Felted Finery – Leaves by the Season

Felted Leaves

Several years ago I ordered a product online that I would like to share with you. I was looking for a light weight embroidery stabilizer that I could use in the studio for test samples, meaning something that was sold in large quantities at a reasonable price. Somehow I ended up on a web site (Cariff) that sold engineered fabric for landscaping. However, they also offered a product for embroidery that peaked my interest. It was available in several weights, the lightest being 0.5. I took a chance and ordered a large roll. Thankfully, it was exactly what I had been looking for.

When I first started needle felting with the Babylock Embellisher, wash away stabilizers such as Vilene were the standard. One day the idea came to me to try the light weight stabilizer. I feared it might be too light and tear. To my surprise, it worked extremely well and never seemed to weaken. I have used this product in the project below and have posted the company information on the Fiber Art Resources page in the sidebar.

There are several advantages in using this product. (1) It’s so light weight that it disappears into the felting, yet it’s strong enough to withstand the countless punches of the barbed needles. (2) You don’t have to wash your project to remove anything. (3) It’s inexpensive, especially when compared to the price of Vilene.

Now to the project. Using a stabilizer of your choice, secure it in a small embroidery hoop. You may like to draw a leaf shape on the stabilizer or just freehand cut a leaf when the needle felting is complete. To begin, simply take a small amount of roving and place it in the middle of your stabilizer. (I usually start with the darkest shade of the colors I’m going to be working with.) Take a few tack down stitches and then slowly start felting. There’s no need to overdo it. (Notice the sheer quality of the light weight stabilizer.)

Start of Roving

Once the roving is secure, remove the stabilizer from the hoop and turn it over to the back side. Reposition it in your hoop. Place another small amount of roving over the area where you previously felted and repeat the process. You may like to change to a lighter color.

Felting the back side

Continue flipping your work back and forth, layering small amounts of roving until you’re happy with the result. Consider using some Angelina or other special fiber. As a final step, needle felt around the edges using a wavy motion just to make sure all fibers are completely felted.

Fall colors

Take a look at both sides of the piece and decide which one you like best. At this point you can embellish the leaf with some free motion machine stitching or felt some thin veins with pieces of yarn. You can cut your leaf before or after you embellish it – the choice is up to you. Simply cut away all remains of the surrounding stabilizer.

This process can be used for all kinds of shapes, not just leaves. Experiment, experiment, experiment!


N. Rene West
Time Treasured


  1. Micki said,

    February 23, 2007 at 7:13 pm

    Thank you for sharing this information and your technique with us. I am new to the world of embellishing/needle felting and appreciate people like you who share.

  2. fembellish said,

    February 23, 2007 at 7:39 pm

    Machine needle felting is the new kid on the block in the quilting/fiber art neighborhood. In a way, we’re all pretty new at this so don’t feel alone. I think many people purchase the machine or a needllepunch attachment, take it home, and then wonder what to do with it. I say, jump in there and try everything that comes to mind. Some things will work and some things will not. Thank you for your kind words, Micki. I really appreciate all those who take the time to comment.

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