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The fur is about to fly!

2011 February 9
by elizabeth_admin

Are your seat belts on?  Are your vacuums at the ready?  I’m about to embark on my first faux fur sewing odyssey.  Last night I searched the interwebs for information on sewing with fur.  I found some great info:

Melissa at Fehr Trade faux fur tips (FFT)

Claudine made a fur skirt which got me on this kick in the first place and had this to say about working with fur.

Oddly enough, Quilting Daily had a tute.

About.com had one.

Craftster.org had another.

Sandra Betzina’s book, More Fabric Savvy had some great info on working with faux fur.

I know some of you think I’m crazy to be making a faux fur skirt.  But as I said before, Claudine’s version (see link above) was just so cool, I couldn’t get it out of my mind.  I know I’ve talked about my personal style before.  Does a faux fur skirt fit my current personal style?  I think most people would say no, and that I have a more conservative bent to my work wardrobe.  However, remember how I am attracted to patterns that have tricked out seamwork or look  more designery (for lack of a better term)?  Remember the Knip Mode skirt I attempted?  It was very architectural in feel and look.  I think faux fur is unconventional, but not crazy lady territory.  And it fits my mood right now for something a little different and unexpected.  If we can’t experiment with sewing, why bother?  This could be a complete fail, but I won’t know unless I try it.  Or it could be completely fabulous and I could start a trend in Tribeca.  Who knows?  But I want to find out.  And it will only cost me $24 to experiment.  I think that’s pretty cheap entertainment and it doesn’t require a babysitter, so I’m in!

My faux fur has a low pile so it will be easier to work with than one with long or high pile.  I have already decided to line it.  I most likely will leave it unhemmed, but could do a hand sewn hem if I so chose.  But of course I do have a couple of questions that weren’t addressed  or were inadequately addressed in the above resources:

  • Do I pre-treat the faux fur?  Sandra Betzina says to machine wash it on cold and then let it air dry.  But everyone else didn’t even mention pre-treating.
  • Can I use a zipper as my closure?  I have to get this skirt on and off somehow.  I don’t see myself using an elasticized waist as that will definitely add unattractive bulk at my already unattractive waistline. 
  • If I can use a zipper, are there any special directions for inserting it on faux fur?  Not one source mentioned zippers. 

I would greatly appreciate your thoughts on these questions.  Thanks!

15 Responses leave one →
  1. February 9, 2011

    Im excited to see what you come up with. I’ve been thinking of doing the same for a while, thanks to that amazing version of Claudine’s- but I’ve been put off by the “bulk to the midsection” myself. Are you adding belt loops, like her?

    As for zipper, I was thinking of doing handpicked.

  2. February 9, 2011

    This will be fabulous. Love claudine’s. I would use a facing to sew the invisible zipper. Then you don’t add bulk and easier application. Or maybe strip of snaps?

  3. February 9, 2011

    Thanks for all the nice comments on my skirt! I did not pretreat. Frankly, I was not planning on washing it. If it needs some freshening up, I am planning on soaking it in water mixed with fabric softener, then brush it out with a wig brush (like you do for doll hair — of course, you probably don’t know that about doll hair).

    I covered my side seams with ribbon. I inserted the zipper in the ribbon, then attached the whole ribbon-zipper combo to the skirt. Boy, am I bad at explaining. I will email you a photo within the next day or 2.

  4. February 9, 2011

    Note–I have very limited experience working with fur or fake fur.

    My goal in pre-treating it would be to eliminate dust, lint or loose bits of fur. I would not want the dust or lint or fur to get caught in my sewing machine (if at all possible). If I didn’t have space to shake it out (outside) or beat it over a clothes line, I would try running a hand vacum of the fabric. I would not use a very powerful vacum, just something that would remove lint/dust/fur that is already loose.

    I look forward to reading your blog about your experience.

    Rose in SV

  5. Marie-Christine permalink
    February 9, 2011

    I highly recommend Sandra Betzina’s method, the one where you cut out most seams without any allowance, and simply brush the fur away from the seam, and zigzag the edges together. Perfectly fuss-free, totally invisible, and quite strong enough (2 years wear so far for my jacket). Don’t let yourself be bamboozled by everyone’s accounts of epic shaving of the seam allowances, that’s just masochism without any functional point.
    And yes, I’d prewash, it’s a knit, you don’t want it to settle funny..

  6. February 9, 2011

    hmmmm, did you see Gigi’s posts about her faux fur jacket? She used hooks to fasten hers, and I bet it would work great on a skirt. I do love Claudine’s skirt and I applaud you for your sense of adventure. You are right, if you can’t experiment, why even bother to sew?

  7. February 10, 2011

    Have fun, I really enjoyed working with fur. I didn’t pretreat the fabric at all, as for zippers I have no idea, maybe an exposed zipper on top of the fabric would work?

  8. February 10, 2011

    Hmm, I worked with fake fur just once and that was for (a lot of) trim on a jacket. I didn’t pre-treat it because I didn’t plan on machine washing the end result.
    But I know about the seam allowances…. oh yes… The only way you can make the seams lie flat and blend in properly is to pull the fur ‘hairs’ out of the stitching as much as possible (after you stitched the seam, of course) and then, as Marie-Christine mentioned clip the hairs on the seam allowance as closely as possible.
    Fake furs can have several different kinds on back, some of which will fray and other won’t. If yours doesn’t (that bad) and you’re making a lining anyway, I recommend that you don’t bother with any other finishes. If your fabric does fray, you could cover the raw edges with store-bought biais tape.
    As for the zipper, if it’s a low-pile fake fur, I would use a normal or light metal zipper and insert it like a blind zipper (normally or on a facing if necessary), once again going for the fur-on-the-seam treatment I described above. That way you won’t have stitching on the fur but you will have a stronger zipper and you will be able to put a little distance between fur and zipper teeth without it looking weird.

    • Marie-Christine permalink
      February 10, 2011

      Hmm no, Marie-Christine was saying NOT to clip the seam allowance. NOT getting brown acrylic lung disease from spewing clipped fur all over your house. NOT wasting expensive fur by cutting out seam allowances and then shaving them. M-C was saying to cut the pieces without allowance, and NOT trim anything, simply brush the fur in the away-from-seam toward-center direction, gently, with your hands, and zigzag over the very edges. This was not about reading into something what you expect to see :-).
      I’ve never seen backing that frays. If it did, that’d be going -too- vintage :-). But yes, I recommend hooks rather than zippers too.

  9. February 10, 2011

    I say go for it! How do we know what suits us sometimes if we are too scared to try new things? I must say, when you said a fur skirt, I really didn’t think it would work but having just looked at Claudine’s, I can see it does now. I’m Looking forward to seeing your version!

  10. February 10, 2011

    I’m glad my tips could help!

    I didn’t pre-wash my faux fur simply because I never plan on washing the finished garment (yes, I really am that careful!). And I’d be very wary of putting a zipper into fur, as any hair long enough to get near the teeth is going to cause utter havoc. Perhaps some hook and eye tape might be a etter choice? Or you could go full-on with some corset lacing (a shop near me stocks leather tape with the eyelets already installed)!

  11. February 10, 2011

    I’m looking forward to seeing your skirt.

  12. February 11, 2011

    I don’t think you’re crazy at all, faux fur skirts rock and I want one too!

  13. Karen Petrie permalink
    January 23, 2015

    I too am going to make some faux fur skirts for work… I love texture and animal prints. I was inspired when I came across some ‘snoods’ faux fur snoods obviously, on sale at a bargain price of £4 each reduced from £12! I saw them and realized that I could in-act fit them on as skirts and would perhaps pop a zipper in.

    I will post pictures when I am done but I am recently inspired to work with faux fur and have recently made my own version of a handbag that I saw online for £372.00 – I made mine for a whopping £24.00 as I took a plain old large handbag and covered it with fur I bought on-line – doing it yourself saves monster money and the satisfaction is priceless, when someone says wow I love that and you proudly announce that you made it yourself

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