Felting Fashion – Seamless Felted Clothing with Kathy Hays
Kathy Hays first discovered felt making in 1998 when a friend showed her how to make a small piece of flat, square felt. She has making felt ever since. “This introduction peaked my interest. I sought library references and newsgroups. This was at a time when the internet was young and finding information was not as easy as it is today. I spent many hours making felt and making mistakes in felt. However those mistakes armed me with information to grow as a feltmaker.”
“Every piece of felt is original. The fibers align and tangle slightly different each time. I love the transformation of fluffy fiber into a durable textile, all of which is created beneath my finger tips.”
With a background in garment making, Kathy shares that her felted garments reflect those skills and aesthetic. “My fashion sense if one of classic design with beautiful felt surfaces. I like my felted pieces to be timeless and sensible but that is not to say I don’t enjoy whimsy on occasion.”
Kathy has published two felting tutorials for felting seamless garments.
They come in a PDF format that can be downloaded from the Internet. The first book is quite comprehensive and covers making a patterns and resist to account for the desired fit and shrinkage of materials used. Cathy shows you exactly how to measure your body, to document, test and save your work for reuse. Several designs can be made from this.
The second book covers felting your garments demonstrating a standard layout and reverse layout. Kathy shows several examples of garments made with this method and describes how they were made, inluding how much “ease” was put into the pattern to result in a particular drape on the body.
We purchased these books from Kathy and knew they would be great resources for our felting friends who are aspiring to make great fitting and beautiful felted garments. We are very happy to partner with Kathy and offer both ebooks on Living Felt.
As a teacher Kathy shares that there are two suggestions she gives to students most often:
1. Sample your wool. Each wool breed has different properties and different reactions when used in projects.
2. Be sensible when making design choices. Very often a student wants to include every technique and every color of wool on the planet in one garment. This is very chaotic and does not present a good fashion sense. Students need to consider at all times the final look. It is best to start with the basic silhouette and then carefully add the colors of techniques.
Recently Kathy has begun working in Eco Print. “That is a process of using local plants, exposing to heat and water leaving behind its botanical signature. This is on protein fiber such as silk and wool.”
Her Next “Big Challenge” is to create an “art to wear” piece for a show later this year.
“While I have done this in the past, the guidelines are such that it must me something that can be purchased. Making a felt garment for a show in Florida in Aug will be a tall task. But I am up for the challenge.”
For those just getting started and to those beginning to explore their next adventures in felting, Kathy offers these words of wisdom:
“Be patient with yourself. Feltmaking is a slow art form. Enjoy the interaction of placing your hands on the wool when it is wet with soap and water. Feel the transformation of the fibers from fluff to solid cloth. Most of all, don’t hurry yourself.”
Kathy’s felting tutorials are available at LIVING FELT
You can visit and follow her here: