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When wool is felted, it shrinks and becomes so tightly woven that it will not ravel. This is one of felt’s most appealing qualities, because you don’t need to turn under the edges as you appliqué it.
To felt wool for appliqués, machine-wash it in hot water with a cool rinse cycle and a small amount of detergent. You can use fabric softener if you wish. Dry in a dryer on a medium setting, removing promptly and checking the filter often. Steam-press lightly if necessary.
This variance in temperatures, along with the agitation, causes the wool to felt. Hand-dyed wool does not need to be felted before use because the dying process also felts the wool.
TIP: If you want to felt wool from a piece of clothing, cut it apart and remove the seams so it can shrink freely.