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Unread 07-12-2016, 07:37 PM   #1
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Softening wool felt?

Hello,

Any way to soften up wool felt so it drapes better?

I've been using wool felt for a bit and really like it, but I just made a capelet out of it and it barely drapes. Its the 70% Rayon 30% Wool mix they sell for about $10 a yard at Joanns (it might 75-25, respectively). Unfortunately Google searching isn't helping me at all.

Thank you!
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Unread 07-13-2016, 06:57 AM   #2
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Not really. That kind of felt really isn't intended for the kind of sewing you are using it for. The reason they sell it in large quantities like that is, it is easy to use, they expect mothers of five year olds to be gluing together shepherd costumes from it for the Kinder Christmas Pageant, not serious costuming.

It's a common beginner mistake to fall for buying a fabric that is very low price for the quantity. Usually I wind up giving this talk to people who bought lining taffeta and don't understand why it sucks so bad. Don't feel bad, we all buy something not-right from time to time.

You can buy 100% felted wool by the yard that can be shaped, but the price is scary and it really isn't softer, just shapeable. https://www.etsy.com/listing/6262314...f=sr_gallery_2

Real felted clothing, like this link: https://www.pinterest.com/rewildport...elted-clothes/
are 100% wool and a process called wet felting was likely used, which one shapes the wool as the wool is created. Wet felting is fun and very beginner friendly as a physical process, but 100% wool roving is not cheap in the quantities one would need to so something like a cowl, capelet or full cape.
http://rosiepink.typepad.co.uk/rosie...beginners.html
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Last edited by Penlowe : 07-13-2016 at 07:12 AM.
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Unread 07-13-2016, 07:38 AM   #3
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Well, I actually used this material prior to for cosplaying and had great results with a coat. Also, I got it not for the price, but for the make up of it, and being a very breathable material.

At this point the capelet is "finished" with all the designs and such on it, so I guess my question is: Is there any other heavier material I can add to the underside of it to force the capelet to drape?
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Unread 07-13-2016, 07:19 PM   #4
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No, not really. Penlowe's right about the properties of wool felt - the key word here is not "wool," it's "felt." Felting is a process to make the product have a very particular texture and purpose. Felt, by its very nature, is not meant to drape the way clothing drapes.

You're pretty much stuck with it. The only time I've ever notice wool felt (genuine wool felt, not acrylic-based) soften is through wear and tear - it takes a lot of time and very gentle wear for 100% wool felt to become a little more limp. But the acrylic content in your felt is what's causing the problem, and ain't no solution to that. Interfacing or other products will only make it stiffer, it won't change the thickness or hand of the fabric, which is the property by which it drapes. Even sewing small washers or weights along the hem will make it drag to those spots but hang unnaturally in between.

You're right, wool is a great, breathable fiber. But if you want your garments to drape like garments are supposed to drape, ditch the felt and start using actual fabrics. Cottons and linens are also breathable and less expensive than wool/wool blends, but you can easily find wool and wool blends if you like that texture or want the authenticity for historical/fantasy clothing.
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Unread 07-15-2016, 09:46 PM   #5
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Given the above explanations about the behavior of felt, one thing you might be able to try is to put the capelet through the drier with absolutely no heat, tumble only, along with tennis balls or scrupulously clean shoes (or you could, like, use a cement mixer or industrial rock tumbler, if you happen to have a clean one of those hanging around). Essentially, trying to beat the felt enough for the fibers to relax and/or break down a bit through mechanical wear. No guarantees about the state of the item, though, so maybe experiment with scrap pieces to see if it will get you closer to your desired drape behavior. Caveat utilitor, as it were.
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Unread 07-16-2016, 06:03 AM   #6
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Quote:
try is to put the capelet through the drier with absolutely no heat, tumble only, along with tennis balls or scrupulously clean shoes (or you could, like, use a cement mixer or industrial rock tumbler, if you happen to have a clean one of those hanging around).
NNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Felt is not a woven, this will DESTROY your felt!
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