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Sewing with fur

I have a cape I would like to duplicate and line with fur from on old beaver coat. The cape is a copy of one Queen Victoria used to wear and was in fact sold as a 'Victoria cape'. It is wrist length, buttons up the front to the neck, simple collar, slash pockets and is buttoned several inches from the side seams to accommodate the arms. (A really simple and lovely garment, I get compliments whenever I wear it.)
However, I'm having difficulty finding directions on how to sew with fur. From all I can find out, I have two major tasks 1) piecing the fur to fit the cape and 2) taping the edges of the fur to sew to the neck and front facings of the cape.
If I do all of this by hand, are there any special tools or needles that I will need? I have an Elna 6003 - is there some attachment that I can use to sew fur? Which needles would be suitable for this?
I plan to make the collar out of the fur, lined with the coat material.
Any suggestions you can give me on this project would be much appreciated.
Rita
Reply to
R. Bledsoe
I know little about sewing fur, but you will need leather needles, as real fur is attached to "leather". You are going to have to be careful to make sure that the fur does not get brushed into your seams before they are stitched, but brushed away from the seams so that you do not get a "tucked in" look at your seam lines, which will make your seams very obvious.
A note on cutting: You will want to cut the fur from the reverse, and not use scissors, but a razorknife (or similar cutter) as to not "shear" the fur accidentially, which would make your seams stand out.
I would experiment with seaming the fur, you may find that well butted seams work best with a zig zag stitch. This would give you less bulk at the seams on the body of the furpiece itself. You will probably have to brush the fur well after seaming to hide the seams.
As for the seams where the fur is attached to your fabric, I suspect that you are going to need to use a leather needle there as well.. However, I would take a scrap of fabric and a scrap of leather ( or plastic) and test the leather needle with the combination of the two items to make sure that the leather needle does not cut up your fabric too badly when stitching. (Leather needles have a "knife edge" to cut through the leather, which regular sewing needles do not posess).
I think I would start by piecing & stitching the fur together into the correct shape to match your pattern using a leather needle (this needle will likely require frequent changes), making sure that I was not brushing/tucking the "nap" of the fur into the seams. After I had my main "furpiece" together, I think I would edge the whole piece with a satin type binding (in a appropriate colour for the fur and cape), sewing it to the fur side of the furpiece, which I would then turn to the reverse side of the fur (mitering any angles, as appropriate), leaving a small (1/8"-3/16" ? ) "reveal" all the way around the edges of the fur (the "finished" furpiece should be slightly smaller than the "finished" cape itself, as not to protrude around the edges). This would serve to finish the edges of the furpiece, and would provide a point for attachment to the cape. I believe that most of this could be done with machine..
When I was ready to attach the "furpiece", I would hand sew the furpiece using the satin "reveal" I created earlier as the point of attachment to the inside edges of the cape's facings, with a fairly large, very even overcast "whip" stitch, which is how the fine family heirloom furs I own are finished. In other words, the hand stitches around the edges are quite visible if you look for them.
The collar would be the same process, only much smaller, and the "finished" fabric portion of the collar would be slightly smaller than the "finished" fur portion (so that the fabric does not show around the edges of the finished fur collar when it is in place.)
me On Fri, 29 Dec 2006 23:52:25 -0500, "R. Bledsoe" wrote:
Reply to
me
Thank you very much! Contrary to your assertion, it seems you know a good deal about sewing fur.
Rita
Reply to
R. Bledsoe
I haven't sewn fur, but I do sew leather all the time and after a few early experiments I gave up on leather needles entirely. They have a sharp edge to them that actually cuts the leather. I get much better results using a regular sharp needle (size 18 or 20).
Kathleen
Reply to
Kathleen
Seams can be done by butting and backing or by shaving the fur off the bottom piece and doing a skived lap seam using a good hide glue and stitching. Watch the grain of the hair follicles on the fur. IF the coat was properly made the grain should run vertical with the follicles naturally falling toward the bottom. Because beaver pelt is a softer leather I would not use a leather needle, I would use a heavy 16-18 sharp. It will not slice the leather while sewing like a leather needle normally does and it will give you a stronger seam.
--
Steve W.
Near Cooperstown, New York
Reply to
Steve W.

Dear Rita.
As you already have ascertained, you must piece first. You cut the back, not the fur. Make sure that when piecing, all of the hair is going in the same direction. I use a single edge razor blade. After getting a piece the right size, draw with permanent marker on the leather side. No seam allowances are used. Cut throught just the leather with the razor blade.
For best results, you should have an interlining of batting between two layers of gauze. The edges should be bound with bias, then the bias is attached to the garment. I usually use satin bias that goes with the outside of the garment.
Be sure that the fur is in good condition before going to all the trouble of piecing it and sewing it. If you pull on the hairs and they come out in your hand, don't bother with it. That means that the fur is infected with a virus that will make it shed continuously, and cannot be cured.
Teri
Reply to
gjones2938

How interesting. This explains what I see on another coat - under the lining the pelt is not visible but is lined with what you describe. I didn't understand what it was.
I had no idea fur could infected like that.
Thank you all for your excellent responses. It was very instructive.
Rita
Reply to
R. Bledsoe
I sandwich fur between two pieces of paper and use my regular needle--tear off the paper when finished--works great
Reply to
ilaboo
AmyAlice had written this in response to
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Hi, I have found this article very helpful but I have one question....I would like to know what kind of thread to use to sew my fur onto leather. I am working on a pair of caribou gloves that are trimmed with fur that is worn out and which I am replacing. These gloves were made 20 years ago by a Cree lady from the far North. The beading and hand stitching are exemplary. The fur trim came off easily because it is old and brittle but I cannot break the thread she used....ie it is very tough. It looks like linen but I do not believe it is. I was going to remove the thread and reuse it but decided against it because it is also fastening the flannel lining [baby patterned flanelete].The gloves are in excellent shape with all seams intact. I wear them every year and even though they have been washed many times the caribou hide remains supple. The hide was tanned by the Cree and is renowned for its toughness. These gauntlet gloves are heavily beaded and are precious to me because they raise many fond memories of my time working in on Reindeer Lake in Northern Manitoba near the Northwest Territories. I do hope you can help me with information. Each glove has a band of fur around the wrist and the top of the gauntlet - they are beautiful. I will appreciate any help you can offer. Thank you, AmyAlice
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