F is for Felted

heartfelt tote, e-how mittens 011

The bag above is my 6th project for Sew All 26 160, “F” is for Felted. Felting is the process of applying heat, moisture and friction to cause wool (and some other natural fibers) to bind tightly together to create a felted fabric. After felting the fibers are fused and will not ravel.

This bag is a project from the craft book Heartfelt, written by Teresa Searle in 2006. Heartfelt will appeal to sewers, embroiders, and crafters who want to learn how to make felted accessories.  The smaller items are quick to make and each project has an estimate on the amount of time it will take to complete it. The 25 creations in this book are sewn from felted sweaters or flat knitting pieces and then beautifully embellished with machine and/or hand embroidery. Heartfelt is appropriate for everyone: those of us who love hand embroidery as well as hand stitching haters like me.  The book has plenty of full color photographs for each project and excellent instructions on the embroidery techniques.

After I purchased Heartfelt I bought a couple of thrift store sweaters to use as appliques for the tote bag project. For the body of the bag I used some thrift store fabric I already owned. I originally purchased this fabric with garment sewing in mind but I found out it was wool when I washed and accidentally felted it. The fabric shrank so much there wasn’t enough yardage left to make the intended garment. I love owning a craft book that makes my screw-ups look intentional!

This tote bag project was easy to replicate and fun to sew. Heartfelt tote collage

The free form machine stitching made me feel really creative. And I loved that I used some of the stitch patterns on my sewing machine that I normally never utilize. Unlike some craft books I own, the embroidery instruction in Heartfelt was so well written I even did a little bit of hand stitching!

 I only had a few minor issues with this book. One was that the project I made is called a tote, so I expected it to be larger. This bag is only 11 inches wide and 16 inches long (including the handle, more of a purse size IMHO).  Another small issue was that I had to take the book to the copy store and enlarge the pattern 200% in order for it to be the size indicated for the project. This annoyed me because I was anxious to get to the sewing, and I didn’t want the delay involved in running out to OfficeMax. And finally there are some projects in the book that can’t substitute felted sweaters for the felted flat knitting pieces. This is a problem for non-knitters like me. Other than those few complaints I think this book is one of the best craft books I’ve come across. I liked it so much I even bought a second copy as a gift for my sister!


  1. Thanks Lynne! I think my lack of experience with buttonholes and zippers made me turn to applique and embellishing instead. Now that my sewing skills are improving I’m excited to show you all more garments in the future.


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