Sunday, March 25, 2012

How to Felt Wool Sweaters

Tutorial on felting wool

How to make wool sweaters into felt, so you can make other crafts "like a bow"

Exhibit A

DIY Felting wool

  I have a great new tutorial all ready and I am so excited to share it with you.  This tutorial is all about how to make bows from felted wool.  Sounds freaking cool right?...Okay, well it is there!

 I spent a long time working on it, in hoped that it would turn out great. So I did all these little time consuming extras. I am talking about things like fancy picture effects, with clever little captions. See exhibit A.  (one of the lovely pictures that I spent so much time on).

 When I was all finished with my beautifully executed tutorial, about making bows with felted wool.  I excitedly rushed off to go publish my newest tutorial.  Feeling that when I pushed the publish button that I was going to be propelled into the next level of craft blogs.  After all I would be helping crafters world wide with my "bow".  Sounds ridicules now...looking back on the whole thing.

 Well just as I was about to push publish and help change the world. I was hit by a harsh realization.  I froze and my mouth fell open and I felt devastated inside. I had just realized. …"what if you don’t know how to felt wool"?

 I had just spent hours and hours of my time on a tutorial about using felted wool, with out including any directions on  how to felt wool.   My previously happy visions of you reading my tutorial with such enthusiasm, that you immediately set out making a  bunch of bows...CRUSHED.  Replaced by New visions.  Visions of you reading my tutorial with just as much enthusiasm, wanting to make just as many bows. Only you need to learn how to felt wool.  You look around my new little blog and can't find any thing on felting.  So off you go, over to a more established blog. One that will have provided easy felting directions!  Now you are gone and…never ever coming back.  I felt sad. I wanted to cry.

 But instead I pulled my self together.  I took a Valium and a few deep breaths and started out ready to fix the sad situation.  So that is how I created this post.


How to Felt Wool, In Case you Want to Make a Wool Bow 

Wool I felted this week

Before you can get to the fun of felting, you need to know a few things. 

First the basics  

There are a few different methods too felt wool, I am going to tell you about the method that I like, and use most often.  This method is called washing machine felting.  Felting can be a lot of fun.  You put something old into the washing machine and it comes out a new fabric just waiting to be refashioned. Once the fabric is felted it is very easy to work with.  Everything that you felt will turn out a little different, so its always a surprise.  You can have two sweaters that are both made out of 100% wool. After you felt them they will each look a little different, but still awesome.


 Next some tips 

Q: What can be felted?  
A: All animal fibers except silk can be felted.  AS far as mixes some will give you a very beautiful result.(My favorite mix to work with is 70% wool, 20% angora, 10% nylon!  I LOVE when I find this mix)  Myself I would not buy something for felting that is less than 70% wool.

Q: The first time I felt what should I use?
A: Starting with 100% wool is a good idea because it works the best with the least amount of work.  However the felting process is easy and you can't mess it up(well you would really have to try to mess it up) so feel free to start with what ever item you want.  

Q: Wow Kasey, how did you learn this?
A: I first learned it on acceded when I washed my first angora sweater on hot. 

Q: I need some patterns to use my felted wool on.
A: I own a great book that has directions and patterns to make all types of things with felted sweaters.  The book is called Sweater Surgery by Stephanie Girard. I recommend this book to anyone who need some more idea, or patterns.

*Side note, things can be felted other than wool (like 100% angora).  I am less familiar with other fibers.  So this article is about wool felting, but that is not all that can be felted. If you have questions about other fibers I might be able to help 

If you have any more questions please ask me because I obsessively check for questions from you.

Okay then, let’s get started!

Step 1

Get the wool sweater that you want to felt.  

(or what ever wool item you have selected, I am going with a sweater) I got my sweater at the local thrift store. 

Step 2

Protect your washing machine.

Put the sweater into a pillowcase. Then twist the open end of the pillow case shut.  Secure the twisted end shut with a rubber-band.(I like the hair kind).

During the felting process a lot of fibers come off the item you are felting . They will get everywhere and make a huge mess of wool fuzz balls.  You will be cleaning out your washing machine and your laundry room for weeks. Not to mention possibly ruin your washing machine for good. So don't let the fuzziness take over! Don't skip step 2.  It is a simple step that will make the whole process a much happier one

Put the sweater into a pillow case and secure the open end with a rubber band.

Step 3 

Load the washing machine

Place the items(a bunch of sweaters individuality warped in pillow cases) in the washing machine. Also put a pair of jeans that will not fade into the washing machine. Agitation helps the felting process.  So adding a pair or two of jeans into the load will create more agitation. More agitation creates better felting. :)

(this step is optional but I like to do it) Add about a tablespoon of little Arm &Hammer Baking Soda,  Along with a tablespoon or two of your favorite laundry detergent.  A little soap goes a long way when working with wool.

 Step 4

Start the washer

Make sure that you use the correct settings, the names of the settings will vary depending on your machine. The settings you want are...

  • The hottest wash cycle, this starts the felting process
  • The cold rinse cycle, the cold water stops the felting process
  • The strongest agitation, agitation helps the felting, remember that is why we added the jeans
  • The longest wash cycle, This give you time to get your item fully felted

Step 5
The wash cycle  

If you just put the sweater in the washing machine on hot, then leave the washer do its thing.  Your felting project will turn out just fine.  If you are not working with 100% wool you might end up having to do the whole process again  in order to get your sweater all the way felted.

                However if you can't just let the washing machine do it's thing.  If you need to have more  control then here are a few more tips for feeling like your in charge!

Tips for people who need more control

While the wash cycle is going keep an eye on things. I do this by leaving the top open, preventing the cycle from finishing with out my permission. (Not all washing machines work this way)  Sometimes you might think that your sweater is not felted enough.  So you can  turn the dial back and let it  agitate longer, or vice versa

Step 6

Yeah the fun part! 

Before felting

When the wash cycle is finished pull the sweaters out of the pillow cases.  Then you can either hang them to dry or put them in the dryer(this will felt them even more and I almost always put them in the dryer) If you feel you want more felting when the sweater is dry you can repeat the whole process.  An item that is less than 100% wool will often need more than one cycle of felting.

If you just put the sweater in the washing machine on hot, then leave the washer do its thing.  Your felting project will turn out just fine.  You might end up having to do this again (especially if your not using 100% wool).  

Look at this wool skirt I felted

Yeah you are all finished! Hope you enjoyed to tutorial. Let me know if you try it how it turns out.  If you have any questions please feel free to ask me.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Upcylce a Sweater into a useful Bow

Tutorial on a Felted Wool Bow

Some of the uses of this felted wool bow

  I absolutely love working with felted sweaters. Felted sweaters are fun and easy make. If you don't know how to make felted wool, then check out my step by step tutorial on how to felt wool, and you will be all set. 

The possibilities are endless with felted wool. You can make so much more than the commonly known arm warms, mittens and beanies, out of old sweater. I think that Kris over at Resweater is the queen of sweater upcycling. I am always inspired by her ideas, check out her page, I think you will be inspired too!

A lot of very nice and vaey complex stuff can be created with felted wool. However a lot of very nice, and very easy beginner projects can be created with it. So I hope you are ready for a month of fun and easy beginner projects with felted wool.

The first thing I am going to make with this sweater will be a cute little bow.
Ok, let's get started!

Step 1

Gather the supplies.
For this you will need a felted turtleneck sweater, scissors, hair clip, needle and thread.

Step 2

Cut the turtle neck portion away from the sweater. Put the rest aside for the next project.

 Step 3

Cut open the neck portion, along a seam if there is one, and then cut the pice in to into the correct shape. (shown in the image below).  It is an oval shape with the ends cut flat.


Make the bow!

It is easy. First, you pinch the middle of the fabric.  Then tie one of the thin strips of the fabric you have, left over from the trimming, around the midle. Tie it into a knot.  Then slip you hair beret under the knot. Last fold the outer portions of the oval fabric inward, toward the center. Then slip them under the beret. Toss in a few stitches with a needle and thread and you done!


 Looks awesome in your hair!

 Look I put it on my yellow Vest!

or on a scarf!

After you have  completed this quick and easy hair bow from an old sweater you can put it in you hair and go out. is perfect for your hair!  Or you can replace the hair clip in it with a safety pin and make the bow a perfect addition to anything.  You can see a lot of the things I added the bow too.  My favorite way to use it is attached to a hand bag,
I would love to know if you try this bow.  Send me a picture of how yours turns out.  See you next week for a quick and easy way to use the rest of this sweater.
Please if you have any questions just ask!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Nursing Cover Scarf

Tutorial 5
The Nursing Cover Scarf

Nursing scarf that you can make quick and easy

My baby has become like a bird whose head I must cover in order to get him to relax. I guess I could use a normal nursing cover but that would be one more thing I need to put in my overflowing diaper bag. Seriously you would all laugh if you saw the diaper bag, any ways.
So I came up with a quick way to up cycle a scarf into a nursing cover scarf. This is so easy I am sure all you mommas will be able to whip one out during nap time.

Step 1
Gather supplies
You will need:
  1. A scarf(or similar shaped and size fabric)
  2. A long thin scrap a fabric for the neck strap (I used a bottom of an old matching t-shirt)
  3. Sewing supplies (needle, thread or machine)
  4. scissors
  5. Pins

Once you get all you supplies you are ready to get started.

Step 2
 Find the middle of the scarf and make a chalk, to find the middle just fold the scarf in half long ways.

Find the best spot on the scarf to attach the neck strap.  This will be a little different for everyone depending on the coverage you like.  I made a diagram of the easiest way to find the place to attach the neck strap, it was a pain in my butt so I hope you enjoy it.
Basically your going to hold the scarf up to you with the middle chalk mark right in the middle of your neck.  Then use safety pins to attach the fabric piece around your neck, making sure that you get the coverage you like. (I attached my strap about 81/2 inches from the middle on each side)

Step 4

After you have found the best location for the neck strap use straight pins to hold the strap into place.  You will need to fold the ends under so it will not fray.  Then give a quick stitch and Ta-DAAA your all done. (I am sure you could use my favorite fabric glue to make this in to a no sew project, I love the no-sew!)


 You now have a scarf that will double as a nursing cover.

You can use it as a breastfeeding cover
You can still use it as your scarf

So what do you think?  I hope you will give this a shot at home.  Its easy and looks cute.  Let me know how you nursing cover turns out, I would love to see them.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

DIY Cute no sew nursing top

Tutorial 4

I was browsing my favorite maternity shop figure 8 maternity  and found this cute nursing top for $74.  I love it but I can't spend that much on myself, I just can't.  I am sure all you Mommas know what I am talking about.  So I am going to show you how to make one like this one for less. Much less
I saw this fort $74!!!  at figure 8 maternity I will show you how for $5

It works like so, very nice when you're out and about.

This style top was super popular a few years ago, so guess what that means?  Yep you got it!  The thrift stores are filled with them.  They are the perfect style to convert into a cute nursing top...Ok lets get started!

Step 1
What you need
You will need a top (this double layered style), scissors, Chalk, Fray Check and liquid stitch (or sewing machine) Small scrap of ribbon or fabric.
This is the top I got out of my sisters closet(not a thrift store but actually garbed it from my sister)

Mark with chalk

Try it on and mark with chalk a line down the middle and a line just under the bust (so you know where the ta-tas are!)

Cut it up! 

Now time to cut this part is the tricky part!  You need to be a little crafty with this part and adjust it to your shirt and body, but I know you can do it! You will get the best results if you make a few snips then try it on and check to see how easy the breast is to access, then keep doing this until you have a long enough slit cut to access your breast very easy.  Depending on you particular shirt and body size you might need to make this cut longer or shorter than mine.   TIP*  You might also need to make it a slight oval.

Step 4
Glue or sew 

Now you (probably) need to fasten a ribbon to help keep the slit from showing too much at the wrong time.  Use liquid stitch or sew it on.  You might need 1,2 or 3 sets of ties.
This stuff is the best for any No-sew project!

I got this ribbon on a set of towels so it was free
Step 5

Run Fray Check all along the opening adding extra at the top and bottom.  (if sewing run a stitch back and forth over the top and bottom and a zig-zag around the opening)
Look, you can't see anything!  
All done, now you have super cute fast and easy nursing top refashioned from a top you might have in the back of your closet.  If you make one please show me a picture of how it turned out.


Well I hope you all like the little fixes I made to this post to make it a bit more reader friendly.  Please let me know if you have any questions. 

Monday, March 5, 2012

No-Sew nursing slimming tank

I am sure most of you know the “make any top into a nursing top with a tank” method.  It is a great for hiding your stomach while nursing but I don’t love this method. I always feel disheveled and bulkier(just what I need after having a baby right) I needed something that would look great while trying to calm the screaming poop machine….and slimming…why yes I need to look slimmer, my belly was just stretched to the size of a beach ball.  So I made this in about 18 minuets including taking the photos yelling at the dogs calming the screaming poop machine and begging Big T to take photos.  So I know you can whip up this little no-sew number in no time.

step 1
Get a shape-wear top.  You can buy a new one but better yet get a used one.

Step 2
Try on and trace around your nursing bra
See my chalk line under the bust?

Step 3
Cut out
If yours has a seam like mine cut above it.

Step 4(optional)
If your fabric is a type that will fray use this amazing stuff!
All no-sew Mamas must have this in the house!

Ta Da !

Me before and after.  Nursing shape wear sucks it all in for me.
 look how slimming this no-sew nursing top is!  I wear one of these everyday!  I hope you like this idea.  Thank you for looking.

I hope you make one or more for your self.  It was so easy that any busy Mom can make one in less that 10 minuets.  I would love to see your before and after pictures of the slimming effects of the nursing shape wear.  So please send me a picture of your version of this top.

Friday, March 2, 2012

No-sew Maternity top upcyled from girls dress

In my second trimester I could no longer fit into my shirts, or most of Big T’s shirts. We hit the dollar day at one of my favorite thrift stores and picked up this girls dress made by guess. (I some how lost the before pictures.)  Last thing I remember was texting them to my Sister Kristen and we were discussing who got the better thrift store score that week.  So I am surprised that with my enthusiasm for this garment that I lost he photos.  Sorry I will do better next time (no one is reading this blog yet any way)  Any way it looked a lot like this before.( I am not sure how to give credit to who ever made this dress sorry I’m new still)

So this refashion was so simple!  All I had to do was get out my super Fiskers and cut the little black and gray striped tshirt out from under the black part.  So When I tried on the black part and saw how perfect it was I decided that no more work was needed.

TaDa! You have it a super easy girls dress refashion to maternity/nursing top.