Baize And Wool Fabrics

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  • Post published:2nd August 2018
  • Post comments:14 Comments

We feel passionately that consumers should be given clear and accurate information about products and it frustrates us that members of the public are regularly being sold ‘quality baize’ when they’re actually buying a fabric that is inferior and in most cases, not even baize. So, we’ve compiled this guide to help you shop wisely and learn about the differences between baize and felt.

Are Felt and Baize the Same?

Absolutely not! They’re different types of fabric, made in a different way, and their unique properties mean they’re used for different purposes. The terms should not be used interchangeably. There is a lot of confusion about the difference between baize and felt, not only amongst consumers but also retailers. This isn’t surprising when you search online and find many suppliers describing felt as baize, or a fabric as ‘baize felt’, ‘felt baize’ or even felt/baize as if the two fabrics are the same. They’re not!

Differences Between Baize and Felt

Felt

Felt is made from matted or compressed fibres of either wool or a synthetic material. If, like me, you’ve put a wool garment in the washing machine on anything other than a cold cycle, you will have experienced wool’s marvellous property of felting! The fibres shrink and knit together when exposed to heat and moisture, forming felt. Synthetic fibres are also used to make felt, but as they’re petroleum based, they lack wool’s inherent felting property. Instead, the fibres are interlocked together during the manufacturing process. Synthetic felts are very cheap to produce and are readily available. Blended felts are a hybrid of the two: they’re made from synthetic fibres mixed with wool.

The drawback of felt is that the fibres can easily fluff up or ‘pill’ if rubbed. The synthetic felts are the worst for pilling, and aren’t suitable for any application where the felt will be handled or touched. The higher the percentage of synthetic fibres, the worse the pilling problem will be. Also, thin felt can tear easily if sewn. 100% wool felt, if it’s made properly, can be hardwearing and non-pilling. Top-quality 100% wool felt is not cheap though.

Baize

Baize is a woven fabric with a warp and weft. It’s made from wool or a wool blend, and the higher the wool content, the better the quality of the baize.

A top-quality baize is a strong, dense and hard-wearing fabric that doesn’t pill. It will look great and last for many years. We only stock top-quality baize, with a wool content of at least 95%.

Baize is available in a range of weights, widths and colours to suit a whole host of applications. Because it’s woven, it’s ideal for sewing projects and can be used for fashion, millinery, soft furnishings, upholstery, curtains, car interiors, sound proofing and wall coverings. It’s also used to cover card tables and desks.

The finer baizes with a very high wool content are used for covering snooker, pool and billiard tables. Some baizes are made with Merino wool, and these tend to be faced fabrics which means that one side has a beautiful sheen. As experts on baize, we’ve prepared an article called How to Identify the Face and Nap of Faced Baize if you’d like to know more about faced fabrics.

Properties of Wool

As mentioned above, baize (and some felt) is made from wool, a natural fibre that has a host of really useful properties.  Firstly, it’s fire-resistant, and baize has been used for many, many years for military and fire-service uniforms. It’s also naturally odour resistant, so makes great clothing. It’s also synonymous with ceremonial wear. Wool is hard-wearing and long lasting; if you cover your card table with felt, it’ll need replacing in 6 months or sooner; if you cover it with baize, it should still look good in 20 years! Furthermore, wool is a natural, renewable resource and it won’t give off toxic fumes in your home. Finally, and importantly, it’s biodegradable and can be composted at the end of its useful life.

Not All Baizes Are Equal

Just as felt can be made from wool or synthetic fibres giving very different fabrics, baizes can differ wildly in quality too. We’ve seen baize produced in the Far East which was a woven fabric but it was very thin and had a loose weave. We ran tests on it and found that it shed a lot of fibres quite quickly and was poor quality. Also, there are lots of suppliers selling baize that is 80% wool and 20% nylon which sounds like a high wool content, but the sample we’ve seen had lots of unsightly coarse white fibres in it.

Confusing, isn’t it?!!

As a rule of thumb, if you find a supplier selling cheap baize it’s most likely to be either synthetic felt or poor quality baize with low wool content. The nub of it is that top-quality baize is not a cheap fabric, and top quality 100% felt is not cheap either. So if you’re faced with not much information about the fabric, let the price be your guide.

We Supply the Highest Quality Baize

We sell lengths of baize off the roll for your larger fashion, interiors or furniture restoration projects (available in 10cm lengths, minimum of 1m).

In addition we also provide the following:

  • Baize remnants / offcuts, in a variety of stock colours for your smaller craft projects.
  • Baize cut size – our custom cutting service, any fabric we stock, expertly cut and quality checked before sending to you.
  • Precut Baize Squares – three sizes of square in an exciting range of colours designed for re-furbishing card tables. They also make great photography backdrop/surface for styling tabletop photography.
  • Baize Swatches and Samples – ideal for colour matching and feeling the fabric before purchase.
  • Branded Baize – for businesses who use baize backing on products like desk and table lamps

This Post Has 14 Comments

  1. Lizzy Barclay

    Very interesting learning about the difference between felt and Baize. I would like to buy enough to cover a card table, and not necessarily in green. Can you help me? I look forward to hearing back from you,

    1. Baize and Wool Team

      Hi Lizzy,

      Apologies for taking so long to answer your question. We now offer pre-cut squares that are 86 x 86cm (34 inches) specifically for recovering card tables. The colours available are from our standard range and you have a choice of Holly Green, Cedar Green, Burgundy, Blue, and Black.

      Many thanks in your interest!
      Andrea

  2. Gerald Etto

    Thank you for this information. Are there different grades of baize to tell them apart, or do I have to buy and find out the quality myself?

    1. Baize and Wool Team

      Hello Gerald. There are different grades and weights of baize available and we offer generous sample swatches for all the baizes that we stock.

  3. Diana Cordray

    Do you sell sample swatches and what colors do you have?

    1. Baize and Wool Team

      We offer sample swatches of all the fabrics in our range, and they can be ordered here.

  4. Mick Norman

    Hi,
    I’m interested in some remnants, but on the “www.baizewoolfabrics.co.uk/product-insights/baize-or-felt-a-guide-to-buying-wisely/” page the link to “Baize remnants / offcuts” is incorrect, just taking me back to the top of the current page.
    Do you still offer remnants?

    1. Baize and Wool Team

      Hi Mick,

      We carry a wide range of baize remnants and there are always plenty available (they’re the offcuts and end of roll pieces when we make baize table cloths, so are constantly replenished).

      We also have pieces of vintage baize that aren’t advertised online. We reserve the vintage pieces for customers who are restoring antiques and are looking for thinner, more open weave baize fabric.

      Sorry the link to the remnants wasn’t working – thank you for letting me know. I’m pleased to say it’s now fixed.

  5. Robert Peels

    Goodevening sirs, we are writing a book about falconry 1816-1935 and they used to apply fulled wool on the outside of the falcon hoods. Is fulled wool still available? Can you supply? Where can I find good info on this subject? Thanks in advance for your help, Robert Peels

    1. Baize and Wool Team

      Dear Robert,

      Thank you for getting in touch about fulled wool on falcon hoods.

      Fulling is a term used to mill the woven cloth. Fulling is when the cloth is shrunk and pressed to create a dense thickness of fabric, which is considerably more hardwearing and durable than ordinary non-woven felt. As for what grade of thickness or density is used for a falcon hood, we wouldn’t know without seeing an example. The mill has measuring gauges that measure the thickness and density of a fabric, which they use when producing piano felts and other fulled wool fabric. Fulled wool is still produced for piano felts and architectural uses, but I’d need to know what thickness you require before I’d be able to say whether we could supply it.

      I hope that’s helpful, and if you are able to give me more detail about the thickness (or supply a sample) I’ll let you know whether we can supply it.

      1. Steve Cowgill

        Hi, I’m making a card and board gaming table. Is any material required under the baize prior to fitting into a plywood base. Does a single layer of baize provide enough give to help with grabbing a card off the table? Thank you.

        1. Baize and Wool Team

          Hi Steve,

          Traditionally, card tables are only covered with baize and there’s no need for an underlay. Occasionally we see tables that have a thin layer of padding such as foam, which has been put there for comfort for people’s elbows. However, cards slide well across heritage-quality baize, and our Standard Baize is pretty thick at 1.7 to 1.8mm so there’s no need to put anything beneath it. We sell pre-cut squares of baize specifically for covering or recovering card tables.

  6. Dianne Corkhill

    Hi
    My family are currently learning how to play poker. We love our games & love creating to make it like the real thing!
    I was wondering what it would cost for a piece of Baize fabric to cover my table – to be removed when games night is done. I’d like it in the traditional casino type green please.
    Measurements are 280 length x 120 width
    Also how long does delivery take – approx? I’m in Lancashire

    1. Baize and Wool Team

      Hi Dianne,

      Thank you for getting in touch. The Standard Baize in Green is the fabric used in casinos and would be the authentic choice. It’s a fantastic surface for card play, and our founder Simon Lucas been making gaming cloths out of it for over three decades.

      It sounds like a loose table cloth, custom made to fit your table, would suit your needs. At the moment we offer two styles on this website, Penhallow’s and Chatsworth, of which I recommend the Chatsworth in green. Additional styles are available on our other website, Simon Lucas Bridge Supplies.

      Simon recommends a drop of at least 20cm on a table of that size, and the lead time to make a made-to-measure cloth varies from 3 days to a couple of weeks depending on how busy we are and the size/complexity of the cloth. We send custom cloths within the UK on a roll with a courier which can take a couple of days to arrive.

      We also sell the baize fabric if you’d prefer to make your own table cloth, in which case I suggest a length of at least 3.2m.

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