Love to use faux fur, but hate the mess? Maybe you've tried sewing with it in the past and had your heart broken by wobbly seams. Well, it's all really quite simple to manage when you know how to wrangle it. Here are a few key tips you need to know about how to cut and sew fake fur for any project, from fursuits to fashion, and everything in between.
I got inspired by a recent trend of fur vests and coats popping up in shops this season. However, when I tried them on, I either resembled a wookie, or fainted from the price tag. I knew I could create something similar to suit my own needs, and thought this would be a great time to share some special tips for success with sewing fake fur. I chose fur that's both long and short, and paired it with linen to be able to illustrate a variety of situations you might encounter (and reduce my resulting ressemblance to Chewbacca. Not hot.)
Step 1: Determine the Nap of the Fur
All furs have a direction that the fur "grows" in, called the nap.
At all times, you need to keep the direction of this nap in mind. If you're sewing a pair of bottoms, you don't want one leg to look like the fur is growing down and the other up! Same goes with fronts and backs.
On the back of the fabric, mark several arrows to indicate the direction of the nap. Remember to place your pattern pieces accordingly and you'll never go wrong!
Step 2: Trace Your Pattern on the Back of the Fur
Use a marker or chalk to trace your shape onto the back of the fur, keeping the direction of the nap in mind.
For this project, I'm making a simple vest with fur fronts and linen backs. I want the fur to point down, so I align my pattern pieces accordingly. Don't forget to add your seam allowance. Add at least 1/2", as seams can get wobbly when there's fur involved!
Step 3: How to Cut Fur
Here's the best trick you're going to learn about cutting fake fur:
NEVER USE SCISSORS
When you use scissors to cut through fur, you're also cutting the little hairs along the entire cut line. What a mess!
Instead, use a razor blade or X-acto knife to cut through JUST THE BACKING of the fur. This way, all of the hairs stay in tact, and the backing will pull apart cleanly. You may get a few stray hairs that come away, but it's much better than the pile of fur you'd have on your hands if you'd cut through it with scissors.
Step 4: How to Pin the Fur
It's important to pin your fur pieces accurately along the seam lines if you're planning on sewing it.
Pin the fabric right-sides together (again, I'm using fur + linen, but the same theory holds true with fur + fur).
Carefully tuck any hairs that are sticking out into the body of the fabric. You want all of them to be on the outside of the seam!
Step 5: How to Sew the Fur
First of all, don't think you can just take your fur to your sewing machine and everything's going to be peachy. It's probably not. But I'm here to help you get perfect results every time - and trust me, it's worth this one extra step!
Baste all of your seams by hand first. How you baste is important too! If you do a "running stitch," where you poke your needle in and out, in and out, a bunch of times before pulling the thread through, you'll likely shift the seams along the loft of the fur.
Instead, poke your needle STRAIGHT DOWN through the layers of fabric and pull through. Continue along all of your seams and knot off.
Now you know your seams are secured in place, and you can take it to your sewing machine. I like to use a slightly larger stitch with fur, so it's easier to pull out any trapped hair.
When sewing fur to a lighter-weight fabric, I like to keep the fur on the top so it will move through the machine more easily. Otherwise, it's easy for the lightweight fabric to bunch up on top of the pile of fur and create unsightly tucks.
Step 6: Finishing
Now it's time to turn your seam and admire your marvelous work.
If there is any fur that has been sewn into the seam, just ease it out with a pencil or your fingers. There shouldn't be much of that to do if you've followed these steps carefully!
I hope this Instructable has encouraged you to try working with faux fur! It's super fun and very gratifying when you know these simple tricks. While working with real fur uses a lot of the same techniques, you may find that you need an industrial machine with a walking foot to get through a real pelt. I recommend practicing on the fake stuff.