How to Create Fast Retro Looks with Felt

Here is an old felt beanie that was made FOR my father, Ernest Arthur Stahl BY our grandfather, A.C. Stahl. I don't know if we are ready to go that retro but it just goes to show you that no scrap of felt was left unused.

If you are looking for one of the fastest, easiest ways to create a high quality, high fashion retro-look garment, heat printed felt lettering is the way to go. Although it is one of our oldest and the most traditional lettering materials, there are so many of you out there that have never tried felt lettering. Perhaps you think of felt as something that is only for use on school pennants, or craft items or felt banners. Or retro baseball uniforms.  Felt lettering is what GroupeSTAHL grew up on–the original name of Stahls’ ID Direct was in fact Stahls’ Felt Stamping. We still have one of the original kick presses that was used to die cut the felt into letters and numbers back in the day…But that’s a story for another day. Here are some facts about felt:

1) Stahls’ felt lettering has our famous permanent polyester adhesive on the back (the same adhesive which is on our world-famous Thermo-FILM). Which means you can heat print it on all types of cotton and cotton/poly blend fabrics and it will stick without having to be sewn. However, many people like the look of sewn felt and choose to sew it. When felt is sewn, a single stitch is usually used.

2) Felt gives you a texture and high quality feel that you don’t get with film heat transfer materials or screen printing. It is comparable to and is a lower-cost alternative to embroidery or even chenille.

3) Stahls’ offers both acrylic felt and 100% pressed wool felt. The acrylic felt is less expensive and the colors appear brighter than the colors of the 100% pressed wool felt. Both look great.

3) Felt can be combined with embroidery, but it doesn’t require sewing in order to prevent fraying, as twill does.

4) You can easily create retro looks in minutes with a kit of felt lettering on hand, in either Pro Block or Varsity. Or you can order custom cut script or other custom lettering and logo styles.

5) Felt lettering is a classic on caps.

Pick a name, any name. With custom cut script letters you can turn any city name into a retro sweatshirt in minutes.


Two color Varsity felt letters and numbers turn this hoodie and sweat pants into a high value custom set with retro fashion appeal. Just heat apply and go.


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  1. bling says:

    I am confused by some conflicting information.

    You sold me on the felt heat press material in your blog post, but when I go to your site, both the acrylic and wool material say that it must be sewn for permanent application. It sounded like in this post that sewing wasn’t necessary.

    Do these need to be sewn for permanent application?

  2. Ted says:

    We are in the process of updating the website and the application instructions. Now our felt has the same permanent adhesive on it that is used on our Thermo-FILM. So you don’t have to sew it if you don’t want to. Good luck with your felt designs! Thanks for reading.

  3. bling says:

    Thank you, Ted. I don’t do any sewing and don’t want to start. 🙂

    I’ll try some of the felt! Thanks.

  4. Ted says:

    Send me some pics of your felt designs and I will post them. Good luck.

  5. Jill Smith says:

    I am very pleased to find this blog post. I purchased the Pro Block wool felt letters in June and today, wanted to purchase the heat press to create the exact look and design you describe in this blog post. I was told in a live chat that the felt letters must be sewn? This post is over a year old so I want to be sure? Can someone please contact me. I’m ready to buy a press!

  6. Ted says:

    Hi Jill,
    Thank you for reading the blog and thank you for your comment. Hopefully someone from Stahls’ ID Direct customer service has contacted you about your heat press. You just have to make sure that the product you purchased from us has our permanent adhesive on the back and then there is no need to sew. Some people prefer the sewn look and in that case there is no reason to pay more for a permanent adhesive. But if you don’t want to sew, we do have products, also in Twill, that don’t require sewing. Good luck and keep me informed as to how your new heat printing business develops. Thanks again for reading.

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