What is Felt? All the Uses, Properties & Types

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What is felt? Felt is a type of fabric that is produced by rolling and pressing different types of fibers together. It is done by using techniques that involve moisture, pressure, and heat. Layers of fabrics are joined together to be matted, resulting in a new type of fabric called “felt.” What is Felt? Felt is usually made of wool or other natural materials, which produces high-quality fabrics. Wool can be matted easily, which can result in an ideal fuzzy fabric whereas adding synthetic fibers can increase the durability of felt.

What is Felt PinWhat is Felt

Contents

What is Felt – HistoryWhat is Felt – TypesWool FeltAcrylic FeltFur FeltRayon FeltPressed FeltNeedled FeltWoven FeltWhat is Felt Used for?What is Felt – AdvantagesWhat is Felt – DisadvantagesWhat is Felt – Impact on the EnvironmentWool FeltSynthetic FeltWhat is Felt – Sewing InstructionsWhat is Felt – ProjectsWhat is Felt? – In Conclusion

What is Felt – History

What is Felt? Felt is known as one of the oldest textiles. Various cultures have legends about the origin of felt-making. One example is in the Sumerian Legends. According to this legend, the secret of making felt is discovered by Urnamman of Lagash.

Felt`s origin is most likely found in Asia, where there is proof of making felts in Siberia and Northern Mongolia. Items made of felt were discovered in Siberian tombs include clothing, wall hanging, jewelry, and horse blankets made of felt.

What is Felt – Types

There are several types of felt categorized by what they are made from and how they are created.

Wool Felt

This type of felt is made by layering combed and carded wool fabrics at 90 degrees. Soap and friction are needed in order for the scales of fibers to interlock and be entangled. The results after this process is a soft and permeable felt fabric. It can be shaped, and it is thicker than many other types of felt because of the layered fibers.

Wool felt does not pill, unlike other types of felt. It is usually made with lanolin which results in making it a water-resistant fabric. On the other hand, this type of felt is more expensive than others and is not suitable for all applications because of its thickness. Wool felt is preferred for making softies and decorations and can be sewn with a sharp hand needle.

Acrylic Felt

Acrylic felt is very cheap and easily available and is often cut into pre-cut squares. One of its benefits is that it does not shrink after you wash it. However, the downside of acrylic felt is that it is not as supple and durable as wool felt.

This type of felt is not also environment friendly because it is made of plastics. Acrylic felt is not as long-lasting as other forms, but despite its downside, you also need to consider its considerably lower price.

What is Felt - Acrylic FeltWhat is Felt - Acrylic FeltPinWhat is Felt – Acrylic Felt

Fur Felt

Fur felt is an impressive type of felt due to its malleability and durability. It can be made into felt hats and into other accessories. Unfortunately, it involves animal killing (fur-bearing animals) to gain this type of felt so is not the felt of choice for most people.

Rayon Felt

Rayon felt is usually used in industrial and medical applications. It has many properties the same as wool felt. One of the good properties of this type of felt is that it can be shaped into various insulative products, but just like all synthetic fibers, it is a non-biodegradable pollutant. Rayon may often be combined with wool felts to produce a softer felt option for crafts.

Pressed Felt

Pressed felt is the oldest type according to human history. It predates weaving and knitting techniques and is the most common type of felt using pure wool or a blend of synthetic and wool fibers.

Needled Felt

Needled felt can be produced by a blend of synthetic and wool fibers or just purely wool fibers. This type uses machines that have thousands of needles to produce less dense type and softer felt fabric. It is usually used for crafts and cushioning. Needling can also be done by hand using a needle with a barb on the end and is an art form in itself. Hand needling is used to produce felt toys and decorations by crafters.

What is Felt - Needled FeltWhat is Felt - Needled FeltPinWhat is Felt – Needled Felt

Woven Felt

Woven felt can be made of wool or a wool blend that is woven into a cloth. This weaving process usually makes the fibers naturally entangled or interlocked. This type of felted fabric is ideal for door seals and musical instruments. Unlike needled and pressed felt, it is able to be produced in thinner sheets.

What is Felt Used for?

Here are just some of the applications that felt can be used for:

Toys for children – Felt can also be used for toys. Wool felt is especially desirable because it is soft and is safe to use.Accessories for women – Felt can be used to make various accessories including hair accessories, handbags and purses, and even shoes. Wool felt is desirable for bags due to its water-resistant properties. Mobile phone covers – Most mobile phones need covers to protect them from scratches or to prevent any more damage when it falls accidentally. Using a mobile cover made of wool felt can help protect your phone. It is also a good way of protecting the environment because it is eco-friendly, rather than using mobile phone covers made of plastics which has harmful effects on the environment.Wall panels made of felt – The purpose of wall panels made from felt is to create a soundproof room. Having wall panels made of felt will not only make the room insulated from sound, but it can also contribute to the decorative design of the room.Decorations – Felt is a good option for making decorations. It is soft and available in infinite colors. This is perfect for holidays or special occasions. For example, you can create ornaments made of felt in the Christmas season, and you can create heart shape felt decorations on Valentines` day. What is Felt Used For - Toys, Hair Accessories, Decorations, BagsWhat is Felt Used For - Toys, Hair Accessories, Decorations, BagsPinWhat is Felt Used For – Toys, Hair Accessories, Decorations, Bags

What is Felt – Advantages

Does not fray – The edges of wool and acrylic felt will not fray. This makes it a great practice material for kids who want to learn sewing. Also, it is an ideal material for making decorations and softie toys with hand-stitched edges.Inexpensive – Although some felts are more expensive than others, felt is generally well priced and accessible for crafting and sewing. Easy to access – Nearly every craft and fabric store will have a felt fabric or squares available. Supermarkets that have basic craft supplies also will usually have sheets of felt fabrics. Don`t forget to check Amazon and eBay for bundles of felt squares. It is versatile – There are endless ways of creating things made of felt. It can be used as accessories, decorations, personalized bunting, and designs for pillows. It can also be used as designs for bags and purses. Thicker types of felt are water-resistant, which makes them a good choice for felt slippers and shoes.

What is Felt – Disadvantages

Elasticity is minimal – Felt fabrics have minimal elasticity because of their thickness. If you manage to stretch felt out, you will probably not be able to return it to its original size.The felt texture is coarse – Many felts are coarse in texture. It also doesn`t have any sheen or luster, unlike silk or satin. This is because of the type of fibers necessary to make felt. Rough fibers are easier to mat rather than soft or shiny fibers.Prone to shrinking – One of the most common disadvantages of felt is that it is prone to shrinking when it is washed improperly, especially felt that is made of natural wool. Shrinking can be avoided by hand washing in cold water. Also, avoid using a tumble dryer for felt fabric.

What is Felt – Impact on the Environment

Wool Felt

What is felt`s impact on the environment? Wool felt and fur felt are some of the most biodegradable substances in our world. The main environmental consideration in making these types of felt is land use and the proper way of treating animals.

Synthetic Felt

On the other hand, natural fibers, such as animals` fur and wool, are better for the environment than synthetic textiles. For example, both rayon and acrylic felt production involve chemicals in the process of making these fabrics. It may also harm the workers who are processing the rayon and acrylic fabric due to the chemicals` harmful effects. Another problem is the disposal of the chemical solutions used to create these products. If it is improperly disposed of, it can harm the environment. 

What is Felt – Sewing Instructions

Read the full article on sewing felt.

Here are a few tips for sewing felt

Use fine to medium sized needles as larger needles may make holes in the felt. For machine sewing, use a Teflon foot that will glide over the felt pile. Seams are best sewn with a smaller stitch length of 2.0Applique can be straight stitched or stitched with a narrow zig-zag on the edge.

What is Felt – Projects

Here are some ideas for felt crafts from the Treasurie blog. Felt is fun and easy to sew for all levels of sewers. You can use your sewing machine or use hand stitches like a running stitch or backstitch.

DIY Felt BowDIY Felt BowPinHair BowsPinFelt Gift BagsPinFelt Pin Cushionfelt bow templatefelt bow templatePinHair Bow

Now you know how to sew felt why not try some fun patterns!

Felt Bow TemplateFree Pincushion PatternDIY Felt BowFelt Gift Bag Pattern

What is Felt? – In Conclusion

What is Felt? In conclusion, it is an old fabric with practical and creative applications, such as clothing and decorations. This type of fabric is soft and durable, depending on its type and how it is produced. The advantages of felt are that it is durable, doesn`t fray, is easy to cut, and generally inexpensive. Its disadvantages are that it is not particularly supple, has the potential to shrink, and has minimal elasticity.

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