WHICH CRAFT FELT IS BEST FOR ME?
Buying craft felt on the internet is highly convenient - a few simple clicks on a computer keyboard or a short phone call and following a short wait, the felt is delivered direct to you. You may not even have to step outside your home! It usually works exceptionally well, especially if you purchase from a reputable, well established supplier. But the words “craft felt” cover a number of different products, all essentially craft felt but sometimes not quite what you were expecting. With this in mind, we’ve compiled a handy guide to craft felt.
The first question is, what will you be using the craft felt for?
Both our main ranges of craft felt (washable soft felt and wool mix) are EN71 parts 1, 2 and 3 approved. This means that it meets the standard for toy making, containing no toxic dyes or loose fibres. Both the ranges are completely safe for use in schools and groups. Both are great for soft toy making.
The Soft Washable Felt comes in 51 colours and is washable at 30°C on a wool or delicates wash. This felt is made of 100% polyester which is often confused with other man-made felts some of which can be stiff and difficult to sew with (although they are great for other things!).
Our washable felt is soft and strong making it ideal for a child’s toy. You have to be careful what you use to stick or sew the felt on with though. Usually embroidery threads, being cotton, don’t tend to shrink but the dye in the less expensive ones can sometimes run or the thread itself tighten, puckering the fabric and spoiling the effect of your craft felt project.
By mistake, I used a single piece of wool felt on a mostly washable felt appliqué project, that piece of felt was slightly furrier as the wool fibres in the wool mix felt did not like being washed. It wasn’t a disaster though but I wouldn’t recommend it. I would recommend using a good quality thread such as an Anchor or DMS embroidery thread. If you want to be able to wash your soft toy, go for the washable soft felt. It doesn’t quite have the stretch and draping qualities of the wool felt but is strong, stable and soft.
Another great option for toy making is the wool mix felt, comprising 30% wool and 70% synthetic fibres.
This felt comes in 48 colours and a range of printed felt and a range of heather felts. You can mix and match printed and plain in the project. The wool in the felt gives it an added bit of stretch whilst maintaining stability and the viscose gives it drape, basically the ability to create lovely smooth curved seams and plumpness in your toy.
In our VINTAGE GREY OWL KIT, we’ve used a 50% wool heather felt giving a really sturdy and strong body but we’ve decorated it with a heart wool mix printed felt and plain wool mix felts.
Felt is a fantastic fabric for appliqué projects, taking an embroidery stitch beautifully and of course the fact that it doesn’t fray makes it ideal.
The felt can also be sewn on by machine stitch, although you might need a roaming foot on your sewing machine as it is difficult to get around those corners without one!
It can also be used to embellish quilting projects - for this I would use the Soft Washable Caft Felt.
If your project is cushion making, I would advise considering a 100% Wool or the 50% wool Heather Felt for the main cushion, perhaps embellished using either the Soft Washable Craft Felt or the Wool Mix Craft Felt. One hundred per cent wool felt gives a thicker, stronger felt with a lovely soft feel. It is harder to create detailed items with but provides a strong felt with a lot of body and weight.
In card making, you might opt for adhesive felt and my Blog posting last month was on just this topic, entitled 'ADDING TEXTURE & DEPTH TO CARD USING FELT'. Adhesive felt gives depth and texture to card making it more three dimensional. Regular craft felt can be used but it can be tricky to apply without leaving a few unsightly blobs of glue around the edge of the felt shape which spoils the effect. Adhesive felt sticks right to the edge giving a lovely neat finish to the card.
FANCY DRESS COSTUMES
Both the wool mix and washable soft felt can be used for creating fantastic fancy dress costumes. When my children were young I created several brightly coloured outfits for them using felt. If you want to launder the costume, consider the Soft Washable Felt. It’s strong, holds a shape well and as I mentioned earlier comes in over 50 colours.
Wool mix felt makes fantastically soft and colourful rag rugs. Using a simple proddy tool or rag rugger available here: https://www.makings.co.uk/rag-rug-making/rag-rugger/. The process is really simple.
It depends a bit on what sort of jewellery you are planning to make. An embroidered brooch can be made on any of the crafts felt and I’ll be writing a blog post specifically on brooch making at a later date. If you want to make a felt rose (like the one here) then the wool mix felt is your best bet as ....
.... it curves neatly around the spiral making up the rose.
Next month’s blog post will be a HALLOWEEN FELT PROJECT ….