Monday, 19 April 2010

Using Felt - Eureka!

Over the past four years since I started making 'soft-toys/softies', I must have spent hours trawling the internet for the perfect felt to use in my projects. I've always loved using felt with Harris Tweed - the contrast in the textures is lovely! At the weekend I decided to try a little experiment which seemed to work really well.

Firstly though, I thought I'd share a little of the knowledge I've gleaned over the years about purchasing felt on the internet. I've always found this to be extremely hit and miss - there's a multitude of quality, weight, acrylic/wool, etc. I've used all types - acrylic, acrylic/wool mix, 100% wool, I think they all have their own individual use, depending on what you're using them for. The one thing I've recently taken notes on is the thickness of the felt, which for one reason or another is quite important to me.

Apart from using felt in my 'softies', I also use it as a lining fabric. If you're looking for felt of a specific thickness, this is the guide I've taken notes for, for myself. Not hard and fast rules - just a guide!

Felt Thickness

1 mm felt - your standard acrylic felt craft sheets tend to be about 1 mm, useful for anything - applique, embellishments, etc. Not very heavy obviously, but you can get it in all sorts of colours and it's fun to use.

2 mm felt - I've purchased quite a selection of 2 mm felt recently, partially for use as a lining fabric. I needed a stronger, heavier felt so 2 mm thickness seemed about right.

3 mm felt - now you're talking!! Some of my 'softies' require felt of an almost rigid thickness/quality eg. the antennae on my ladybirds, the bee-sting on my bumblebees, well you can't have a floppy bee-sting, can you , hehe!! 3 mm felt seems to be the correct thickness to look for if you're wanting a heavyweight thick felt.

'Sandwiching' Felt - Eureka!!

Sometimes I have to resort to sandwiching felt together using fabric glue to get the thickness I require. It's a bit of a 'faff' but sometimes necessary. However at the weekend, I decided to try another method of 'making' thick felt. I've had some Bondaweb in for some time - I only use it occasionally. I'm not sure what the US equivalent is, but you know the stuff I mean - fusible web for bonding fabrics together eg. for doing applique work, etc.

Well, it occurred to me, why not try using Bondaweb to fuse two layers of felt together to create a double thickness - Eureka!!, it worked! Quite often I use felt from Myriadonline - a lovely 100% wool felt in really pretty colours. It's probably about 1.75 mm thick, lovely quality but I wanted it to be thicker and the Bondaweb experiment worked - I was delighted to get the weight of felt I wanted at last! A lovely 3 mm+ thick felt. I've ony tried this once, so it's not a guaranteed success but it's a good start!

So if you're using felt in your softie-making, craft projects, etc, I hope this is of a little help. If you have a rough idea of the thickness of felt you're looking for, it makes it so much easier to purchase it online if you know the difference - thickness is often described in millimetres (mm). I'm off to 'sandwich' some felt now, well perhaps after I've done some darned chores, hehe!

Happy Monday!


janet said...

love the orange and green!

june at noon said...

Very interesting. I have a hard time finding good felt locally, although sometimes it can be found. So much nicer to be able to see and touch it before buying with all that variation!

ArtMind said...

I love felt! I hate the acrylic stuff though - it's so gross to even touch it! Love the wool felt! Good that you found a good supplier!

Tweed Delights said...

He he, I agree Mitsy - wool is best! :D

Bristol Parenting Cafe said...

Thanks for this - I am thinking about making a crown for my daughters birthday next month and Myriad was one of the suppliers on my list but I wasn't sure if it would be thick enough but Bondaweb - great idea!