How to Wet Felt an Iconic French Beret
Wet Felted Beret with a Decorative Felt Pin
Side View of the Wet Felted Beret
Detachable, Decorative Pin for Beret
Things You Will Need to Make This Wet Felted Beret
- A quantity of Merino Wool Roving
- Hot or Warm Soapy Water
- A 40 cm Diameter Circular Template which can be made from Plastic Packaging or Floor Underlay. Remember that shrinkage is usually about 30 - 50 percent.
- A Bamboo Window Blind
- A Tumble Dryer
- A pair of scissors.
- A Sew on Brooch Pin
- A Metal Leather Punch for making small holes in the decorative Pin.
To make this traditionally shaped Beret, cut out a circular shaped Template from Laminate Flooring Underlayment which can be purchased very reasonably from Amazon or your local Do-It-Yourself Shop. It comes in rolls and is generally used for putting underneath the Laminate Flooring. It is extremely useful and can be used in a variety of Felting Projects which range from Hats, Gloves and Clothing.
The resist should measure around 40cm in diameter. For a child make the resist slightly smaller. A reasonable size would be around 30-35cm in diameter.
Remember that shrinkage is usually around 30 - 50%
The beret should be made with 3 fine layers of wool placed on each side of the resist as is shown below.
Laminate Flooring Underlayment
Layer 1 / Cover the Template with Slivers of Wool Roving
The Resist Covered with Slivers of Wool Roving
Cover the Fibres with Curtain Netting and Wet with Hot Soapy Water
Smooth the Wet Fibers down and out Towards the Edges of the Template
Remove the Curtain Netting from the Wet Fibers
Turn the Wool Covered Template Over
Fold the Fibers over the Edges of the Template
Cover the 2nd Side of Layer 1 with a Layer of Wool Fibers
Wet the Layer with Hot Soapy Water
Smooth the Wet Fibers. Press the Water Down and Push the Water Out Towards the Edges of the Template
Carefully Remove the Curtain Netting
The Wet Flattened Fibers
Turn the Resist Over Again and Tuck in the Loose Fibers
Smooth Down the Layers with Warm Soapy Water
Repeat the above Steps!
Repeat the above steps until you have 3 even layers covering each side of the template.
Roll the Project Inside a Bamboo Curtain Blind
Keep on Turning the Project Inside the Blind!
Keep on changing the direction in which you roll the project. Keep on opening up the bamboo curtain and turn the project to face a different direction.
Roll until the fibres inside the bamboo blind are felted together.
Perform a pinch test to make sure they are properly felted and then cut out a hole as shown below.
Keep the circle so that it can be used later to make a decorative pin if desired for the beret.
Cut the Hole for the Opening Which Should Be Approximately 5 Inches in Diameter
Put into A Tumble Dryer
Put the project into a tumble dryer for approximately 5 minutes at a time. Keep on checking the progress of the felting. As the project begins to shrink away from the template, remove it and continue felting until the beret has shrunk to the required size.
You can miss out this part and felt the beret by massaging the fibres by hand using hot and cold water if you don't have a tumble dryer.
Finally, shape the entrance to the beret. Cut the hole larger to get it to fit properly if necessary! Do this very carefully. Only cut a thin strip of felt around the hole at a time, being careful not to make it too big.
These strips which you have cut off can be rolled on the bamboo mat using hot and cold soapy water to form cords to make a decorative pin for the hat.
The circle of felt which was removed to form the opening to the beret should also be retained for this purpose.
Making the Cords for the Pin
These can be made using strips of wool roving if you did not cut any excess off.Take a long strip, wet it in a bowl of hot soapy water and roll on the bamboo mat until it becomes a felted.
Take a long strip of roving, wet it in a bowl of hot soapy water and roll on the bamboo mat until it becomes a felted.
Alternatively take the strips of excess felt which were cut from around the hat opening and use them to make the cord. Wet and roll on the bamboo mat until they are completely felted. Rinse well under hot and cold water.
Use the Metal Leather punch to make a few holes in the centre of the circle of felt and push the cords through to the other side. Knot each end as shown and then stitch down the loose pieces of cord which will be sticking out slightly.
Attach a metal brooch pin over the top of the neatened knots with matching thread.
The pin can be moved around the Beret to the desired spot.
Circle of Felt, Cords & Metal Punch for Making the Holes
Wet Felted Beret
Felting with a Resist!
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Wet Felted Beret
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© 2016 Sally Gulbrandsen