The use of felt for making clothes and accessories dates back to ancient Greece and Rome. The men's felt hat became popular during the mid-19th century with the invention of a felt-making machine. If you have a washing machine, you too can make felt. Sweaters made of 100 per cent wool work best for felting. The wool fibres when exposed to warm water and agitation interlock, creating a dense fabric that will not unravel when cut. You can use felted sweaters to create a variety of projects, from hats to mittens to slippers.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- 1 sheet of white paper
- 1 sheet of tracing paper
- Pen or marker
- Several wool sweaters
- Sewing machine
- Measuring tape
- Washing machine
- 2 lint-free pieces of clothing
- Mesh lingerie bag
Place sweater in a mesh lingerie bag.
Put the sweaters and a few other lint-free items, such as jeans or cotton shirts, in the washing machine. The extra items will help provide the right amount of friction during agitation.
Start a regular, warm-water wash cycle.
Check the sweaters periodically to determine if they have reached the desired size.
Remove the sweaters and stretch and pull them until you achieve the shapes your want.
Allow the felted sweaters to dry completely before using them.
Once dry, cut the arms out of the sweaters and cut along the shoulder seams. This will give you two larger pieces of felt to work with.
Trace around the sole of a shoe onto a piece of paper. A flip flop makes a good template for the sole.
Align a piece of tracing paper on top of the paper with the sole template. Make sure the sheets of paper stay aligned while making the upper template.
Draw a dot on the tracing paper at the middle of the front of the sole template.
From the dot trace a line around the right side of the sole template, stopping where the heel begins.
Draw a two-inch straight line up to the left from where you stopped tracing at the heel.
Measure from the middle of the top of your foot to the tip of your toes.
Draw a straight line reflecting the measurement taken of the top of your foot from your original dot on the tracing paper in toward the middle of the sole template, creating a plateau.
Use a curved line to connect the top of the heel line to the end of the line representing the top of your foot, closing the shape of the upper.
Draw a second line 1/2 inch from the original lines on both the upper and slipper sole templates. This will give you a 1/2-inch seam allowance.
Cut out both templates.
Stack two pieces of felt, right sides together.
Pin the template for the sole to the material and cut out the pieces.
Fold a piece of felt in half and pin the upper template, still folded with right sides together on the fabric. Make sure the plateau portion of the template is flush with the fold.
Cut out two uppers. When unfolded, the uppers should look like horseshoes.
Pin the uppers to the soles, right sides of the uppers facing the wrong sides of the sole.
Stitch the uppers to the soles using a 1/2-inch seam allowance, stitching the heel first and working in any excess fabric as you finish sewing the upper to the sole.
Trim and notch seams around the curves.
Turn the slippers right sides out.
Tips and warnings
- Use a wire brush on your finished felted sweater to create a soft finish.
- To save time, download a slipper template.
- Do not put a felted sweater in the dryer because it will shrink the fabric.
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