I have made the felt in a non traditional way (not with felting needles), I used a variegated thread and sewn in free motion over the natural alpaca fibers. It is used as an applique embellishment
on a silk blouse.
What you'll need:
- Lightweight, loose weave fabric: cotton muslin or silk
- Natural wool fibers in different colors. I used alpaca fibers for the blouse (purple, yellow, green, blue)
- Sewing machine
- Drawing - colored crayons, paper
- Variegated embroidery thread
- Iron on tear away stabilizer
Step 1: Create Sketch
Create your sketch on drawing paper. Use colored crayons so youll know what color of fiber goes where.
Step 2: Iron on Stabilizer
Iron on tear away light stabilizer on the wring side of your fabric, where the application will be. Do this after the pattern pieces were cut out and before they are assembled for sewing. Make sure the iron is set according to the fabric you are sewing. Try to do this on a scrap piece and see if you can rip it off easily, without damaging the fabric. On my organza, I could tear it away by pulling grain wise. Pulling cross grain would tear my fabric also.
Step 3: Trace Drawing Onto Fabric
Trace the drawing on the right side of your fabric. Use an embroidery transfer crayon or chalk. I used a piece of dry soap to trace and it will come out easily with water when washed.
Step 4: Free Hand Embroidery
Hand form the shapes of the flowers according to the drawing. Mix in different colors of fibers for shadows and highlights.
You will need a free motion foot or darning foot attached to the machine. Drop the feed dogs. This will allow you to move the fabric in any direction you want, just keep it at a steady pace, to make equal stitches in length.
Use the variegated thread to free hand embroider. Do the contour first and then fill out the center parts, moving the fabric with your hands back and forward so that you go at least twice over every stitch and allow the thread to accumulate. Directions in which to move your fabric depend on the drawing, try to imagine the lines. You can incorporate bead, sew over yarns and ribbons, use your imagination. I wanted to keep it kind of simple.
When the embellishment is finished, continue sewing the garment.
Step 5: Final Wash
Wash it again under warm water and try to felt the portions with the fibers. This will create a less tidy look and it will enforce the fibers to mix together creating a stronger fabric.
Clean your machine! A lot of lint goes into the lower bobbin case, so use a brush and a vacuum or one of those pressure air sprays.