Wet Felting is one of my passions. I get completely lost in making a unique piece of colorful fabric from alpaca fiber or sheep wool roving.
It’s like magic watching the individual fibers and hairs bind together to make fabric that you can cut or sew into clothing.
This is the first part of my Wet Wool Felting Series. The other wet felting tutorials in the series include Nuno Felting, Cobweb Felting, Lattice Felting and Vessel Felting aka How to Make a Felt Bowl.
I used 100% Wool Felt from Winterwood for this Kitty Kate. Besides the fabulous colour of the felt that I LOVE, (and which I just couldn’t find in any craft store that stocked only Acrylic Felt) I really liked the fact that the edges of the felt pieces didn’t disintergrate, as I cut them out and sewed them in place, like they do when I used Acrylic felt. The chunkiness of the wool felt also gives the toy a nice 3-D texture look which makes you just want to pick her up and cuddle her!
I have used these pre cut Acrylic Felt spots which I got from Ifeltspritely. I use them to test out color options when designing my toy sewing patterns. And when I know the toy will be only for display NOT play, I use them for the finished toy too! It can be hard to cut perfecly round, equal sized felt circles for soft toy eyes, so they make it really easy to add felt eyes to your toys. They also come in so many colours – I felt like a kid again playing with my felt pieces!!!
And what are the disadvantages of Acrylic Felt?
It will pill and fuzz. (Not good for craft projects like toys that’ll be handled often!)
It’s stiffer and harder to shape.
It’s thinner – so may be more see through.
It’s much weaker and seams are more likely to tear.
It catches fire almost instantly when exposed to a flame.
It’s durable because plastics degrade very slowly.(Not too eco friendly!)
Also not environmently friendly as large quantities of chemical pollutants are created when it is manufactured.*
If I was just testing a pattern out, or making something I didn’t need to last for a while (like dog toys!), I would use Acrylic Felt. If I just cannot find the right colour of Wool Felt, I would use Acrylic felt or a Wool Blend which is a combination of the two. As long as the toy wasn’t going to be handled to roughly, it would be OK! BUT if I wanted to make a good quality toy to last and last and LAST, especially when I want to give the toy as a gift or if I wanted to sell the toy, I would use Wool Felt.
Wool roving comes from wool fleece, that hair we shave off sheep to produce yarn. With roving, the fibers are somewhat bound together, in a long, narrow bundle, similar to the texture of cotton balls.
It’s a natural material, and, with the addition of dyes (don’t worry, you buy it pre-dyed), offers creative opportunities much like tubes of paint for a painting. But in this case, the medium is wool, and the creations are tiny characters, animals, charms, or toys.
Roving is available from various sources including wool fleece, raw cotton, and other fibers. For projects like this, wool is the top choice.