If you’ve ever tried to sew felt, you know that it can be a challenging material to work with. Felt is thick, dense, and can be difficult to feed through a sewing machine, causing skipped stitches, broken needles, and other problems.
Despite its challenges, felt is a popular fabric for crafting and sewing, making it important to know how to sew it successfully.
In this article, we’ll explore some of the common problems that arise when sewing felt and provide tips and solutions to overcome them.
Table of Contents
Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced sewer, this guide will help you navigate the unique challenges of sewing with felt and achieve professional-looking results.
Difficulty Cutting Felt
Felt is a popular material for sewing projects, but it can be challenging to cut. Here are some common difficulties you may encounter when cutting felt:
- Fraying: Felt has a tendency to fray, which can make it difficult to get clean edges when cutting. This can be especially problematic if you are cutting intricate shapes or patterns.
- Thickness: Felt can be quite thick, which can make it challenging to cut with precision. This can be particularly true if you are using a rotary cutter or scissors.
- Sliding: Felt can be slippery, which can cause it to slide around while you are cutting. This can make it difficult to get accurate cuts.
Fortunately, there are some strategies you can use to overcome these challenges:
- Use sharp scissors or a rotary cutter: A sharp blade will make it easier to cut through the thickness of the felt, and will help prevent fraying.
- Use a stabilizer: A stabilizer can help keep the felt in place while you are cutting, and can help prevent slipping.
- Use a die-cutting machine: A die-cutting machine can be a great option for cutting felt, as it can help you get precise cuts without worrying about slipping or fraying.
By using these strategies, you can overcome the difficulties associated with cutting felt and create beautiful projects with ease.
Felt has little to no stretch (makes curved or fitted designs difficult)
One of the most challenging aspects of sewing with felt is its lack of stretch. Unlike other fabrics that have some give, felt is a non-stretch material that makes it difficult to create curved or fitted designs.
When working with felt, it is important to keep in mind that its stiffness and lack of stretch can cause the fabric to pucker or warp when trying to sew it into curved or fitted shapes.
This can result in a less-than-perfect finish, which can be frustrating for any sewer.
Here are some tips to help you sew felt with ease:
- Use a pattern that is designed specifically for felt or non-stretch fabrics. This will help you avoid the frustration of trying to fit a stretch pattern to a non-stretch fabric.
- When sewing curved shapes, try using small, closely spaced stitches to help ease the fabric into shape.
- Consider using an interfacing or stabilizer to help give your felt fabric some structure and support.
- When sewing fitted designs, it is important to take accurate measurements and make a muslin mock-up to ensure a proper fit before cutting into your felt fabric.
By following these tips, you can overcome the challenges of working with non-stretch felt fabric and create beautiful, professional-looking projects.
Difficulty Sewing Felt
Felt is a popular fabric choice for many sewing projects, but it can also be a challenge to work with.
Here are some common difficulties you may encounter when sewing with felt:
- Fraying: Felt is prone to fraying, which can make it difficult to work with. To prevent fraying, consider using a rotary cutter instead of scissors to cut your felt, and use a fray check product on the edges.
- Thick Fabric: Felt is thicker than many other fabrics, which can make it difficult to sew. To make it easier to sew, use a larger needle, such as a 14 or 16, and use looser, medium length stitches instead of tight, short ones.
- Stretching: Felt can stretch easily, which can make it difficult to sew accurately. To prevent stretching, consider using a stabilizer, such as fusible interfacing, on the back of your felt before sewing.
By being aware of these common difficulties, you can take steps to prevent them and make your felt sewing projects go more smoothly.
Felt Puckers or Bunches Up
One of the most common problems when sewing felt is that it can pucker or bunch up during the sewing process. This can be frustrating, especially if you are trying to create a smooth and even finish.
There are several reasons why this can happen:
- Tension too tight: If the tension on your sewing machine is too tight, it can cause the felt to pucker or bunch up. Make sure to adjust the tension according to the thickness of the felt you are using.
- Uneven pressure: If you are not applying even pressure to the felt while sewing, it can cause it to pucker. Make sure to hold the felt down firmly and apply consistent pressure while sewing.
- Using the wrong needle: Using the wrong type of needle can also cause the felt to pucker. Make sure to use a needle that is appropriate for the thickness of the felt you are using. A needle that is too small or too large can cause problems.
- Stretching the felt: Felt generally doesn’t regain its shape after being stretched. If you are pulling or stretching the felt while sewing, it can cause it to pucker or bunch up. Make sure to handle the felt gently and avoid stretching it while sewing.
If you are experiencing problems with puckering or bunching, try adjusting the tension on your sewing machine, applying even pressure to the felt, using the appropriate needle, and avoiding stretching the felt while sewing. With a little practice and patience, you can create a smooth and even finish when sewing with felt.
Felt Frays or Unravels
Felt is a popular fabric for crafting and sewing projects because of its soft texture, durability, and versatility. However, one of the most common problems when working with felt is fraying or unraveling.
Here are some tips to prevent this issue:
- Use high-quality felt: The quality of the felt you use can make a big difference in how it holds up during sewing. Look for felt made from 100% wool or wool blend, which tends to be more durable and less likely to fray.
- Prevent fraying with a fabric sealant: Before sewing, apply a fabric sealant to the edges of your felt pieces. This will help prevent fraying and keep your project looking neat and tidy.
- Use pinking shears: If you don’t have a fabric sealant, you can use pinking shears to cut the edges of your felt. This will create a zigzag pattern that helps prevent fraying.
- Consider using industrial felt: Industrial felt is a sturdier felt that is less likely to fray or unravel. It can be a good choice for projects that will get a lot of wear and tear, such as bags or clothing.
By following these tips, you can avoid the frustration of felt fraying or unraveling during your sewing projects.
Sewing felt with a blunt needle can cause the fabric to snag
When sewing with felt, it is important to use the right needle. A blunt or snagged needle can catch on the fabric, causing pulls and damaging the felt. This is especially true for wool felt, which is more delicate than synthetic felt.
Here’s a guide to understanding numbers and colors on needles.
Using a sharp needle with a smaller size can prevent this problem.
A size 14 or 16 needle is recommended for sewing felt. It is also important to change the needle frequently, especially if you are working on a larger project.
A dull needle will not only snag the fabric, but it can also break or bend, making it difficult to complete the project.
Another tip is to avoid using too much pressure when sewing. Felt is a dense fabric, and pushing the needle too hard can cause it to snag or even break. Using a light touch and letting the needle do the work can make a big difference.
In summary, sewing felt with a blunt needle can cause the fabric to snag and ruin your project. Make sure to use a sharp needle with the right size and change it frequently. Avoid using too much pressure when sewing, and let the needle do the work. By following these tips, you can avoid this common problem and enjoy the process of sewing with felt.
The thickness of felt can create bulky seams
Felt is a dense fabric that can be difficult to sew. Its thickness can create bulky seams that may be unsightly or uncomfortable. Here are some tips to help you avoid this problem:
- Use a sharp needle: A sharp needle will help you pierce through the felt more easily, creating smaller holes and reducing the bulk of the seams.
- Use a smaller stitch length: A shorter stitch length will help you create tighter, more compact seams, reducing the amount of bulk in your project.
- Trim excess fabric: After sewing your seams, trim any excess fabric from the seam allowance. This will help reduce the bulk of the seam and make it easier to work with.
- Use a lighter weight felt: If you are having trouble with bulky seams, try using a lighter weight felt. This will be easier to sew and will create less bulk in your seams.
Remember, working with felt can be challenging, but with a little patience and practice, you can create beautiful projects that will last for years to come.