Intro to Wool Applique: 1. Working With and Cutting Wool

In the "Intro to Wool Applique" tutorial series I share a variety of aspects of getting started with wool applique.

For the tutorial samples I used woven and fulled (commonly referred to as "felted") wool applique pieces and stitched them to a cotton background fabric.

This tutorial covers:
  • General "Just getting started" tips
  • Cutting wool applique pieces
  • Attaching wool applique to background fabric

 Just getting starting with Wool Applique?

    • Choose a small project
    • Acquire wool at your local 2nd hand shop.  Look for 100% wool sweaters, coats, scarves, hats and other wool items.
    • Don't worry about stitch perfection -- wool is often used in primitive projects -- and perfection is not the goal -- it's hand made!
    • Start with a cheaper and readily accessible cotton floss like DMC Pearle Cotton in size #8 or #12 (you can find this at Joann Fabric).
    • As you find yourself doing more and more wool work, upgrade to Valdani Pearle Cotton, Aurifil Lana Wool, Aurifil Cotton Floss, or Aurifil Mako Cotton 12Wt.
    • Needles are a personal choice but in the past I've used a Clover Gold Eye Chenille Needle (No 22) or a Bohin Embroidery Needle (No 5).
    • Scissor choice is important for cutting wool -- Choose a serrated edge scissor like Elan 4" or Karen Kay Buckley's Perfect Scissors.  The serrated edge of these scissors help grip (not push) the wool for accurate cutting.

    General Wool Applique Info:

        • To "full" also commonly referred to as "felting" your woven wool pieces, wash and agitate in hot water and dry on high heat. 
        • Once woven wool is fulled properly it should cut without fraying - making fulled wool quick and easy to applique.  No need to turn the edge under and you can get by without using glue or fusible products.

          Cutting Wool Applique

          To cut a design out of wool -- go to your kitchen drawer and grab the freezer paper!
            • Trace your design or template onto the dull (paper) side of your freezer paper (no need to reverse the design)
            • Cut the freezer paper template out, adding at least a 1/4 inch allowance around the outside of the traced design. 
            • Press the freezer paper onto the right side of your wool (a few seconds of pressure using a medium heat dry iron).  
            • Cut through the wool and the freezer paper along the traced design using serrated edge scissors (Elan 4" are my favorite but I hear that Karen Kay Buckley's Perfect Scissors are also a great choice).
            • Gently peel the freezer paper away from the wool and save (it's reusable).

            Attach To Background Fabric:

            To attach a piece of wool to the background fabric (cotton, wool, flannel or any other type of background),  first try a wool felting needle (thanks Doreen and Janet).  This may work to bond the wool piece to the background for stitching.

            Alternatively, use small applique pins to hold the wool applique in place.

            Some choose to use glue or fusible products but personally I try to avoid using glue or fusible products on my wool projects.

                Ready to stitch ?  

                I flip flop between an overhand (whip) or a blanket stitch (see general stitching diagrams here).  If the wool edge shows any signs of fraying I  opt to use a blanket stitch, as it reduces the chance that the wool will continue to fray.  Otherwise, a simple overhand or whip stitch will work.
                  This tutorial covered the "General - Cutting - Attaching" basics for hand wool applique.

                  Click this link for more Wool Applique Basics - Part 2: Thread, Needle, Knot

                  I appreciate your feedback -- so please leave me a comment if you stopped by.
                  Thanks so much,

                  #wool #applique #handmade #tutorial

                  1 comment:

                  1. Thank you for the tips about applique. I have just started and all the different threads and needles are confusing! Also thank you for the lovely free pattern of the Redbird and Berries. My mother's best friend has sort of adopted me since my mom passed and she loves redbirds. I'm going to try to make this for her.