I am lucky enough to have some very beautiful pieces of felt left over from an exhibition I did for the British Wool Marketing Board and the Campaign for Wool a while back. I have always been a fan of wool – it is under rated and has many lovely properties, the best of which is that you can felt it. Although I’m not into making my own, I understand it is easy enough to do with beautiful results. There is a link here if you want to know more. This thick marled felt is actually furnishing fabric from Camira fabrics. What I love about felt is that you can cut it and the raw edges stay neat – no need for finishing, which gives you loads of scope for design. I did an art textile peice once using a really thick felt cut with a scalpel and then backed onto a patterned silk, a bit like a Rob Ryan paper cut. It’s based on a quote by Coco Chanel “A girl must be two things: classy and fabulous”. But back to the bag…. For the scalloped centre panel of the bag, I made a cardboard stencil using a 2 pence coin. Then drew onto the felt with a biro and cut out with a sharp pair of scissors. I used the raw edges of the bag facing outwards rather than turning them in as you usually would. And the holes (I think they were egg cup size!) are filled with some really pretty Liberty fabric (Mitsi C Tana Lawn, Liberty Art Fabrics). I just held the fabric in place with a touch of UHU glue. I did a blue and magenta version of the bag as well, also filled with Liberty fabric. The picture is not quite as clear but you can see how the bright magenta contrasts beautifully with the denim blue.
Felt is such a fabulous material to work with either for sewing or art projects. Just a note should you be thinking about having a go yourself. You can now get synthetic felt, usually sold in 20cm squares for crafting. This is not a patch on real wool felt!