How to work with needled prefelts (Felting Fabric




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Felting Instructions

Garment Yardage from Felting Fabric Using a Washing Machine
by Jill Gully of Outback Fibers

Needled pre-felts (such as Outback ProFusion) make yardage production much less labor-intensive.

A full-size roll of felting fabric (60x80) will produce enough yardage to make a hip-length jacket with sleeves.

For garment-weight felt, a double thickness is required for the base.  If no additional design elements are to be added to the surface, three layers are suggested.  The jacket pictured began with a double base-layer of black.  Large pieces of pre-felt are then cut from other colors and placed in overlapping designs over the black base.  In some areas there are only the two layers of black, but in many other areas, the layers are mostly three or even four in thickness.

A large work surface is required.  Rubber carpet underlay comes in 6x8 sizes which are perfect for this.

Other options are to cut approximate pattern pieces (allowing for approx. 45% shrinkage) and make each piece individually.  This permits more precise design elements such as borders and edgings, but is more time-consuming in the preparation and calculations.

 When all fiber layers are in place, cover the entire piece with protective netting fabric and wet down with warm soapy water.  Rub in small circles over the entire piece to push water through all layers and assist the connection between the layers of pre-felt.  Once the whole piece appears flat (no puffy, dry patches), roll up in your matting, being careful not to roll any creases into your felt, and roll back and forth for 10-12 minutes.  Unroll and roll up again from the other end rolling for another 10 minutes.  If a sander is used after the rubbing, the rolling can be reduced to 3-4 minutes each end.

This should be sufficient to ensure full connection between all layers.  At this point felting can proceed in the washing machine.  Because of the nature of the needled pre-felt fabric, the lack of long, loose wool fibers makes it possible to use the washing machine with less concern about the piece felting to itself during the process.

A front-loading washing machine is the preferred option as there is no central agitator to beat against specific areas of the felt.  If all layers appear well-connected, the netting fabric can be set aside at this point.  If using a top-loading machine, felt would need to be rolled between layers of netting fabric and tied at least in the early stages.  This is mostly to prevent damage to the felt by the agitator.

Loosely place the felt in the drum of your washer and set to the shortest, most gentle, cycle.  It is best if the machine has options to stop and start the cycle so that the felt can be checked to prevent edges rolling over on themselves, and areas sticking to one another.  Gentle stretching can also be done with each pause in the cycle.  Three or four interruptions should be sufficient to prevent disaster. Warm water is preferable at this point.  No additional soap is necessary.

A full cycle should be sufficient to bring the felt to its fully felted condition evidenced by the pebbled texture of the surface.  Elements such as water softness, size of washer drum and length of cycle can all affect the felt.  If felt still appears soft after one cycle, try a second cycle with hotter water.  Small degrees of extra finishing can also be accomplished by placing the felt in the dryer on med-high heat for short spurts.  Check frequently, stretching often.

Iron while damp to block and stretch felt into shape.  Felt can be stretched to increase length or width by more than an inch at this point, so measure against pattern pieces to determine necessary finished size.

Email pictures of finished garments for posting to the website.

Back to main ProFusion Felting Fabric Instructions
Making a Scarf from Profusion Felting Fabric


Jill is available for teaching Outback Felting Workshops to a group or privately. Please call or email for more information.

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for merino wool roving, pre-felts, and silk fibers

Address:  PO Box 55, Coaldale, CO  81222
Phone orders: 512-222-WOOL (9665) or 800-276-5015
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