Felt is a simple yet wonderfully versatile material. Unlike most fabrics the fibres from which it is made are not carefully organised, but instead are randomly tangled together. This creates a soft yet strong material that can be shaped into a wide variety of forms.
There are two basic methods of felting, traditional wet felting and modern needle felting. In wet felting fibres are wet with soapy water and “massaged” to case them to intertwine. Needle felting achieves the same entanglement using barbed needles that are repeatedly jabbed into the material. In both methods the longer you work (or “full”) the fabric the tighter the fibres bind together and the denser the material produced becomes.
Needle felting by hand gives excelling control of detail, but is time consuming and thus is usually used to create small sculptural objects. Wet felting is used to create larger and stronger items. At Somnus and Seb we use a unique combination of the two. Our products are wet felted, but then needle felting is used to add detail. Our stress balls for instance are wet felted around a form, cut open to be filled, then closed up again using needle felting to give a seamless finish. Our apples are made by a similar process but needle felted for longer to give them a more sculptural shape. To make our Kentish Creatures we decorate a wet felted base using needle felting to appliqué shapes cut out of felt sheets.
Wool felt can pill with extensive use, but don't worry our products are made with a thick layer of felt that is designed to last. Just use a sharp pair of scissors to cut off the pilling and the felt will be as good as new.