I Just Felt Like It – Tutorial for making felt on an embellisher

Felt and some of the raw materials

I have been thinking of how and where to keep the lovely postcards I received from members of the Be Creative group. I couldn’t decide whether I wanted to put them in a book or a box but, I think, I would probably prefer them to be in a box. Hmm. Next problem: how to construct it. I didn’t have a box the right size and I still didn’t have a sewing machine so that restricted some of my options. Anyway, I thought I would start by making some felt on my Janome embellishing machine.

I don’t use my embellisher very often. It’s not because I don’t like it (I love it!) but because I tend to have lots of ‘stuff’ out when I use it which I don’t like to leave lying around as it looks so messy and I know Peter dislikes mess and untidiness. (I haven’t yet figured out how he copes with me and my “put it where I can see it” ways!)

So, whilst Peter was out at an appointment the other day, out came the embellisher, along with just a little ‘stuff’. Although it is possible to make felt with the machine using just wool tops, I decided to use some denim for backing to give it a little more thickness or strength.

Embellishing machine, wool tops
and pot of yarn scraps

This is how I made my embellished felt.

You will need:
Wool tops
Cling film or net fabric
Yarn or fabric scraps for embellishment
Embellishing machine or needle felting tool

1.     If you are using old jeans, cut the legs off the jeans and set aside the denim shorts that are left, either to wear or for another project.

2.     Cut off seams and hems from the legs. Put those aside and keep for use in another project.

3.     Take some wool tops, between about 15 to 25 cms in length.

4.     If you are right-handed, hold the wool tops in your left hand and gently pull some fibres from the length with your right hand.

5.     Lay the wool fibres on the denim. I laid the fibres north to south and filled in some spaces by putting them east to west. Repeat until an area of the denim is covered which can then be covered by a piece of cling film.

6.     Place the denim/wool tops/cling film sandwich under the needles of the embellisher, cling film uppermost. Place your hands on the sandwich, about 7 to 10 cms either side of the needles and apply enough pressure to hold the cling film gently but firmly in place.

7.     Depress the foot pedal so that the needles are punching into the sandwich at a regular speed. Using the pressure of your hands, move the sandwich of fibres slowly around so that all areas are punched by the needles. Once the fibres have begun to felt into the denim, remove the cling film and continue the felting process. Do not overwork the felt at this stage.

8.     Repeat steps 6. and 7. until the the entire piece of denim is covered with wool tops.

9.     Sprinkle scraps of yarn and/fabric across your part-felted fibres.

10.    Gently pull off small amounts of the wool tops and spread very thinly across the scraps on your felt. This will help the scraps to felt into the main piece.

11.    Begin the machine felting again slowly, in the same manner as before, gently gathering speed. Remove the cling film when the scraps have begun to be secured into the felt.

12.    Increase speed of needles and continue felting until all scraps are securely in the felt.

13.    Remove your felt from the machine as it is now ready to use.

These are the two pieces of felt that
I made

I used two legs from jeans and made pieces of felt, as you can see above. I used different scraps for each. For the first I used yarn scraps and this was the result:

Felt made with a denim backing, wool
tops and yarn scraps

The second piece I made using another leg from a pair of denim jeans, wool tops and scraps of vegetarian silk thread. You can see the different appearance from the first piece.

Felt made using denim for the backing, wool
tops and scraps of vegetarian silk thread

I haven’t made the box yet for reasons that will become clear in a subsequent post!


4 thoughts on “I Just Felt Like It – Tutorial for making felt on an embellisher

  1. I have learnt something new, Dina. I didn't know about embellishing machines and especially that you could make felt on them. I like the piece you have produced. Looks very interesting, such a mix of colours and texture. I knew you would make something creative for the cards, not just a simple cardboard box. 🙂


  2. I'm pleased that I have helped to broaden your knowledge, Larisa. I must hold my hands up and admit that I haven't managed to make the box yet. Too many projects, too little energy at the moment.


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