…one step back

Buoyed by my success with the ridgeless felt eyeglass case, I thought I’d try making a bag with a handle. Following the instructions in Lizzie Houghton’s Creative Felting, I made the handle first by rolling and wetting strands of wool to form a long cord, leaving the ends dry so that I could felt them on to the bag itself.

Then I made the bag as before, enclosing a bubble wrap template with two layers of wool plus decoration, rubbing and rolling it before cutting it open. At this stage I tried to felt the handle to the inside of the bag, wetting the dry ends of the cord and rubbing them to attach them to the bag. However, I think the bag had gone too far in the felting process, as I couldn’t get the handle to stick.

Felt bag
First felt bag - with separate handle!
Back of bag
Back of bag

It seems that if I am using an enclosed template I will have to attach the handle to the outside of the bag at an earlier stage. I don’t think I can cut through the wool to felt the handle to the inside of the bag any earlier, as it won’t be stable enough.

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Flextiles uses shibori, ecoprinting and felting to create original, one-off upcycled pieces. Extending the life of a garment by an extra nine months reduces its environmental impact by 20-30%.

2 thoughts on “…one step back”

  1. Hi kwinter (sorry I don’t know your ‘real’ name),

    Lovely bag. I have a suggestion for you re the handles, maybe you have already worked it out but if not here you go! The best way to get a secure placement using this method is to include your handles after you have laid out your second layer of wool. The process is as follows …..
    1 Lay fibre on both sides of layer one
    2 Lay fibre on both sides of layer two
    3 Fan out the dry ends of the handle and position where you want it spreading some of the fibres on each side of the bag
    4 Lay out the last layer of wool on both sides of the bag making sure to cover the ends of the handles and moving them to accomodate you as you work – at this stage you will have your bag laid out around the resist with the finished length of handle attached at both sides
    5 Felt as normal but keep moving the handle into different positions and make sure you rub well at the base of the handle.
    6 Cut open your package when you are quite sure it is well felting together and then seal the cut edges by using VERY soapy hands and only rubbing in the OPPOSITE direction to that in which you have cut ie rub vertically if you have made a horizontal cut
    7 Turn the bag inside out and really push the edges outwards with a felting mouse or wooden spoon rubbing against it as you go. This helps make sure that you don’t have ANY ridges at the outside!
    8 Turn it right side out again and rub, roll and throw until the bag is finished
    9 Make sure to pull and stretch the handle as you work (gently at first!), this is why you need to have it FULLY felted prior to attaching!!!

    Hope this helps!



    1. Hi Nicola,

      Thanks so much for your advice. I did suspect I’d left it too late to try attaching the handle, so I will follow your advice on the next one and felt it in earlier, on the outside. At the weekend I saw some felt bags which had handles sewn on very decoratively – perhaps making a feature out of necessity!

      I love your work – and look forward to seeing your book. Happy St Patrick’s Day for tomorrow!


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