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Restoring the nap on woolens


Senior Member
Oct 8, 2017
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I’m asking a question I have not found a satisfactory answer for in the internet that I hope those tailors or fabric experts out there may be able to answer: is there any way to restore the nap on e.g. the cuffs of woolen overcoats or flannel trousers where it has worn off through wear and abrasion? I assume it has originally been produced by a combing method and was wondering if there is a possibility to somehow emulate this process (what tool would be needed?) to refresh the nap at least slightly?

Looking forward to your thoughts!


Stylish Dinosaur
Nov 24, 2014
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traditional tool is a barbed seed pod called a teasel , either as a hand tool or a machine

Teasel gig detail-d764a3df.jpg

you could try a teasel if they are available , that might be the most gentle option ,

i'd prob find a stiff brush (maybe go to the pet food place and look over the grooming combs n brushes , the wire-type groomers are actually made of carding cloth and reasonable enough to use on a cat ) , i'd suggest trying to keep as much fiber on the cloth as you can as you've already lost some through wear etc . if you find a bunch of fiber pulled away on the teeth right away i'd STOP and find another tool , an alternative might be a few typical fine plastic combs ganged together in a little brush etc .

i'd use water with a bit of dish detergent to help keep things together and assist felting , probably use a tailors ham or a simple board to back the work on the inside of the cloth , and comb up the nap to taste . then i suppose rinse , dry , and gentle press .

good luck !


Senior Member
Nov 1, 2016
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The felting process as accurately described above is worth trying but I wouldn’t expect much. Clothes, like people, eventually wear out.

That said, there are still old Northeast WASPs who wear their vintage, threadbare Brooks Brothers suits with pride, under the conviction that one doesn’t “buy” clothes, one simply “has” them. (The un-moneyed kids at prep school took sandpaper to the collars of their spanking new Oxford-cloth shirts, lest they be branded crass arrivistes.)

Of course if you don’t commute to work into Boston North Station (or along Philly’s Main Line) this information will provide scant consolation. Good luck in your endeavor.
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