Viscose tops: Nina Demidova reveals the secret to A+ felting!

from Nina Demidova - 16 July 2018

Viscose is a type of material that goes really well with wool. In Russia more and more people are choosing to include viscose into their felt projects as it makes the felt more elastic, reduces bobbling and creates interesting decorative effects on the surface.

In felt projects either a minimal or a considerable (up to 60-70%) amount of viscose can be used. When you choose to use a lot of viscose, the finished garment takes on new characteristics while remaining strong and fine, it’s easier to obtain the drapery and the final result creases less (if we’re speaking about clothing and accessories), and the other characteristics of the felt garment remain unaltered.

So that’s why I was over the moon to help DHG develop their viscose tops collection. It was something they just couldn’t do without anymore!

Viscose tops: the secrets on how to get the best out of it and create wonderful decorations

Today I’d like to show you how to make layers of viscose to decorate felt work. Follow me step by step and start experimenting straight away! You’ll soon see how easy it is to get amazing results!

Materials
16 micron extra fine merino wool tops (or prefelt) 2 colours, about 80 grams per colour
4 colours of viscose tops, about 110 grams in total. I chose Passion, Leaf, Honey and Marigold.

Equipment
Soap
Bowl
Felting water sprinkler
Felting roller
Towels
Scissors
Ruler
Bubble wrap
Mosquito net
Starch spray

For my project I’m going to use a two-colour prefelt that I made by using four layers of wool merinos. The measurements of the prefelt are 90х260 cm and weight 110 grams. However you can use industrial prefelt or you could simply roll the wool out and rub it a little bit until it has some sort of solidity.

prefelt - tutorial

For sure I’m going to use 4 colours of DHG’s viscose tops for the decorations – 110 grams.

viscose tops

I’m going to show you 2 different ways of making the layers of viscose, so you can choose which one you like best. Divide the tops into two parts to get a thinner ribbon, which will help to lay out the viscose more evenly. As you’ll notice, laying viscose out has an added bonus: it doesn’t have static electricity, so it lays out quicker and is more even. A real asset!

viscose tops - tutorial

Let’s start by stretching the viscose out. I’m working with pieces of 50х50 cm and bubble wrap.

TIP: place the bubble wrap with the bubbles facing upwards, so it’ll be easier to separate the sheet of viscose from it after.

nina demidova - tutorial

The piece consists of 2 layers: a vertical one and a horizontal one. It doesn’t matter which one you begin with.

Bear in mind that for this layer I only used 10 grams of viscose.

nina demidova - tutorial wet felting

Now wet this layer well using the water sprinkler to help you.

viscose tops - felting

Cover the semi-finished product with the second piece of bubble wrap and wet it evenly as it has to be completely soaked. Then remove the bubble wrap.

viscose tops - throw project

One of the ways to set the viscose is to use starch, which you can prepare the starch glue yourselves (by simply boiling it) then using it to wet the semi-finished product.

However, it’s also possible to buy liquid starch that is normally used for ironing, which is what I usually buy. One pack lasts me for a few medium-sized projects. Now cover the viscose with a layer of starch.

nina demidova - tutorial viscose felt

Then wet the sheet some more, after that without separating it from the bubble wrap, put it somewhere it can drip dry.

nina demidova - tutorial viscose felt

The second way of making a pure viscose sheet is to use simple soap for felting. Watch this.. Lay out the second layer of viscose and wet it with water, then cover it with the mosquito net and rub soap over it. The more soap you use the stronger the piece will be when it’s dry.
nina demidova - golden rules for felting viscose

TIP: when the semi-finished product is still damp but not dripping anymore, move it onto a towel, don’t wait for the viscose to dry but put it onto the bubble wrap. Otherwise it’ll be really difficult to move a piece so thin from the bubble wrap without it breaking. You can put the piece to dry on the radiator, a clothes horse or just on the table with the towel.

nina demidova - removing the bubble wrap

Once the sheets of viscose are completely dry you can continue. It’s important to note that the sheets that were done with starch seem stronger but both ways are ok for our project. Before cutting these pieces we have to go over it with an iron so that the fibres are laid out perfectly making it easier to cut them. Caution: don’t iron the viscose if it’s still damp as the fibres will stick to the iron ruining everything. If you need to use the iron to speed up the drying process, cover it first with some fabric.
tutorial wet felting

Let’s start cutting out the sheets of viscose fibre to make our decorations, which can be petals, leaves or geometric or abstract shapes. Don’t make the designs too small and keep in mind that during felting any pattern can deform and even disappear completely. Working with a viscose this fine may even just leave small signs on the final product (but sometimes that’s just what we need!). Therefore it’s essential to make a sample before creating the project so you can adjust the thickness of the sheet of viscose depending on what effect you want to have.

tutorial wet felting

If I were you I’d cut the edges as well as they melt during felting and so the edges don’t tend to be clean. However if that’s the look you’re going for then that’s fine. These are my leftovers that I’ll use for another project.. it’s not like they have an expiry date!

tutorial - wet felting - decorations

And these are my decorations: squares and strips. It’s much easier to use the cutter to cut out these shapes.
tutorial - wet felting - prefelt

How to make a scarf with extra fine merino wool and viscose decorations

It’s time to use the wool prefelt.
Begin by arranging the decorations on the surface.

tutorial - wool prefelt

Now water it, cover it with the net and massage the whole piece until you get a good solidity and the viscose attaches onto the wool.

tutorial - viscose and merino wool

Roll it up on the roller and unroll it again, then turn it over.

tutorial - viscose and merino wool

This time decorate the other side in the same way.
nina demidova - how to felt viscose

At this point all that’s left is to felt your project! Roll it up on the roller, cover it with the bubble wrap and secure it with rubber bands to keep it from moving. Then roll it 100-200 times changing direction each time.

nina demidova - how to felt viscose nad merino wool

Now work on the edges.

nina demidova - how to felt viscose and merino wool

Make sure you use the roller well, as this will make the surface of the final product smooth.
nina demidova - rolling up prefelt

Rinse and dry your work, then iron it and enjoy!

nina demidova - viscose throw

nina demidova - tutorial viscose throw

So, how about this double-faced throw?

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4 Comments for Viscose tops: Nina Demidova reveals the secret to A+ felting!

  1. Shelley Jones

    What an excellent tutorial! Very clear and the use of luscious colors makes the finished piece pop. Thanks Nina!

  2. Annalisa Chelli

    Thanks Shelley for you kind words. Nina is a real master in wet felting creations!

  3. Caroline

    Beautiful! Love the colors and design and find the tutorial very helpful. Looking forward to exploring the same materials myself.

  4. Gaia Gualtieri

    We are happy you like them! Please send us pictures of your experiments. ☺️

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