What Can I Use Instead of Felt? (6 Felt Fabric Substitutes)

Some fabrics just don't work out. What you think is a great fabric turns out to be less than desirable when you see the way it looks after it comes out of the wash. This is a problem that happens a lot and when it does, you are beginning your search for a tougher substitute.

What can I use instead of felt? The substitute you use will depend a lot on the sewing project you are working on. If the item is a toy stuff bear or something similar then just about any durable and flexible material will do. If you need to do appliques, then something tougher like faux suede will work.

To find out more on what fabrics can replace felt material, just continue to read our article. It has the information you need to know about in order to find the perfect substitute for your sewing needs. Take a few moments and see what will work for you.

Is Fleece the Same as Felt?


Not really. Felt is made from wool and is made by compressing, matting, and condensing wool. Generally, fleece is a 100% synthetic product made from PET and other synthetic fibers.

There is a difference in the processing to make both types of fabrics with fleece having more harsh chemicals and petroleum products involved in its manufacturing. Fleece is designed to mimic wool but it is not wool nor related to any natural fiber that comes from any sheep species.

While felt can be soft like fleece, it is usually a tougher material that is placed on pool tables and some gambling tables. On the other hand, fleece is used for sporting clothing, winter jackets, and other applications.

Also, felt is often used to make some good hats. Fleece can be made into a hat but it will have a different texture as well as a different look than the felt hats come with. Because felt is made from natural fibers it is more eco-friendly than fleece. It will disappear in the landfill a lot quicker than fleece will.

Is Flannel the Same as Felt?

While the two fabrics can come from wool fibers, the processing to make either are still different. Felt is a non-woven fabric that needs to be pressed, condensed, and compressed as well as matted in order to have the fibers remain together.

On the other hand, flannel is a woven material made from cotton or wool fibers. Then one side is brushed to make the flannel material soft. Both sides can be bushed and when it is, the material is called flannelette.

The good news about both fabrics is that they are generally made from natural fibers. The different processes also have flannel feeling a lot smoother than felt. The latter fabric can be quite rough to the touch at times.

Plus, felt can be a bit difficult to work with. Flannel will be a lot easier to handle and maneuver when you have tight corners to sew in place. Felt can be a bit heavier and a lot harder to manage when you need to make intricate stitches.

What Fabric is Similar to Felt?


It is possible to use fleece as a good substitute for felt. While it is soft, it is also abrasion-resistant making it an ideal fabric to use when you can’t get any felt. But that is a good substitute and not a fabric that is really similar to felt material.

There are different felt varieties one being acrylic felt. This material is made from synthetic fibers, which means lots of petroleum products and harsh chemicals. Yet, it is a tough alternative.

It has been reported that rayon helps make a good felt material and it has some natural properties to it that allow it to be matted, etc. Rayon is one of those in-between fabrics that are both natural and synthetic at the same time.

Often, felt makers will have a 35% or a 20% wool content with the rest made from rayon. This blend will lower the cost me and hopefully make the felt easier to work with.

Finally, there is faux suede. This material is also reported to be a good fabric that is similar to felt. It is especially good when you want to make felt appliques and you have no felt material lying around.

What Can I Use Instead of Felt?

The two fabrics mentioned most often are fleece and faux suede. Both have their specific uses which will make them ideal for different sewing projects that normally call for felt to be used.

Fleece can be used for those softer projects that need good abrasion resistance. Then faux suede is said to be a perfect substitute for felt when you want to make appliques. The positive qualities of faux suede are what make it an ideal substitute.

The material is said to not fray and it hardly stretches on you. Those are two qualities that make this material a good substitute. Polar fleece would also work for appliques as it is a bit thicker than other fleece materials.

Usually, any felt-like fabric will be a good substitute. The synthetic fibers used to create felt-like materials are often blended with wool. You can also try any felt made by beaver fur if it is still produced and you do not have any hang-ups about using fur.

Finally, most modern felt materials are using nylon and polyester fibers. So any of those options would be good to use instead of real felt.

Best Felt Fabric Substitute


This is hard to say as there are so many synthetic versions available today that the felt you buy is 6 of one and a half dozen of another. In other words, it doesn’t really matter which fabric you use as most felt-like materials are basically the same.

If you could time travel back to the 1700s and the 1800s, then you could easily get beaver fur felt. it was strong and held together quite well. That is a good substitute for felt. Wool and rayon blended felt are also good as it retains some of the natural qualities felt is known for.

Then you can try faux suede. it is tough and is not that difficult to work with. Also, it is a very durable material that should hold up well under normal use. It will all depend on the project you have in mind. Not all felt-like materials or substitutes will work for every project.

One quality the felt substitute should have is that it should not be slippery. A good non-woven, non-slippery material is best to use.

Other Felt Alternatives

This too is hard to say because while some people say there is a cotton felt and hemp felt alternative, other people have reported that cotton cannot be felted. While some people may think plant-based fibers are a good substitute for wool or rayon or synthetic fibers, that may not be the case.

The quality of the plant-based felt may be lacking. Usually, if you want a good alternative for traditional felt made from sheep’s wool, you can try felt made from other protein-based fibers.

That means you can try those fibers made from Merino sheep, alpacas, and similar animals. Silk is also a good substitute fiber and it is also a protein-type-based fiber as it comes from a silkworm and not a plant.

Silk felt, though, can be quite expensive as would the material made from those aforementioned animals.

Alternatives to Felt for Shed Roof


There are hundreds of different options you can use instead of felt to cover the roof of your shed. Shed felt is just one of a myriad of options you can use and while some felt products do last 25 years and are waterproof, they do deteriorate.

Cedar shakes is one option as is composite or roof tiles made from tar and other materials. Then you can use PVC roofing tiles or some other plastic corrugated roofing that is used in different countries around the world.

The corrugated tin will also hold up well. That is if you can stand the noise when it rains and you are inside your shed. Some people put down their plywood layer then paint a rubberized roofing compound over the plywood. This lasts a long time and is very waterproof and durable.

You are not going to run out of roofing ideas when you need to replace the shed felt roof.

Some Final Words

It is hard to find a good substitute for felt because it is a very unique fabric. Synthetic versions come close but those are also called felt. You would have to check the label to see what types of fibers are used to create the fabric before using it to replace felt.

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