What is Felt?
Felt is a fabric used mainly for craft and sewing that is made by matting, pressing, and needling fibers together. Felt fabric is usually made of wool or acrylic materials, which produces high-quality fabrics. Wool can be matted easily, which can result in an ideal fuzzy fabric, whereas adding synthetic fibers can increase the durability of felt.
What is Felt's History
Felt is known as one of the oldest textile founds. While not totally clear, felt is said to originate in Asia, where there is proof of making felts in Siberia and Northern Mongolia. Items made of felt were discovered in Siberian tombs, including clothing, wall hanging, jewelry, and horse blankets made of felt.
What is Felt - Types and What is Felt Made of
There are several types of felt categorized by what they are made from and how they are created.
1. Wool Felt
This type of felt is made by layering the natural fibers of wool. Soap, heat, and friction are needed in order for the scales of fibers to interlock and be entangled.
The result after this process is a soft and desirable felt fabric. It can be shaped, and it is thicker than many other types of felt because of the layered fibers.
Wool felt does not pill, unlike other types of felt. It is usually made with lanolin which results in making it a water-resistant fabric.
On the other hand, this type of felt is more expensive than others and is not suitable for all applications because of its thickness. Wool felt can be mixed with polyester to decrease the cost. Wool felt is preferred for making softies and decorations and can be sewn with a sharp hand needle.
2. Acrylic Felt
Acrylic felt is very cheap and easily available and is often sold in pre-cut squares. One of its benefits is that it does not shrink after you wash it. However, the downside of acrylic felt is that it is not as supple and durable as wool felt.
This type of felt is not also environmentally friendly because it is made of plastics. Acrylic felt is not as long-lasting as other forms, but despite its downside, it is extremely popular due to its considerably lower price.
3. Fur Felt
Fur felt is an impressive type of felt due to its malleability and durability. It can be made into felt hats and into other accessories. Unfortunately, uses animal fur and so it involves animal killing to gain this type of felt, so is not the felt of choice for most people.
4. Rayon Felt
Rayon felt or viscose felt is usually used in industrial and medical applications. It has many of the same properties as wool felt. One of the good properties of this type of felt is that it can be shaped into various insulative products, but just like all synthetic fibers, it is a non-biodegradable pollutant. Rayon may often be combined with wool felts to produce a softer felt option for crafts.
4. Pressed Felt
Pressed felt is the oldest type according to human history. It predates weaving and knitting techniques and is the most common type of felt using pure wool or a blend of synthetic and wool fibers.
5. Needled Felt
Needled felt can be produced by a blend of synthetic and wool fibers or just purely wool fibers. This type uses machines that have thousands of needles to produce less dense type and softer felt fabric.
It is usually used for crafts and cushioning. Needling can also be done by hand using a needle with a barb on the end and is an art form in itself. Hand needling is used to produce felt toys and decorations by crafters.
6. Woven Felt
Woven felt can be made of wool or a wool blend that is woven into a cloth. This weaving process usually makes the fibers naturally entangled or interlocked. This type of felted fabric is ideal for door seals and musical instruments. Unlike needled and pressed felt, it is able to be produced in thinner sheets.
What is Felt Used for?
Here are just some of the applications that felt can be used for:
- Toys for children - Felt can also be used for toys. Wool felt or wool blend felt is especially desirable because it is soft and safe to use.
- Accessories for women - Felt can be used to make various accessories, including hair accessories, handbags and purses, and even shoes. Wool felt is desirable for bags due to its water-resistant properties.
- Mobile phone covers - Most mobile phones need covers to protect them from scratches or to prevent any more damage when it falls accidentally. Using a mobile cover made of wool felt can help protect your phone. It is also a good way of protecting the environment because it is eco-friendly, rather than using mobile phone covers made of plastics which has harmful effects on the environment.
- Wall panels made of felt - The purpose of wall panels made from felt is to create a soundproof room. Having wall panels made of felt will not only make the room insulated from sound, but it can also contribute to the decorative design of the room.
- Decorations - Felt is a good option for making decorations. It is soft and available in infinite colors. This is perfect for holidays or special occasions. For example, you can create ornaments made of felt during the Christmas season, and you can create heart-shaped felt decorations on Valentine's day.
Properties of Felt
Here are both the advantages and disadvantages of felt material.
What is Felt Advantages
- Does not fray - The edges of wool and acrylic felt will not fray. This makes it a great practice material for kids who want to learn sewing. Also, it is an ideal material for making decorations and softie toys with hand-stitched edges.
- Inexpensive - Although some felts are more expensive than others, felt is generally well-priced and accessible for crafting and sewing.
- Easy to access - Nearly every craft and fabric store will have felt fabric or squares available. Supermarkets that have basic craft supplies also will usually have sheets of felt fabrics. Don't forget to check Amazon and eBay for bundles of felt squares.
- It is versatile - There are endless ways of creating things made of felt. It can be used as accessories, decorations, personalized bunting, and designs for pillows. It can also be used as designs for bags and purses. Thicker types of felt are water-resistant, which makes them a good choice for felt slippers and shoes.
- Warmth - Felt is warm when used for garments.
What is Felt Disadvantages
- Elasticity is minimal - Felt fabrics have minimal elasticity because of their thickness. If you manage to stretch the felt out, you will probably not be able to return it to its original size.
- The felt texture is coarse - Many felts are coarse in texture. It also doesn't have any sheen or luster, unlike silk or satin. This is because of the type of fibers necessary to make felt. Rough fibers are easier to mat rather than soft or shiny fibers.
- Prone to shrinking - One of the most common disadvantages of felt is that it is prone to shrinking when it is washed improperly, especially felt that is made of natural wool. Shrinking can be avoided by hand washing in cold water. Also, avoid using a tumble dryer for felt fabric.
What is Felt and the Environment
- Wool Felt - Wool felt fabric is one of the most biodegradable substances in our world. The main environmental consideration in making these types of felt is land use and the proper way of treating animals.
- Synthetic Felt - Both rayon and acrylic felt production involve chemicals in the process of making these fabrics. It may also harm the workers who are processing the rayon and acrylic fabric due to the chemicals' harmful effects. Another problem is the disposal of the chemical solutions used to create these products. If it is improperly disposed of, it can harm the environment.
Sewing With Felt
Read the full article on sewing felt. Here are a few tips for sewing felt:
- NEEDLES - Use fine to medium-sized needles, as larger needles may make holes in the felt.
- PRESSER FOOT - For machine sewing, use a Teflon foot that will glide over the felt pile.
- STITCH LENGTH - Seams are best sewn with a smaller stitch length of 2.0
- STITCH TYPE - Applique can be straight stitched or stitched with a narrow zig-zag on the edge.
Here are some ideas for felt crafts from the Treasurie blog. Felt is fun and easy to sew for all levels of sewers. You can use your sewing machine or use hand stitches like a running stitch or backstitch.
Now you know how to sew felt why not try some fun patterns!
What is Felt FAQs
Is felt natural or manmade
Felt is a manmade fabric that can be made from either natural or synthetic fibers. Common felt fibers include wool, rayon and acrylic as well as combinations of these.
Is felt polyester or cotton?
Felt material is usually made from polyester or wool, but rarely cotton. It is a non woven fabric resulting from matting fibers together.
What is 100% felt made of
Felt refers to the fabric type and manufacturing process of matting rather than the content of the fibers. Felt can be made from acrylic, rayon and wool or a combination of fibers. If you see a felt fabric with this label, you will need to ask the store for the fiber content.
What is Felt? – In Conclusion
What is felt material? In conclusion, felt is non-woven fabric with practical and creative applications, such as clothing and decorations. This type of fabric is soft and durable, depending on its type and how it is produced.
The advantages of felt are that it is durable, doesn't fray, is easy to cut, and is generally inexpensive. Its disadvantages are that it is not particularly supple, has the potential to shrink, and has minimal elasticity.