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Why does my felt bobble and tear, please please help.

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  • Why does my felt bobble and tear, please please help.

    Can anyone advise me. I have just started using felt (not felted fabric, felt you can buy in craft shops). Well I bought some felt from Hobbycraft:

    it is quite thin but seemed to be okay. Even though it does look like it might rip easily.
    Anyway I have been making toys from the Felted friends book:

    They are very sweet but I gave my first one which was a bunny to my four year old daughter, she has had it less than a week and it already looks years old. The felt has gone all bobbly and the seams look ready to tear.

    Can anyone advice me what I am doing wrong. Am I using the wrong type of felt? I can't find anywhere that says what I should be using.

    Also can you use felt to make toys for new babies? Can you wash it?

    Should I be using fleece instead?

    Very confused. I am very disappointed as have bought loads of this felt but think I have bought the wrong type, and think I am wasting my time making these cute toys if they are just going to fall apart.

    Any advice would be really really appreciated.

    Thank you Mollie

  • #2
    have you tried using an old wool jumper and putting in through a hot wash, you get a much stronger felt from that, i use the felt you are talking about, its very thin....but for needle felting it doesnt have to be strong.
    I hope you find an answer from someone on here soon
    I'M not old...I'm just delightfully retro!!


    • #3
      I too would love to receive any wisdom regarding this.

      I used the polyester felt from craft stores for the facial features on my softies. It was fine for me because my softies just sit on the back of my sofa and watch tv with us. But I made some toys for my sister's toddlers and the next time I saw the toys (couple months) the eyes and mouth were bobbled like you describe.

      Would woollen felt be any better?
      Anz x

      Everytime we move, I have to find new craft shops....
      Anz blog


      • #4
        You want to be buying felt from a dressmakers.....a shop that sells it is a better quality felt and designed for the kind of thing you want to do.

        Hobbycraft (dont support this rip off shop) felt is for cutting out embellishments etc.


        • #5
          Felt comes in different weights. I too find the thin stuff annoying but it's easier to find than the heavier stuff. Actually there must be a range of thicknesses. If you think of bowler or top hats, that felt is mega strong and thick. So, I'd say get into a hunting and gathering mindset and pick up thicker felts when you spot them. If you find a firm that reliably stocks suitable stuff please come back and let us know.


          • #6
            Are you talking about the book by Sue Pearl?

            Felted toys are not sturdy toys, and I believe the law over there is probably about the same as over here - no hand made toys for children for sale without using the prescribed safe materials...

            My personal opinion is that no, these are not toys for kids. (Such books may have been printed before the laws were changed) They are cute little sculptures. I sell them as Christmas tree ornaments (very successful) or stick them on a little wood base and call them collectors items, and stress that they are NOT for children.

            VERY no-no for children and babies - wire armature. Also, felt is easily pulled/chewed/bitten apart, and can be a choking/suffocation hazard and even for the family dog.

            How about making cute felt hats for bigger people and adding a toy pet as an embellishment - don't ask me how to affix it idea. But I have thought of doing that - think it would be darn cute and a good seller!

            There are a number of online suppliers of STURDY felt over here. Don't know about over there...


            • #7
              Attaching little things to hats. How's about sewing them onto tiny safety pins. Then safety pinning them onto hats.
              Or just do the first bit and let people choose what to pin them too.
              Oh just put myself out of business as that is one of my best sellers.......


              • #8
                Hmmm, this has really got me thinking. I make small gnome dolls from wool felt. I haven't had a problem with bobble-ing(think I'm inventing a word). It's very slightly thicker than fabric shop polyester felt. A friend of mine had the same problem with softies that she made (just bobble-ing not falling apart) and we thought it was down to wool/ not wool. (it's inconclusive because the experience put her off making more) She bought her rayon felt from a fabric shop. I can't help thinking EEK!, maybe mine also bobble, but no-one has got back to me to let me know. They aren't really sold as toys, though mainly children have bought them. I need to do some rub tests quick!


                • #9
                  Blooming do felt in differnt thicknesses... may be worth looking there , failing that make your own X


                  • #10
                    Bloomin good site that Blooming Felt, thanks for the tip. I made some felt today, just to see. It's going to take a bit of practice to get it right and probably a change of fleece but, OH MY! I think I feel another obsession coming on!


                    • #11
                      So my daughter has been bobble testing a lavender bag gnome for me this past couple of weeks (since she's all bunged up) and I've hung a tiny gnome from my key chain as well. Both were made from pure wool felt, hers from 2mm thickness mine from 3mm thickness. Hers is already showing signs of pre bobble, though I'm surprised mine is still holding up pretty well despite getting a daily mashing from the keys. I'm inclined to agree with cosmic grammie. Commercially made pressed felt seems to be more of a decorative fabric. I've seen some woven felt, haven't tried it yet but I'm thinking for me, the future for all my sewn felt making might be more in that direction. Thanks for starting the thread.