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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Amazing Power of the Felting Needle

Anyone who's a connoisseur of vintage fashion has probably come up against the issue of moth damage more than once. I myself was becoming more and more frustrated each time I found a gorgeous vintage wool piece that seemed immaculate but for a tiny little hole or two. So a few weeks ago I began searching around the interwebs for a solution, and that's when I learned about the amazing restorative powers of the felting needle.

Of course, being a long time Etsy customer, I had seen lots of adorable little creatures made of felted wool, but it hadn't occurred to me that felting needles and wool roving had a much more practical use until I stumbled across a couple of references to it in different online forums. I decided to give it a try myself on a tiny (less than 1/8") hole in a vintage felted wool coat. It is a heathered gray, and I had no trouble finding the right color wool roving at my local craft store. I was also able to pick up a kit with a couple of felting needles and a foam block for less than $4.

The process itself couldn't have been easier. I just placed the foam block inside the coat underneath the location of the hole, then I put a little tuft of wool roving on top of the hole. The gray wool I bought came with two shades, and I mixed them together a bit to get a better match to my coat.

Then I just poked the barbed felting needle into the coat repeatedly until the roving became flush with the surrounding wool (Sorry for the blurry photos, it's harder than I thought to hold a camera steady with my left hand).

Towards the end of the process I sort of "groomed" the fibers of the roving with the tip of the needle so they were going in the same direction as the fibers of the coat to make the repair blend in even better.

As you can see, the repair is pretty difficult to see now. I don't think anyone could spot it unless they knew to look for it.

I am super freaking excited about this new tool. I have even been able to repair damage to a cashmere coat where a moth had chewed the nap down by poking the roving in from the wrong side of the coat, and then trimming the fibers down to the same length as the rest of the coat. The trickiest part of the whole process is finding wool roving in just the right color to match your garment. The rest is cake.

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