Review of Susan Swain’s Wearable Art Wraps workshop by Sara Quail

A dedicated group of 9 ladies braved an incredibly hot day to share Susan’s passion for felted wraps that drape well on the body, are simple, lots of fun and quick to make.

She provided inspiration for at least 7 distinct styles with diagrams and modelled many samples. All the wraps could be made with 2 metres of silk and 100gm or less of fine merino wool. Presented with such varied options, choosing a style was the most challenging part for some participants. There was plenty of advice and assistance to help them make their decision. A wrap needs to ‘drape’ onto your body, so patterns were based on curves and asymmetrical design.

Once decisions were made, patterns were laid out using 2 tables. There was no bubble wrap involved.  Susan shared tips on working on large projects which included an efficient way of laying out the plastic film on which the silk was placed.

Depending on the design chosen, there was some optional cutting of the silk for shaping and armholes. Nothing was wasted and any offcuts were re-attached to enhance the design. She showed us how to neaten cut edges and reinforce armholes with roving.


Then laying out the body of the garment commenced using her suggestions of:

  • Using a lesser amount of wool to make the finished garment more flexible; even a small amount of wool will always keep you warm
  • Keeping the laying out of the roving random – leaving spaces so the fabric can move to conform to the body shape
  • Not trying to be perfect – let the felting process help you learn what it can do all by itself  e. – have fun let it happen!

All the wrap layouts were very individual which was accentuated by the different fabrics, amount of wool laid out and colours used.

With some tips on which nets to use and how to use them effectively, we wetted out the work before commencing the initial rolling. One of her great tips was the use of tee-shirt strips to tie the bundle for rolling.

After removing the net, correcting anything that had shifted and applying another layer of plastic film on top, the hard slog of rolling commenced – at least 800 rolls. There was discussion on fulling options including the use of a microwave or tumble drier.

Unfortunately, the extreme heat precluded most of us from finishing completely – but Susan looks forward to a fashion parade at the next Toss ‘n Tell.