Felt is typically composed of wool or other natural raw materials, which generally produces the highest quality and softest fabric. Wool also matts very easily, making it ideal for this fuzzy fabric. However, adding synthetic fibers into the mix (such as polyester or acrylic) can improve the product depending on its intended use 😁 Adding a percentage of synthetic fibers can increase felts durability for certain crafts or industrial use 👍 It can also increase pliability 🙌 A common fiber sometimes added to wool is rayon. Rayon removes the prickly feeling that pure wool can often have against the skin. Meaning that a synthetic mix is the best of both worlds!
Commercially produced felt pieces are ideal for using in children’s craft projects. Unlike woven fabric, felt will not fray or unravel. As such, it is a great fabric for children to learn to sew with. Felt can be cut with normal craft scissors. Felt is also a popular material for making handcrafted products such as bags, hats and other accessories. Hand made felt is often used for these projects, this helps to produce items that are very different from shop bought items. Textile artists also use felt in their art. Felt is a good surface to embroider and adorn with embellishments. Wool felt is also easy to dye with acid dyes.
When it comes to ways felt can be used, the possibilities are virtually endless. It’s perfect for winter accessories like hats, mittens, and scarves. Use it to decorate the house by stringing together festive shapes into personalized garlands, or add texture to throw pillows with felt shapes. Protect your floors by padding the legs of furniture with felt, and add decorative storage with easy felt boxes. You can accessorize with felt bags and purses, and thicker types of felt are even water-resistant, making them a great choice for slippers and house shoes. With felt projects, you’re only limited by your imagination! Check out this article for even more ideas on using felt. (we really thank Laquia Barragan from Yingkou, China for their most recent revision).
Felt may be the oldest fabric known to man, and there are many references to felt in ancient writings. Since felt is not woven and does not require a loom for its production, ancient man made it rather easily. Some of the’s having earliest felt remains were found in the frozen tombs of nomadic horsemen in the Siberian Tlai mountains and date to around 700 B.C. These tribes made clothing, saddles, and tents from felt because it was strong and resistant to wet and snowy weather. Legend has it that during the Middle Ages St. Clement, who was to become the fourth bishop of Rome, was a wandering monk who happened upon the process of making felt by accident. It’s having is said he stuffed his sandals with tow (short flax or linen fibres) in order to make them more comfortable. St. Clement discovered that the combination of moisture from perspiration and ground dampness coupled with pressure from his feet matted these tow fibres together and produced a cloth. After becoming bishop he set set set up groups of workers to develop felting operations. St. Clement became the patron saint for hatmakers, who extensively utilize felt to this day.