textile made from condensed fibers

Felt is a type of cloth or textile. It is a complex network of threads or yarns. They are pressed together usually when wet. This is matting fibers, with water and soap. It may also be made by poking the fibers with barbed needles. Felt can be made by hand, or by machine.[1] The fiber can be wool or fur or artificial fibers.

felt hat
Kazakh felt yurt

People have been making felt longer than any other kind of fabric.[2] Felt can be of any color, and made into any shape or size. Felt is used to make many things like clothing, hats, and rugs. Nomadic people in many countries live in tents made of felt.

Felt is used for many different things. Today, people use felt for hat-making, insulating (making warm), sound-proofing, and cushioning.

Felt versus fabric

Felting needles

The difference between felt and most fabrics, like denim, is that most fabrics have a regular criss-cross, in-and-out weaving pattern, but felt is a messy jumble of fibers.

Most fabrics are woven for strength and smoothness: they need carding to straighten the fibers, spinning to turn fibers into long threads and weaving to make fabric.

Felt only needs a carding comb. Because of this, felt was often used by nomadic people.


  1. Tellier-Loumagne, Françoise 2008. The art of felt : inspirational designs, textures and surfaces. London: Thames & Hudson. ISBN 978-0-500-28731-6
  2. Barber E.J.W. 1991. Prehistoric Textiles: the development of cloth in the Neolithic and Bronze Ages, with special reference to the Aegean. Princeton: Princeton University Press.