How to Sew and Care for Boiled Wool Fabric and Garments

A boiled wool garment is very versatile, great for the office, going out to a special event or for casual wear. It is easy to dress it up or down to suit the occasion. This is a fabric which will last for many years without losing its shape or appearance. Wool is a Winter wardrobe staple.

What Is Boiled Wool?

Boiled wool is a knit wool or wool-blend fabrics which have been agitated with hot water in a process called fulling. This process shrinks the fabric and results in a thick felted fabric that does not fray and should not shrink.

How do I care for Boiled wool?

Boiled Wool is a purely natural fabric. It has a natural lanolin protection which makes woollen products so easy to care for.

Boiled wool needs to be dry/steam/fresh air cleaned.

  • If a boiled wool coat has just got slightly dirty, it is fine to shake or brush it out very carefully using a fine haired brush that will not damage the wool.
  • To get rid of unwanted smells in boiled wool garments, place them in the bathroom when you take a shower. The air humidity has a "self-cleaning" effect on wool.

Steaming to keep the fabric fresh

Please note test on a small piece first to see how your fabric is reacting to heat.  Use a low heat with steam.

  • Steaming your wool fabric using an iron should be carried out in a methodical no rush way to ensure all areas of the fabric are covered.
  • Set the iron to a wool setting and hold the iron approximately 1.5cm/1 inch above the fabric. Hold the iron there for around five seconds before moving on to the next section.


What can I make with this Boiled wool fabric?

Boiled wool is used in great for winter garments, including coats, jackets, vests, cardigans and coatigans. It is also recognised as the material used for items such as berets, boots, slippers, hats and bags. The warmth and durability of the fabric make it ideal for blankets, rugs and throws.

Is boiled wool a good coat fabric?

  • It is very warm and snug and water resistant to a degree.
  • Tiny air bubbles are trapped in the material when it is boiled, it is this that forms a natural buffer against cold temperatures and keeps the wearer at a constant temperature.
  • This is a fabric that allows your skin to breathe, so it’s highly comfortable while still being snug.
  • It’s lightweight and soft to the touch, so feels great against your skin.
  • Because of the density of the fabric, it’s also more resistant than other wool to water, as drops of water roll off the surface.

Sewing Boiled Wool fabrics

  • Sharp pins don't catch threads when pinning out your pattern to cut.
  • Small clips or pegs are useful for holding the fabric pieces together when handling thick layers.
  • A seam stabiliser will help if the wool fabric is a bit stretchy, this helps it keep its shape. Shoulder seam in particular.
  • Trim one seam side down to minimise the bulk. Sewing the seams down also helps keep it neat and strengthens the seam.
  • Best sewn with a walking foot however if you do not have a walking foot and the fabric is stretching. Try a short, shallow zigzag stitch.
  • Boiled wool does not fray and does not need to be hemmed.
  • Use a ballpoint needle and test your stitch length on a scrap before starting your project.
  • Press seams flat with a roller or your fingers.
  • Don't use a pin, needle or anything sharp to get the front and collar seam neat seam. understitch if possible and ever so gently rub the edge so that it is neat.
  • Reinforce buttonholes or use bound buttonholes.

Tutorial for bound buttonholes HERE

Sewing Patterns from Independent Pattern Companies

named clothing - Gaia Cocoon Coat

There are a lot of really nice and easy sewing patterns available to use with boiled wool. As the fabrics are quiet expensive choose your pattern with care, don't choose a design that will not suit your fabric, read the envelope to ensure you purchase the correct size.


Kwik sew 4257
6736 Burda
simplicity 8573
burda 9429
V8940A Vogue
Kwik sew-3899
V9044c Vogue
simplicity pattern-8742

What to make with boiled wool, ideas from the world wide web.


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  • Reply
    Sara Wilson
    03/12/2018 at 4:26 PM

    You make it sound so easy.. I will need some extra practice

  • Reply
    Clare Cash
    08/04/2019 at 6:31 PM

    I’m a bit late to ask, but do you remember which pattern was used for the grey jacket pictured next to this article, please. It has a draped collar and a buckle at the waist. Very stylish!

    Thank you,

    • Reply
      12/04/2019 at 1:15 PM

      Hello, if it is the grey jacket to the right on a picture of three jackets, then it is a jacket spotted in a fashion store. GROA Women’s Boiled Wool Jacket – Light Grey found on Polyvore. It was a pattern style we liked and the pattern you could use to “hack” may be the Harper jacket by Style Arc –

  • Reply
    12/04/2019 at 3:07 PM

    Thank you, Rebecca. The Style Arc pattern looks promising. Off for some ‘hacking’.
    Happy sewing,

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