How to Cut & Sew Faux Fur

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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.

Happy sewing!

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    38 Discussions

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    rguldbrandsen

    Question 10 months ago on Step 2

    Hello would be true for By Shannon fur this is a real mess to work with. Thanks Rebecca

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    AliciaH23

    2 years ago

    How do I prevent the faux fur back from stretching while sewing it? Do I need a special foot on the machine? I have an industrial Juki.

    3 replies
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    scoochmarooAliciaH23

    Reply 2 years ago

    Ooh, if you can get your hands on a walking foot, it will change your life. If not, a silicone foot or one with a roller will help. I just use my fingers to manipulate the materials through the foot so they don't drag. Let me know how it goes! I know it can be frustrating.

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    Tardogscoochmaroo

    Reply 1 year ago

    Just wrote, but wanted to mention an incredible little tool, it let's you get right up to the needle to help with many awkward thing. I discovered it months ago on amazon, thinking it might be a stupid gadget, now I do can't do without it. It's called The Purple Thang; it's only a few bucks, but makes sewing just a little easier.

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    Tardogscoochmaroo

    Reply 1 year ago

    Absolutely a walking foot, my old Pfaff with it's built-in walking foot was incredible. My new Viking 930, I just bought the walking foot - expensive. But I wish I'd bought it 2 months ago! The faux fur was awful to handle and is turning out ugly - good enough to wear for Walmart ;o). I'm at the hemming, but I'm not sure how to handle this part, so I checked into this site to hopefully figure it out....GigiJ

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    susimess

    2 years ago

    I am so grateful to you for the tutorial. I now feel more confident in tackling this new skill. I have five faux fur animal hats to make for a play. Susi Adelaide South Australia

    1 reply
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    scoochmaroosusimess

    Reply 2 years ago

    Wonderful! I hope you post pictures of your creations :D

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    LouisaN1

    2 years ago

    I'm yet to try but definitely feel more confident after reading this! Thank you very much!

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    nanothelombax

    2 years ago

    Excellent tutorial <3

    definetly going to help me with making some ears!! :D

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    milinventos

    3 years ago

    thank you! i do believe you just saved my christmas making gifts good cheer! not to mention the end result :)

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    EveA5

    3 years ago

    I love this faux fur you've used for this vest - please can I ask where you found it.

    Thanks and I really enjoy the blog.

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    Cat00x

    3 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks for this instructable. I just bought some "bear" fur to make a costume and am wondering how the seams will look on the sewing machine. I was considering sewing the whole thing by hand. The fur once unfolded is nice and smooth on one side of the fold and all crumply on the other. Do you have any idea how to make it smooth? Will a steam iron work? Moisture and a brush? I'm afraid to ruin the fabric. Thanks for your help!

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    umiluv

    3 years ago

    Thank you so much for this tutorial! Very informative and easy to follow.

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    Ryburrr

    3 years ago on Introduction

    Awesome tutorial! A lot of "duh" moments here, but you pointed them out so well! I will have some great new stuff for the playa this year :)

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    Eliseyloo

    4 years ago

    Yay the tip about the razor just made sewing this Halloween costume a much more exciting prospect :))

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    LynnM1

    4 years ago on Introduction

    love the vid clip. I have seen both satin and a type of knit lining on commercial faux fur gilets. Which is the preferred material? i.e. would satin or tafetta slip too much in the winter? Thanks.

    This instructable contains simple but such helpful info! I love what you did with the example you've shown. Thanks!