Sew furry leg warmers in 3 easy steps: 1. Draft pattern 2. Cut fur 3. Sew one seam on each, turn and wear!
Step 1: Trace Leg.
Use craft or butcher paper or if unavailable newspaper will work fine. Trace around the leg, keep foot flexed down to create as staight a front line as possible. You will use this to be your fold line for the pattern.
Step 2: Draft Straight Line for Fold.
Use highest point and approximately where the end will be, draw straight line. Fold paper down this line.
Step 3: Square Top of Pattern.
Draw a line perpendicular to the fold across the top of the design line. I added 5 inches in height which I sqaured. I did this so my leg warmers would have more scrunch. The amount you add or not depends on your own choice.
Step 4: Add 3" for Girth and Seam Allowance
I started with 3" knowing I would be using a 1/2" seam allowance. The blue furry pair worked well with this measurement, they were easy to get on and a bit loose over my boots. For the black low nap fur pair I only added 2 1/2 ", again knowing I would use a 1/2" seam. The black fur I had a bit of stretch (the blue fur did not stretch at all) and I wanted them a little tighter so the scrunchy folds would hold better. It is better to cut them a little too big and then stitch in a second time if they come out too big. If you cut them too narrow the first time, you will have to start all over.
Step 5: Final Design Line
I wanted leg warmers to wrap over my boots so I drew the line to come down onto the heel and slope in front to lay over the top of my boot. I also smoothed the broken line where I added the 3" so the curves flowed more smoothly in the finished pattern. It is important to have the curve of the heel in mind as this is where the leg warmer will hold in place. Since I do not hem the ends, this design line can be trimmed shorter after being sewn and tried on.
Step 6: Layout Fabric and Pattern
Long hair fur should be cut from the back. Remember that most most furs have a nap ( lay in one direction) so cut all pieces the same way. I used old dumbell weights to hold the pattern in place, but flat heavy rocks or bricks ( clean, of course) work great also. The finished length of my pattern was around 22". 3/4 yard of faux fur should be enough for at least 1 pair of leg warmers.
Step 7: Tips for Cutting Long Hair Fur
Long hair fur should be cut from the back . Cut only the backing by sliding the scissors in an upward angle. Do not cut the fur. This will leave the fur ends long. A moment of practice before cutting will be very beneficial to a great finish.
Step 8: Cut Out
Your leg warmer should look furry around the edges after cutting. Remove the pattern and shake gently. Yes, it is a bit messy and you will need to sweep afterwards.
Step 9: Tips on Pinning
Fold the leg warmer in half and fold the edges of the fur in and then pin in place. As you sew you will fold the fur back in from time to time.
Step 10: Pinned and Ready to Sew
Ready to sew
Step 11: Prepare Sewing Machine
I used a professional Juki machine and opened the foot tension fully. My control is on top of the machine. This is not the thread tension control that is located on the front of the machine. I also used the longest stitch I had. I used regular sewing thread, but do use a good quality thread. Remember to re-set your machine tension after working on fur fabrics.
Step 12: SEW
I used 1/2" seam allowance. Remove pins as you come to them. The top layer will have a tendency to pucker down due to the tension and nature of the fabric to shift. Gently force the top layer back up while holding the bottom layer in place as you sew. It takes a little technique and skill, but sewing slowly will work best here. The top may look like it is puckering as you do this, but in most cases will be able to be smoothed in shape by hand when you are done. Lock ends securely by back stitching several times ( sew forward, sew backward, sew forward ). Now turn and wear! I do not hem the ends as the stich doesn't look good and they just look better to me this way.