Boiled wool

You may remember that I've written about Dragonfly Fabrics' boiled wools before when I made a jacket from the beautiful navy wool they sent to me. However, Dorte recently sent out a newsletter letting their customers know that they now stocked many more colours...and suddenly, when I saw the swatches grouped so perfectly together in tempting colour groups, for the first time I noticed that they'd also be amazing for making cushion covers, iPad holders and other homewares with. 

I could barely get these greys and mustard out of my head after I'd seen them. Dorte is making these available as small and large sample packs so that you can see the colours and quality for yourself, as well as 'craft packs' containing larger cuts of 30cm x 30cm, and finally, also by the metre, allowing you to choose any measurement above 30cm if you're working on a bigger project or some dressmaking.

I've so enjoyed playing around with the colours from my sample packs. 

It's difficult to decide on my favourite combination, as the muted colours all go so well together. 

Just to clear up any confusion that seems to exist over this fabric, wool felt and boiled wool fabrics are two different things. Here's an my understanding of what the differences are, although do feel free to add to this in the comments if there are other differences:

Wool Felt:
A nice quality wool felt (normally a 30% wool, 70% synthetic mix or even 100% wool in some cases) is a material where the fibres have been compressed with heat and water to give a flat, smooth finish. Wool felt is the prettier sister of 100% synthetic felt (the type of felt you can buy in Hobbycraft) and is suitable for general crafts, comes in a range of fantastic colours and is wonderful for children to work with as it doesn't need hemming. In fact, my parents have just bought a rainbow stack of this to give to my daughter for Christmas along with some lovely inspiration books.

Boiled Wool (also sometimes referred to as felted wool): 
Boiled wool is a wool fabric that has been washed and dried at high temperatures to bring about shrinkage. As the fibres contract, a fabric is created that won't fray and that is thick and soft. It has a springy, fluffiness to it, quite unlike the smoothness of wool felt. Boiled wool is suitable for clothing and will also naturally repel water in the same way that a winter woollen coat does, making it perfect for jackets and coats, as well as skirts and dresses. The quality of this fabric means that it's also suitable for cushions and other homeware accessories. You can find it at Dragonfly Fabrics here.

Finally, a word of advice if you haven't sewn with boiled wool before. It's easy to sew with, doesn't wriggle around when you cut it and will never fray. The one area of construction that requires care is if you decide to turn on your iron as boiled wool can stretch and pull out of shape a little if you wield an iron in its direction, additionally, over-pressing can make the fibres look a little bit tired. So if you must press (and I must always press. I'm simply incapable of sewing anything without bringing my iron into, even English paper piecing) keep the heat low and press sparingly. 

Florence x


  1. Am I right in thinking that boiled wool is also woven or knitted before it is shrunk? I have a boiled wool cardigan/coat and it looks like it started out as a woven fabric.

    1. Yes...on more than one occasion I've unexpectedly created a boiled wool fabric from one of my husband's jumpers...he was so happy.

  2. Gorgeous - has the same effect on me as looking at the towel display in John Lewis.

  3. Looks gorgeous Florence, will be looking these lovelies up, can think of a dozen things to make with them. A great post, thanks so much
    Lots of love

  4. Beautiful colour combinations... and oh yes, an i-pad cover would be oh so stylish!


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