Introduction: Reversible Carved Faux Fur Cowl/Hood With Muff
At first I wanted to make a fleece cowl/hood. I found a great YouTube video explaining how to make a cowl/hood with a yard of faux fur fabric by Sew Very Easy. I was envisioning a Daenerys Targaryen dragon scale hood/cowl, perhaps made out of burnout velvet. How was I going to do that in fleece? I was thinking about cutting rows of scales and stitching to the base fabric, but that was going to get really bulky. Then I was looking at the blanket I've hung across a doorway to keep the heat in the living room. You can see it in the background of my photos. I liked that it had been sheared to have a horizontal striped pattern. Maybe I could cut out a dragon scale pattern in faux fur?
The cowl/hood requires a yard of fabric, but because I didn't know what I was doing, I bought an extra 1/8 yard to practice my fur sculpting. I wound up trimming out a pretty cool horse, which I used to make a muff on the end of the cowl. I bought a fur with about 1/4 inch light tipped. That way I knew the cut design would show up with the color change as well as the depth of the cut.
The fabric needs to be at least 64 inches wide if you want the nap of the fabric to lay vertically. If you go any narrower, the cowl/hood will be too small. If you're okay with the nap being horizontal, you can use a narrower width and skip the step of cutting the yard of fabric in half, turning the two pieces and stitching them together.
1 1/8" Yd. Faux Fur approximately 64 inches wide - 1 yard for the cowl/hood, 1/8" yard for muff and carving practice
Scissors - best would be sharp hair cutting shears, which I don't own
Face Mask - seriously, fur will be flying and you need to wear a face mask
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Step 1: Get to Know Your Fabric
This is a messy project. Ideally, you'd do all your fur sculpting in the bathroom, or even the shower. I worked in a backroom that has a laminate floor. The fibers go everywhere. Wear a face mask.
You want the nap of the fur to lay flat vertically from top to bottom. The nap is the direction in which the fur flattens and is smooth. It's going with the grain and not against it. The arrow in the photo was created by rubbing the fur in the opposite direction of the nap.
Cut off the extra 1/8 yard of fabric. Practice cutting designs into the 1/8 yard. Obviously don't cut the fabric backing. Smaller scissors work best. I sharpened my scissors a couple of times during the project, even used cuticle scissors. If you use fabric with very long fur, your cuts will create a deeper carve.
Because of the movement of the fur, it can be frustrating to try to carve in details. Think about using fairly simple designs. I looked at Japanese woodblock patterns for ideas. Was thinking about trying butterflies or a tree silhouette, but decided on the dragon scale pattern then on the reverse just pairs of wavy horizontal lines. Inspired by the Lascaux cave paintings, I carved out a horse. I really liked it and so decided to add it on as a muff at the end of the project. If you want to do something adventurous, trying it out on the extra 1/8 yard of fabric is a good idea, so that if it doesn't work out, no loss.
Step 2: Cut Your Fabric in Half and Start Carving
Cut the yard of 64" fabric in half, so that you have two pieces of fabric measuring 32" x 36".
Start at the top of one piece and start to work horizontally to go down the fabric in the direction of the nap. You can "sketch" your next cut with the tip of the scissors. Understand that cuts that are perpendicular, 90 degrees, or on a diagonal to the nap will show up the best. To make cuts that go in the same direction as the nap, you're going to have to trim out quite a bit of fur. I wound up putting the fabric on my knee with the nap going from bottom to top to carve out cuts.
It took a long time to complete the dragon scale fabric, not long for the piece of fabric with the horizontal lines.
Step 3: Start Sewing
Sew both of the pieces together with a 1/2" seam allowance so that the nap goes out from the center in both directions. It can be hard to see the instructions in the fur fabric, so I did a small mockup. That center seam is going to be your neckline.
With the right sides together and the seam at the top, measure down 15" from the top seam and pin. Pin an approximately 8" wide gap to leave open at the bottom of the fabric. Sew one "L" shape with a 1/2" seam allowance, then sew the backward "L" with the 1/2" seam allowance.
Step 4: The Tricky Part
I put up photos of both the fur and my little mockup to clarify this step. Reach through one of the 15" openings at the top and grab the top seam edge of the other 15" opening. Pull through and match the top seam edges together, right sides together. Then match the bottoms of the openings and pin the circular opening. Stitch a 1/2" seam. My sewing machine is not heavy duty and had a hard time going over the stitching at the bottom. Took a few tries, but it made it. The faux fur is super slippery and your seams aren't going to be perfect, but that's not going to show. The fur hides a lot.
Step 5: Turn Inside Out - It's Magic
Pull the fabric to the right side through the 8" opening you've left at the bottom. You should have a tube with an approximately 19" slit. One pattern should be on the outside and the other on the inside. Hand sew to close the 8" opening at the bottom.
Step 6: Add a Muff
Now about that horse. I had enough fabric on both ends of the horse to fold to make a backing, so I sewed a 1/2" seam, but left a gap in the middle to turn the horse pad inside out. Then I centered the horse and sewed 1/2" seams on the top and bottom. Then turned the pad inside out and hand sewed the seam closed. I placed the pad on the bottom corner of the cowl/hood and hand sewed the bottom seam of the pad to the bottom seam of the cowl/hood. Then I hand sewed the top edge of the pad to the cowl/hood, being careful to only sew through the first layer of fur.
Step 7: Cuddle Up With Your Cowl/Hood
The great thing about this cowl/hood is that it can be worn so many ways. If you turn the slit to the front the cowl/hood can be worn as a small cape. When the dragon scale pattern is on the outside, you can still warm your hands in the muff on the underside of the cowl/hood. At first I thought it'd be good to wear over a coat instead of a scarf, but now I'm inclined to wear it while hanging out on the couch and watching TV. It is so warm and fuzzy.
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