How to Make a Baby Girl's 'Nuno' Felted Circle Jacket

Updated on July 3, 2017
sallybea profile image

Sally Gulbrandsen Feltmaker: Her tutorials & techniques are as individual as she is — unique, experimental and always interesting.

The Completed 'Nuno' Felted Baby Girl's Circle Jacket

The completed baby jacket
The completed baby jacket | Source

What Is Nuno Felting?

Nuno felting is a process of felting which was developed by Polly Stirling, a fibre artist from New South Wales in Australia in around 1992. The name is derived from the Japanese word "Nuno" meaning cloth. The technique bonds loose fibres into light weight fabric, usually silk, fine cotton or wool and results in a very lightweight fabric or felt with a lovely crinkly effect.

A recycled piece of silk was used for this tutorial but cheap silk or even muslin can be used for this purpose. Both sides of the silk in this project were covered with a very fine layer of Merino wool fibres. The end result is a strong but very lightweight fabric with a gorgeous crinkle effect.

Items Required to Complete This Project

Items required to complete this project.
Items required to complete this project. | Source

Items Needed

  • A Bubble Wrap Template or you can use Laminate Floor Underlay which is not only cost effective but the templates made with it can be used multiple times over.
  • 2 Large Sheets of Bubblewrap
  • A large bamboo blind. Bamboo blinds are one of my favourite felting tools and these too can be used over and over again for most of your felting projects.
  • A Baby Grow or T-shirt in the size of the baby you will be making this for. (This is a non-essential item) but may be used to help you decide if or where you need to cut arms holes into the circle jacket if desired. Alternatively, you may keep the jacket simple and turn it into a 'Cape'.
  • A circle of pure silk fabric. This can be recycled pure silk or even a recycled scarf or silk fabric bought specifically for the purpose.
  • 2 Narrow pure silk strips which can be torn from the main piece to form the jacket ties.
  • A small quantity of Merino Wool Roving in mixed colours. I used Botany Waste Wool which I purchased from World of Wool. This is such a good buy and can be used for many felting projects.
  • A sharp pair of scissors
  • Tepid soapy water. This can be dishwashing liquid or grated Olive Oil soap diluted in water, both of which work equally well though the latter is a lot kinder to the hands.

Step 1—Draw the Template

  • Draw the template onto a large sheet of floor underlay or bubble wrap.
  • The circle should measure approximately 26 inches across the centre for a newborn child, bigger for an older child and a much larger for an adult.
  • Shrinkage is usually in the region of 40%. This was factored in when the circle was drawn for this project.
  • There are many variables. Unfortunately, felting is not an exact science and even the amount of wool which is applied to the silk can alter the outcome of a 'Nuno' felted project. The less wool added the more crinkles you are likely to have. Experiment and have fun doing so.
  • This project uses 2 layers of wool, 1 layer is applied to each side of the silk fabric.


The Template Which Has a Diameter of 26"

The circular template made from floor underlay.
The circular template made from floor underlay. | Source

Step 2—Wet the Surface of the Template

  • Wet the surface of the template using the soapy water.

Wetting the Template

Wet the template with tepid soapy water
Wet the template with tepid soapy water | Source

Step 3—Cover the Template With a Circle of Silk Fabric

  • Roughly cut out a circle of silk and place it neatly onto the template.
  • The pure silk fabric will cling to the wet template.
  • Smooth out any creases with your fingers.

Pure Silk Fabric Covering the Template

Template covered with silk
Template covered with silk | Source

A Note on Covering the Template With Pure Silk

Adding water to the template allows the silk to cling easily to the template, after which the edges can be trimmed and neatened to fit the circle properly.

The chosen silk should have a fine texture and be whisper thin. If you cannot feel your breath when you blow through the fabric is not thin enough for the wool fibres to easily penetrate the fabric during the felting process.

Step 4—Neaten the Edges

  • Trim any excess wet fabric which overlaps the edges as is shown below.

Excess Fabric Being Trimmed

Trim any silk which overlaps the edges of the template.
Trim any silk which overlaps the edges of the template. | Source

Step 3—Cover the Silk With Wool Roving

  • Cover the layer of silk using a fine layer of wool roving as is shown below.
  • The wool roving should just overlap the edges of the silk covered template.

The Silk-Covered Template

Turn the template over and smooth the silk out using the soapy water.
Turn the template over and smooth the silk out using the soapy water. | Source

The Roving Covering the Silk Fabric

Cover the silk with a fine layer of wool roving
Cover the silk with a fine layer of wool roving | Source

A Note on Getting the Water Temperature Right!

Only tepid or cold water should be used when 'Nuno' Felting. Using hot water will shrink the fibres before they are able to penetrate the pure silk so don't use it in the early stages of the felting process. Hot water should only be used after the fibres have penetrated the silk and before you shrink them under hot and cold water in the kitchen sink.

Step 4—Wet the Wool Roving

  • Wet the wool roving using only tepid or cold soapy water.

Wetting the Wool Roving

Wetting the fibers with tepid soapy water
Wetting the fibers with tepid soapy water | Source

Step 5—Cover the Project With Bubble Wrap

  • Wet the surface of the bubble wrap with some of the soapy water.
  • The soap makes it easy for the fingers to glide over the surface of the bubble wrap.

Wet the Bubble Wrap

Wet the surface of the bubble wrap with soapy water
Wet the surface of the bubble wrap with soapy water | Source

Step 6—Rub Well

  • Rub the surface of the bubble wrap until the fibres below are completely smooth.

Rub Until the Fibres Are Smooth

Rubbing the soapy surface to smooth out the fibers below
Rubbing the soapy surface to smooth out the fibers below | Source

The Smoothed Down Fibres

The smoothed down fibres
The smoothed down fibres | Source

Step 7—Turn the Project Over

  • Turn the project over and remove the template gently.
  • Now cover the 2nd side from which you have just removed the template with a fine layer of Merino wool.
  • Don't make the edges thick as these will soon be folded over the silk below to neaten the edges.

The 2nd Side Covered With a Fine Layer of Merino Wool

The second side cover in a fine layer of wool roving
The second side cover in a fine layer of wool roving | Source

Step 8—Wet the Wool Roving

  • Wet the 2nd side with tepid soapy water.

Wet the Wool Roving

Wet the wool roving
Wet the wool roving | Source

Step 9—Cover With a Sheet of Bubble Wrap

  • Wet the surface of the bubble wrap to facilitate easy rubbing.
  • The project should now be sandwiched between 2 Sheets of Bubble Wrap.

Wet the Surface of the Bubble Wrap

Wet the surface of the bubble wrap with tepid soapy water.
Wet the surface of the bubble wrap with tepid soapy water. | Source

Step 10—Rub Well

  • Rub the surface of the bubble wrap until the fibres below are smooth.

Rubbing the Surface

Wet the surface of the bubble wrap until the fibres below are smooth.
Wet the surface of the bubble wrap until the fibres below are smooth. | Source

The Wet Flattened-Down Fibres

The fibres which have now been flattened.
The fibres which have now been flattened. | Source

Remove the Bubblewrap From One Side of the Project

The silk layer can just be seen through the fine layer of wool roving
The silk layer can just be seen through the fine layer of wool roving | Source

Step 11—Neaten the Edges

  • Fold both layers of Merino wool fibres neatly over the edges of the silk.
  • The silk fabric can be seen through the fine layer of merino wool fibres which was used to cover the template.

Turning the Wet Fibres Over the Edge of the Silk

Turn over the fibres to make a neat edge around the whole of the silk layer.
Turn over the fibres to make a neat edge around the whole of the silk layer. | Source

Step 11—Cover With Bubble Wrap

  • Wet the surface of the bubble wrap with soapy water.

Wetting the Bubble Wrap With Soapy Water

Cover and we the surface of the bubble wrap
Cover and we the surface of the bubble wrap | Source

Step 12—Rub the Edges Well

  • Rub the edges until they are flat, neat and tidy.

Rubbing the Edges Well

Rubbing the edges for form a neat edge
Rubbing the edges for form a neat edge | Source

Checking the Edges

Check the edges to make sure that they are neat.
Check the edges to make sure that they are neat. | Source

Step 13—Sandwich the Project Inside the 2 Sheets of Bubble Wrap

  • Sandwich the Project between two layers of bubble wrap.
  • A layer on each side will prevent the fibres from becoming displaced when the fibres are rolled inside the bamboo blind.

Hint

NB If no blind is available, roll the bubble wrap up with the project still inside and rub until felted. It will take a little longer without the blind. In either case, keep on rotating the contents of the blind or bubble wrap to allow for even shrinkage throughout the project.

The Project Inside the Two Sheets of Bubble Wrap

Sandwich the project inside 2 sheets of bubble wrap
Sandwich the project inside 2 sheets of bubble wrap | Source

Wet the Bubble Wrap and Rub the Surface Well

Wet the surface and rub the fibres below well
Wet the surface and rub the fibres below well | Source

Rub Until the Fibres No Longer Move

Checking to see if the fibres are fully felted
Checking to see if the fibres are fully felted | Source

Alternatively Sandwich the Entire Project Inside a Bamboo Blind

A bamboo blind makes light work of the felting process!
A bamboo blind makes light work of the felting process! | Source

Step 14—Roll Well

  • Roll until the fibres no longer move
  • A bamboo mat helps provide the perfect rolling tool making light work of the felting process.
  • Rotate the contents of the blind or bubble wrap frequently throughout the rolling process.

Roll The Bamboo Mat on the Surface of an Old Bath Towel

The surface of the towel absorbs any surplus water.
The surface of the towel absorbs any surplus water. | Source

Step 15—Make Two Jacket Ties

  • Tear two strips off the pure silk fabric and cover them with a fine layer of wool roving.
  • Wet and fold in the edges with the help of the bubble wrap.
  • The jacket ties can be added to the contents of the bamboo mat or bubble wrap and rolled simultaneously to shorten the time needed to complete the project.

Cut Two Strips of Silk to Create the Two Jacket Ties

Place the 2 strips on a piece of bubble wrap on the blind
Place the 2 strips on a piece of bubble wrap on the blind | Source

Wet the Wool Roving

Cover the wool roving with a fine layer of wool roving and wet as shown with tepid soapy water.
Cover the wool roving with a fine layer of wool roving and wet as shown with tepid soapy water. | Source

Rub the Wet Fibres Well

Rub the wet fibres
Rub the wet fibres | Source

Step 16—Fold Over the Wet Edges of the Jacket Ties

  • Use the Bubblewrap to fold over both edges of the 2 jacket ties.
  • Enclose the silk covered wool inside the strips of bubble wrap and include them in the bamboo bundle whilst rolling the project to save time.

Fold the Edges of the Ties Using the Bubble Wrap

Turn over the edges of the wool roving to form a neat edge over the silk strips.
Turn over the edges of the wool roving to form a neat edge over the silk strips. | Source

The 2 Jacket Ties Being Rolled Inside the Bamboo Blind

Add the 2 jacket or cape ties to the contents of the bamboo blind so that they can be rolled together.
Add the 2 jacket or cape ties to the contents of the bamboo blind so that they can be rolled together. | Source

Step 17—Roll Well and Perform a 'Pinch Test'

  • Pinch the fibre between 2 fingers to check to see if they move.
  • When you are satisfied that the fibres no longer move between your fingers, remove the wrap and take the project and the 2 ties to the kitchen sink.
  • Massage the circle of felt using the palms of your hand under hot and then cold water.
  • You will begin to see the fibres shrink under your hands.
  • When the project has shrunk properly, rinse it first under hot and then cold water.
  • Squeeze out any excess water and throw the project down onto a hard counter to 'full' further.
  • Shape and fold the collar over as shown.
  • Roll the jacket ties and attach them to the jacket using a few simple sewing stitches.
  • If desired cut armholes in the appropriate places using the 'Babygrow' shown above to make the appropriate cut.
  • Massage the cut edges until they shrink evenly.

Rubbing and Rolling the Fibres

The rolled circle jacket
The rolled circle jacket | Source

The Jacket and Two Strips Before Rubbing & Rinsing in Hot and Then Cold Tap Water

The project with the 2 chin straps before rubbing and rolling under first hot and then cold water.
The project with the 2 chin straps before rubbing and rolling under first hot and then cold water. | Source

Before Rolling and Rubbing

This image demonstrates both the size and the shape of the jacket to be fully fulled.
This image demonstrates both the size and the shape of the jacket to be fully fulled. | Source

The Back of the Jacket Before Shrinkage Took Place

The back of the Nuno felted circle jacket
The back of the Nuno felted circle jacket | Source

The Completed Nuno Felted Jacket

The completed circle felted baby jacket
The completed circle felted baby jacket | Source

2 Jackets, 1 with Cut Armholes and 1 Without

One jacket with arms and 1 without.
One jacket with arms and 1 without. | Source

'Nuno' Felting

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Nuno Felting

Questions & Answers

    © 2017 Sally Gulbrandsen

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      • sallybea profile image
        Author

        Sally Gulbrandsen 8 months ago from Norfolk

        I know you do, perhaps this year is not my year! My subject matter is perhaps a little obscure for one of those this year:) Like I said, you are so very kind.

      • kenneth avery profile image

        Kenneth Avery 8 months ago from Hamilton, Alabama

        sallybea:

        "I meant every word of it."

        "You need to be voted to win some type of Hubbie Award. And I mean every word of this."

        "Take care. Talk later."

      • sallybea profile image
        Author

        Sally Gulbrandsen 8 months ago from Norfolk

        Hi Kenneth, You are so very kind and your visit is very much appreciated. Thank you so much!

        Best wishes,

        Sally.

      • kenneth avery profile image

        Kenneth Avery 8 months ago from Hamilton, Alabama

        Hi, sallybea,

        (Sept. 11--yes. Taking a moment for obvious reasons).

        I am so sorry that I haven't visited your page in a while. The only thing that I can share is: Life, many times, crops up when you are busy trying to do things that you thought were needful.

        Don't try to unravel.

        I was simply amazed at how much work that your beautiful projects take. Amazing.

        And the end result . . .WOW! Great job. Plus, you presented your topic perfectly.

        Loved it.

        Peace.

        Kenneth

      • sallybea profile image
        Author

        Sally Gulbrandsen 9 months ago from Norfolk

        I have a photo of the recipient and her new baby wearing it. Apparently, the cape drew a lot of praise from friends and family at a local music festival. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

      • teaches12345 profile image

        Dianna Mendez 9 months ago

        A lot of creative thought is in this article and the clothing. I imagine this would look very sweet on any baby girl.

      • sallybea profile image
        Author

        Sally Gulbrandsen 10 months ago from Norfolk

        Hi Martie,

        The little Nuno felted garment was made for an expectant mum in the family who is now overdue with her little girl:)

        I think my family and friends have come to accept that any gifts I give them will always be handcrafted or made in the kitchen. I love making good old condensed milk fudge as only an ex South African can make:) I pack it into little Christmas sweet boxes which I buy from a local sweet shop. I give hats and flowers, little coin purses and wet felted soaps for Christmas. Even the children squeal with delight when they get a hat now but I do try to ring the changes for Christmas. Nuno felted scarves are wonderful and I have a lot of vintage pure silk scarves which I can Nuno felt. Thanks for stopping by.

      • MartieCoetser profile image

        Martie Coetser 10 months ago from South Africa

        This Nuno felting is just as jaw-dropping awesome as the others!

        Thanks for sharing your felt projects, Sally! I would love to see your Christmas gifts.

      • purl3agony profile image

        Donna Herron 10 months ago from USA

        Another instructive and fascinating tutorial, Sally! I've heard the term "nuno" referred to in felting, but never really knew what it meant. This cape is such a cute garment and looks like a lot of fun to make. Thanks for sharing and posting!

      • sallybea profile image
        Author

        Sally Gulbrandsen 10 months ago from Norfolk

        Thank you, MsDora, your continued support is appreciated as always.

      • MsDora profile image

        Dora Weithers 10 months ago from The Caribbean

        You're just so good with your instructions and your pictures and your finished product are always desirable. This one certainly is. Thanks for sharing your expertise for us to admire.

      • sallybea profile image
        Author

        Sally Gulbrandsen 10 months ago from Norfolk

        Randi Benlulu,

        You are too kind:) However, I do believe that anyone can felt if they want to. The danger is that this hobby quickly becomes addictive, the challenge of turning a few fibres into felt is irresistible:)

      • btrbell profile image

        Randi Benlulu 10 months ago from Mesa, AZ

        I so admire your beautiful work. I only wish I had the talent (and patience) to do it! That being said, I am content in the vicarious pleasure of watching you felt!

      • sallybea profile image
        Author

        Sally Gulbrandsen 10 months ago from Norfolk

        Hi Devika,

        Thank you so much! It is always nice to receive feedback on my writing. It is much appreciated.

      • DDE profile image

        Devika Primić 10 months ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

        Hi Sally, you have accomplished one of the best hubs. In detail and with stunning photos! I like how you explained and with a creative mind, as always. Take care!

      • sallybea profile image
        Author

        Sally Gulbrandsen 10 months ago from Norfolk

        Thank you, Billy, back after a short break and as always I appreciate your name popping up:)

      • billybuc profile image

        Bill Holland 10 months ago from Olympia, WA

        It's always nice to see your name pop up on my reader. I hope you are well, my friend, and enjoying the summer. As always, your articles are precise tutorials that just about anyone could follow (me excluded). LOL

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