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Conversational Threads

Felting Wool

pinkit | Posted in General Sewing Info on

I have a DVD by Nancy’s Notions called “Easy Silhouette Wardrobe”.  It shows how to make a single layered vest useing felted wool.  The DVD instructs us to wash our wool in cold water in a washing machine and tumble dry low in order to felt the wool.   I have some wool garments that I would like to take apart and felt in order to try making one of these vests.  By-the-way, the single layer vests are only serged around all the outer edges and this looks pretty neat.  However, my previous experience with woolens was wash cold/dry flat to keep from felting .  I would think that the wool would felt just as well with hot water or perhaps that would make the wool too hard.  Would appreciate input from anyone who has any expertise with this procedure.  THANKS!




  1. starzoe | | #1

    I really don't think that washing wool fabric in cold water will do much felting. I have washed wool fabric in warm, but not really hot water and it did felt a little, but not enough to make it stiff. It worked up0 nicely later in a coat and didn't look much different from the previous unfelted coat I had sewn except the fabric was denser.Why not take one of those pieces and put it through a normal wash and see how much, and if they felt? If it doesn't felt enough, up the ante and use hotter water with another trial. It is likely that fabric from your different garments will felt differently.

  2. katina | | #2

    Try searching the Threads index for articles on 'fulling' and 'felting' wool. There are several.


    1. pinkit | | #7

      Katina:  Thanks for your input.  Are you referring to the magazine index or the index here on the gatherings?

      1. katina | | #8

        You're very welcome. Yes, the Magazine Index (the past issues) which is one of the headings at the top of the page. There were several good articles. If you don't have these back issues, I do and can help you with copies, if Threads permits.


        1. pinkit | | #9

          Hi  Katina:  I appreciate all your input.  Obviously you have much more experience with felting/fulling than me.  My experience is limited to not letting it happen to my best woolen pieces.  However, I have just read some of your previous replies in the past on the computer listings.  To answer your current question.  I do have several years back of Threads Magazines and if you have suggestions which ones would be the most helpful I would be grateful for that.

          1. katina | | #10

            I'll go through my copies and let you know as soon as I can.


          2. katina | | #11

            OK, so here's what I found that should help you.

            #61 has a patchwork vest made from sweaters - the technique will help you deal with smaller pieces

            #62 has a "puzzle coat" - felted/fulled fabric made from wool jersey

            #80 a good article by a master in this art - Jean Cacicedo

            #109 very useful article on boiling wool jersey

            Many tips and hints, suggestions in these articles. You can also get info by Googling "fulling; felting"

            Good luck!


          3. pinkit | | #12

            Thanks Katina for all your help.  I will follow up on your suggestions.  I have several years of back issues of THREADS so I must have some of these articles.  Thanks for reminding me of google.

  3. fiberfan | | #3

    I once forgot a wool skirt was in the washer when I put the batch in the dryer.  The skirt shrunk a lot, but the texture didn't change much unlike the times I have washed wool fabric in hot water.  Perhaps the dryer instructions are to limit how much the fabric shrinks/fulls.  I would try that first, if the fabric doesn't change as much as you want you can then try washing it in warm or hot water.


    1. pinkit | | #6

      Thanks fiberfan,  I agree that the dryer temperatures may be something to consider.  Appreciate your input.

  4. starzoe | | #4

    I should have mentioned something else in my earlier post - wool felts when it is subjected to heat, agitation and change of temperature, it will felt for sure if it is washed in hottish water, agitated with something to bash it around (I use an old heavy fleece jacket). And then rinse in cold water. I would check it now and then in the rinse to be sure it doesn't felt too much. Spin dry and lay out flat to dry.

    1. pinkit | | #5

      Thanks Starzoe for your input.  I will keep these suggestions in mind.  Sounds like you have had more experience than me.  I have rarely had a mishap when washing any woolens.

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