How to Make a Felted Wool Purse
Jessica de Haas demonstrates how to create specialty purses with her wool-felting process.
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Materials and Tools:
hand-dyed merino wool
wool drum carder
large felting table with raised edges and a drain in the center
fiberglass window screening
serrated bowl lid
sewing machine with embroidery free arm
1. Run the merino wool through a wool drum carding machine.
2. Cut the wool bat and brush it away from the drum when the wool is thick.
3. Continue making wool bats until the desired amount is attained.
4. Place a bamboo mat on the felting table. Lay a piece of silk on top of the mat. Place the wool bats on top of the silk. Fill in any blank areas with small pieces of wool.
5. Place small shaped cutouts of silk randomly over the wool bats.
6. Cover the wool with a large piece of window screen.
7. Working in small sections, apply dish soap on top of the window screen.
8. Pour hot water over the soap. Continue until the entire window screen is covered with soap and water.
9. Using a serrated plastic or rubber bowl lid, rub the soap and water into the wool through the screening. Wear rubber gloves.
10. Roll up the bamboo mat containing the wool and window screen inside. Unroll the mat.
11. Peel off the screen carefully from the wool. Put the screen back down over the wool and repeat the soap-and-water rubbing process. Roll the wool up again inside the bamboo screen.
12. Repeat the rolling and scrubbing process for about two hours.
13. Unroll the bamboo mat, remove the screen and squeeze the excess water out of the wool. Put the wool in the dryer to complete the felting process.
14. To make the purse, place the purse pattern on the felted wool yardage and trace around it with tailor's chalk. Cut out the front and back of the purse. Cut two strips of wool for the handles the desired length.
15. Using the sewing machine free-arm embroidery technique, sew decorative stitching around the silk cutouts that are now embedded in the felted wool.
16. With right sides together, sew the front of the bag to the back. Turn the bag right side out.
17. Stitch a zipper in the top of the bag.
18. Stitch the two strips of wool for the handles together with right sides together and turn right side out.
19. Attach the handle to the felted wool purse at the sides.
Jessica de Haas has always loved fibers and has been sewing since she was a kid. She made a felted wool jacket for a friend of hers and the response blew her away. Little by little she has expanded her work and now she creates hand-dyed, hand-felted wool jackets, hats, purses and more.
Elke Amenda-Spirakis shares her process for making batts and then needle-felting this wooly cat.