Tailoring with Felted Wool, Part 1: The Bark Coat Project
Recently, I was given several lengths of dense felt fabric. The challenge was that the felt pieces were 12 inches wide by 3 yards long–not conducive to making a traditional garment. However, wool felt and boiled wool are fabrics that don’t need edge finishing. You can use a cut edge as the finish, and this property appealed to me. It gave me another dimension for tailoring.
In the first of three related tutorials, I’ll demonstrate how I created a tailored coat using wool felt.
Do you remember the kilim carpet coat shown in this post? I used this pattern as my base by first copying the pattern and reducing it to half scale.
I’ve found that, when designing something complex, working in half scale is efficient, as well as economical in materials. It’s a chance to test-drive the pattern before committing to a full-scale garment.
Making the half-scale pattern is a simple matter of using a photocopier and copying the pattern at 50 percent.
The neutral beige color of the felt inspired me to research tree bark.
Once I found the image of tree bark I liked, I copied it at different percentages.
This enabled me to choose the image that had the proper scale for the coat pattern.
My drawing skills are lacking to say the least. I “cheat” by using a light box and tracing through.
I wanted all the seams on this coat to run horizontally across the coat, so I taped the pattern pieces together at the stitching lines, essentially “sewing” the vertical seams together in paper. You can follow these steps for a similar outcome.
Lay the pattern over the bark photo on the light box and trace it. The design lines are achieved this way. Color-code each row to avoid confusion later.