Posted by: bschutzgruber | September 30, 2014

Look Ma….. No Seams!

In the middle of September I spend 3 fabulous days in a felting workshop with international feltmaker and clothing designer Charity Van der Meer from the Netherlands.  The workshop was organized by Michigan felt artist Dawn Edwards and held at Design Street, a community art education center in Plainwell, Michigan.


The old fire station has lots of natural light and plenty of space for 12 large felting stations.

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Charity’s work is amazing!  She combines colors, textures and shapes to create clothing that is soft, light weight and comfortable to wear.


The  focus of this workshop was to make a one-piece nuno felted dress or skirt with an emphasis on pleating, layering and adding godets to the design.  Using her very simple but effective patterns we were encouraged to use our imagination and develop our own fashion ideas.  We calculated our starting dimensions (the dress will shrink 100%) and Charity showed us how trace out our patterns onto plastic and add the godet panel(s).  [A godet is a triangular piece of material inserted in a dress, shirt, or glove to make it flared or for ornamentation.]


Using silk chiffon fabric and merino wool fibers we created layers wrapping the silk & base wool around the plastic pattern.  The plastic works as a resist to keep the wool & silk from felting into a 2D shape instead of the 3D shape needed to be a dress.  Overlapping the silk fabric and wool fibers at the shoulders and sides creates the ‘seam’ so no sewing is involved!!

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Day 2:  The silk fabric & wool fibers are layered for the other side but this time making sure to cover the godet separately.

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Now the fun begins = adding the details and embellishments to the dress!!  I used wool fibers, silk fibers, polyester lace fabric, blended wool/silk fiber, plus wool and silk yarns.


Wet down the front of the dress with warm soapy water.


Layout my design and wet down the back.


Sandwich everthing between plastic……


Roll it all up in an anti-skid rug mat and old sheet then start rolling…… rolling…. rolling….


Day 3: Continue  rolling…. rolling… rolling…..

Now it’s time to unwrap and try it on!  (Oh…. was this the part soggy!!!)
And…. oh my gosh…. it fits like a glove!!

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Charity helped smooth and give finishing touches to everyone’s dress.

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And we all went out for a group photo.  Each dress and skirt was true one-of-a-kind work of art!!!

workshop participants

I even had enough time to layout a shorter top before leaving and felted it at home the next day.

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This workshop was just the ticket to my get my creative juices flowing this fall!  I will definitely continue to work with this technique and I’ve made a note in my 2016 fall calendar = Charity may be back to give another workshop!!









  1. Beautiful pieces Barb! Hard to believe you did not sew a stitch! Jenny

    Sent from my iPhone

  2. I finally got to your post. This looks like a wonderful workshop especially since what you created is not just a sample. I’ve never tried the technique but the end results are amazing

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