How to finish your wool project

applique, Fiber art, How to, wool -

How to finish your wool project

I just was asked a question about how to finish off the project after you are done sewing all of the lovely pieces of wool to the background.  Do you put batting in?  Do you fuse it?  Do you back it?  

Here's what I do (not that it is written in stone).  All of the above... but not necessarily all together!

If I am creating a small 6" x 10" hanging that I plan on dangling from one of those adorable Ackfeld Wire hangers I take some flannel or homespun and fuse it to the back of my project.  It provides stability, it prevents the hanging from warping, and it makes it so easy to blanket stitch all of the way around the project.  

If I am creating something like a table runner I really like to use another piece of wool, extending it all of the way around the runner so it creates a "border".  The wool retains its lovely drape and hand while giving it a little more stability not to mention the fact it hides any stitching on the back.

If I am not able to find a piece of wool that is large enough, or I don't like the colors available or I just don't want to add a border to my finished top I will consider a couple of options.

a) I do like adding batting backing and quilting it.  I like the extra dimension that you get by stitching it together.  If you look at the image "Welcome" I did just that.  I like the subtlety of the stitching.  Using a thread that matched the background green made it have a little interest but didn't detract from all of the embroidery I did.  I trimmed the edges and curved the top two corners, then stitched a blanket stitch around the whole thing prior to adding the hanging sleeve.

b) I also like to just put a backing on it and quilting, as per above, without batting.

c) I tried doing the pillowcase method of adding a backing but I was not wild about the bulk I got in the perimeter of the piece after turning it.  I also was not wild about the fact that the backing then sort of crept up the edges so you could see slivers of it.  I would not recommend this.  You can try it, but I'm just sayin'...

d) I have seen other people's work where they have added a binding.  It looked nice.  I think if you wanted to do that it would depend on the artwork you were displaying.  

Really?  I think if you like it, that is what counts.  There are no wool police out there.  And if there are, they can't arrest you so go with your gut.  If they do arrest you call me and I will join you in jail. We can hand stitch something fun.

See?  You knew all of this anyway, didn't you?  Try making a couple of small pieces where you did all these things and see what it looks like... It's pretty subjective.  

Let me know what you think and if you have a suggestion feel free to share!


  • Jan

    Hi! I have been searching all over for this information! But I have a question. Not only do I have wool pieces to applique’ but I also am adding a section of wool roving. Have you ever done this? I will need to stabilize that plus the bigger piece of wool background and small pieces around the edge that frame the landscape scene. I bought soft fuse for the small wool cut pieces and I thought I would try to needle felt the roving. What backing is best? Would flannel work?

  • Peggy

    Thanks for your tips. Confirms for me that I Don’t need batting. My first ever project got so thick I couldn’t do the outline stitches I wanted around all the pieces.

  • Joann herring

    Your instructions are great. Thank you Trish

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