I use a felting machine in order to machine-needle-felt wool/cashmere fibers together to make my Katwise-inspired sweater-coats, hats and arm-warmers with a real luxurious twist. I've had people ask me about this machine lately, so I figured it was time to post some info for those interested in more details....
I must say first, machine-needle-felting these makes an entirely different garment from a non-felted one. The material created is thicker, softer, warmer, and holds its shape a lot better and is less prone to distortion. It also provides enough structure to enable me to machine-embroider and sew sequins on my coats - something you will NOT see on other Katwise-style coats. 😎 If you love the look of my coats and want to try to create one yourself, I will tell you right now, you cannot make them to look like mine without this amazing machine. So read on, and be enlightened... 😁
A felting machine looks like a sewing machine, but isn't. There's no thread, no bobbin, NOPE. Sacrilege, you say! 😱 Actually.... bear with me.. The felting machine uses a cluster of needles, typically anywhere from 5-12 needles which all have nasty, nasty little sharp barbs on them. The thing looks like a torture device, seriously! The barbed needles punch up and down through the fabric, tangling the fibers together on very small scale. This causes the fabric pieces to mesh together, using no thread. With wool/cashmere fibers, it basically felts the fibers but gives you a lot more control and precision than, say wet felting (aka nuno-felting), or purposefully washing your wool/cashmere in warm water. This is what enables me to take a 2-ply cashmere sweater, mesh it in a double layer and create a luxurious, super soft and warm 4-ply cashmere material. It is AWESOME. And I am very very very very very mad at Babylock for discontinuing this beautiful machine.😡 Here's the original product page:
It's hard to see here, but this is Mr. Stabby's fabric torturing device. You will see very tiny dots on the needles. Those are the barbs. Mr. Stabby is a 12-needle machine, but the cluster of needles is still only about the size of a finger, and that's why it takes so long to felt a larger surface area. The upside is that this gives me a bit more control.
Here's a close-up of the needles:
I really wanted to do a video of my own so you could see "Mr. Stabby" and "Sir Lances-A-Lot" in action, but Emma from Stitch and Create just did such a stunning job with this one (and I just love her voice), she covers even so much more than I'm doing, and I thought you'd like to see the incredibly wide variety of things you can do with this machine. The 12-needle cluster only covers an area about the size of a finger, so that is also why it takes me so much longer to make my Katwise-inspired coats with all the felting work on the bodice, sleeves and parts of the hood. Since I'm using this on something intended as a garment rather than art to hang on the wall, it's important to be very thorough. I don't skimp on time - the idea is that your recycled garment should truly last. I am going to shed bitter tears the day Mr. Stabby and Sir Lances-a-Lot cross over the rainbow bridge, because with this machine you can do sooooo much more than typical Katwise-inspired coats that you might have seen.
If you're not ready to go all-out on a coat, you can always look into one of my needle-felted hats or arm-warmers. You can also just order a cheapie $2.00 sample of felted wool/cashmere or 100% cashmere so you can see the difference for yourself before you make a big investment like one of my coats, and those are here:
https://www.persephonelove.com/collections/random-oddball-bits If you order anything else from me and want a sample sent along with it, just let me know and I'll just include it along with your new purchased treasure - I try to ship pretty quickly though so send me an email and let me know you want this included before I send your item out!
I am warning you though, the felted 100% cashmere is absolutely luxurious and addictive. When I sell my works at local craft fairs, most folks aren't able to hold the arm-warmers/hats without taking one home. The needle-felted cashmere really is that awesome. 😎
If you want to try to snag a felting machine for your own use and try this out, I got my backup machines off of Ebay. Click HERE to see if there are any up for grabs right now. See, am I not helpful? 🥰
Felting machines DO come in industrial grade versions for felting large areas of fabric, but they are an investment of several thousand dollars. They are SO cool though, I hope one day to own one!! The sound quality isn't so good on this one, but I wanted you to get to see what a larger industrial grade felting machine can do...👇
The machine above comes from Feltloom.
Another company, FeltCrafts, also has a decent demo video showing what you can make with industrial needle-felting machines... so cool!! 👇
That video above is from FeltCrafts.
On both of those industrial machines, you can see the needles are moving a lot slower, but covering a wider area. I suspect that it probably takes several passes through an industrial machine to get the same super-felted result that my sweatercoats have. Oh I still want one though... because an industrial grade machine with a bed and rollers that pull the fabric into the machine, would likely enable me to use even more of the super-small odd-shaped wool/cashmere pieces that I typically end up with. I use up most, but not all of the wool/cashmere and have a growing pile that I'm saving in hopes of one day owning one of these fantastic machines. 😍🙏
Also - I don't do "affiliate links", so there's no financial incentive for me to ever steer you one way or another. I prefer it that way. Do check out the rest of my blog, there's useful stuff there whether you are a coat-shopper or just an idea-shopper. If you dig up anything here that was massively helpful or inspirational or that just made you grin from ear to ear, you can always buy me a one dollar bag 'o sparkles and it is greatly appreciated. 🥰 My virtual "tip jar" is here:
Truth be told though, your likes/shares/follows on social media are worth a LOT more to me, though🥰 .. and your virtual support on social media costs you nothing at all. 😎 Here I am on social media:
And if you're one of my fans/followers, thanks sew much!! 🥰 I hope this was an enlightening read. Oooo if you dive into the world of machine-needle-felting, send me a photo of your first project - I would love to see it.
Looking for more sewing tidbits?
- Read more about SERGERS..
- How to conquer the ZIPPER in a supercool way..
- Where I get my SUPPLIES...
- Read more about COAT MASTERY...