It’s been a while, hasn’t it? Well, I had a pretty good winter break. I got to visit my old hometown and see friends, and now I’m back in California and in classes once more. One big thing I accomplished during the break was finally making my fox fur stole.
An X-acto pen knife
Parchment paper, for a rough pattern
Scissors, for the parchment paper
Pinking shears, for the lining fabric
3 yrds 1/4in twill tape
Supplies, and my water. Sewing is thirsty work!
First I lay the fur on the parchment paper, fur side up, and traced the outside (moving the fur out of the way) with a pen to make a rough pattern. I knew I had to move a few pieces of fur around to make the stole more even when finished, and I didn’t want to cut blindly, so. Then, moving the fur off to the side, I cut the pattern pieces of those bits I intended to move off, and rearranged them until I was satisfied with their new placement. Then I started cutting.
I first cut off the tail, since I knew I wasn’t keeping it on the stole. (It had a very large burr embedded in it.) Cutting fur, faux or real, is a delicate matter, and you want to do it with a blade like a razor blade and NOT scissors. Scissors will ruin your fur.
I began cutting leather side up, using very small strokes until I was through to the fur side all along the line I wanted to cut. Then, because this fur was very thick, I gently pulled the two sides away from each other, using the X-acto knife to carefully cut through any tangles that arose. I then did the same for the small belly piece and the leg piece I wanted to move. (I had meant to keep the ears one, but I ended up removing them.)
You can’t quite see in this picture (cell phone), but I had rearranged the cut pieces to double check the fit. About as even as it was going to get, on to sewing!
I had to sew the leg holes shut first, as I wasn’t quite sure how they would close up I wanted to get it out of the way. I pushed all of the fur out to the fur side, and whip stitched the leather edges together. Then I whip stitched the edges of the pieces I had cut and rearranged. To do this you want to pinch the edges together, fur side to fur side, so the seam is invisible on the fur side, and makes a tiny ridge on the leather side.
I didn't orignally think to take a picture, but here's one from further down the line to illustrate what I mean.
Once that was done I cut the lining with the pinking shears, using the same method as I had for tracing the pattern, but leaving more room around the edges for a seam allowance. (of course, being very, very careful to not cut any of the fur.)
Now it was time to pin the twill tape. To do this you want to pin the fur side first, lining up the edges so they match, with the twill tape’s far side over the fur, like so:
A clearer picture, because I finally thought to get the camera and not use my cell phone *facepalm*
I was lucky, because I only had three yards of 1/4 black twill tape, and at the end of pinning I was left with about 4 inches!
Once the pinning was done I whip stitched those two seams together.
Whip stitching away!
Once that was done I pulled the far side of the twill tape over to the leather side and pinned it down.
Now the fur is going to get in your way here big time. Once everything is pinned, you guessed it, sewing in place and trust me. Whip stitch that bugger, a regular or slip stitch is not going to cut it. (I don’t know about machine stitching, I did all of this by hand!)
I don’t have a picture for that, I got on a plane the next morning, but I kept sewing, even during the flight! It is apparently very distracting/confusing to other passengers to be sewing a fur piece on a plane. Some people at first thought it was an animal… Nope, not any more. It is now clothing, and quite pretty.
After sewing down the twill tape I pinned the lining fabric to it, seam allowances rolled under of course, and whip stitched it in place using very small stitches so it wouldn’t be visible. Don’t worry too much, though, if you’re using real fur it’ll probably be fluffy enough to cover the stitches once it’s done. It’s actually going to be a bit of a bitch to do this part of the sewing, because the fur will get in the way, and you’ll have to tease it out from under the stitches when it does.
Lining sewn down
Sewing the lining is what I did on the plane, I had only been able to pin it in place the night before. I was a tad worried about going through security, but sewing pins I guess are no problem. (I checked the website, but the TSA didn’t say anything about straight pins, so I wasn’t sure.) I almost finished the stole during the flight, but I completed it after getting picked up at the airport.
Finished! About 20 hours of work, all told.
And that is that!