How to sew faux fur ?
With winter coming, this is the perfect opportunity to sew vests, scarves, coats or small fur accessories. So here is a guide of things to know, do and not to do when you sew faux fur.
I myself am sewing faux fur vests this week !
The steps are similar to sew real fur. But personally I chose to only use the fake kind.
Laying out the pattern
First, we must determine the nap/hair direction and mark it with an arrow on the wrong side of the fur.
Fur is always cut in a single layer. That means that for laying out and tracing the pattern :
1- fur should be spread flat in a single layer, wrong side (“skin” side) toward you, hair side toward the table.
2- The pattern pieces will all be laid out in the same direction: the direction of the hair.
3- The pattern pieces, that should have been cut on the fold, should be traced twice and taped together. To then be laid out and cut as a single piece. This applies mostly to backs, collars,…
4- For pieces that need to be cut twice (but not on the fold), it will also be easier to trace them twice in order to properly lay out, at the same time, all the pieces on the single layer of the fur.
NB : When you need to cut two identical pieces on a single layer of fabric remember to lay out one as a mirror image of the other. Or you’ll end up with two left fronts instead of a left and a right.
Tracing the pattern
Draw the edges of the pattern pieces with chalk or marker on the back of the fur before cutting.
Don’t forget to also trace the markings on the back of the fur.
To keep the pattern pieces secured to the fur I personally, as I do for other fabrics, prefer to use pattern weights (any fairly heavy object can be used: small dumbbells, cast iron trivets,. ..). I only use pins if it seems essential.
You should only cut the woven support fabric (in case of faux fur) or the skin (in the case of real fur), hair must remain intact.
If you cut with scissors, like you do with any fabric, the hair will inevitably be cut too. This is even more important when the hairs are long.
So at the cutting step proceed by cutting carefully along the tracings. It is recommended to use an extracto knife or a razor blade to cut the woven fabric without cutting the hair, with small strokes and gently pulling away the edges as you do so. Watch out for your fingers and your table !
You can try to cut with the tip of the scissors, sliding along the canvas. This is longer and more tedious than using an extracto knife.
Once you’re done cutting, take your pieces over the trash or sink, shake and remove the lint that may have accumulated along the cut edges … You’ll still need to get the broom out, but there will be less to pick up.
Which needle, foot, stitch, thread?
90-100 universal needle with a regular presser foot and polyester thread.
I use a long straight stitch. But a zigzag stitch sometimes works better with long hair. Do not hesitate to test on your scraps !
Joining the pieces
Lay the pieces right side together, pin perpendicularly to the seam allowance, pushing the hair inwards and not toward the seam allowance as you sew. Not with your fingers ! Use a small wooden stick or a knitting needle, for example.
Before taking the fur to the sewing machine, you can also baste the pieces together by hand especially if the fur is thick, it will facilitate the work : the pieces will not move while sewing. This is a step that I do not overlook when the edges to join are long.
Sew in the direction of the nap (so usually downwards) to prevent the hair from moving around.
Once the seam sewed
1- From the right side : gently pull out the hair caught in the stitches of the seam with a needle or a seam ripper.
2- From the wrong side : cut/shave the hair of the seam allowance to avoid having too much bulk at the seam. Some shave the hair of the seam allowances before joining the pieces, personally I prefer to do it after. I might have to let out a seam a bit if the garment is too tight and in this case, “unhairy” patches would become visible.
3- Open the seam. As always pay attention to the temperature of your steaming iron so that it doesn’t melt the hair (if faux fur) and experiment on scrap before. Instead of using an iron to open the seam, you can also press with your fingers and a small wooden stick.
4 – For straight hairs (long or short) comb along the seam. For any other kind arrange the hairs with fingers.
5- Once the project is done : cleaning your sewing machine (bobbin compartment,…) is essential, lint, hair and particles will be trapped there.
Here’s a video from Burda on sewing fur. It’s in German, which I do not understand a word of, but the images perfectly illustrate several points explained above.
Sewing faux fur takes longer, requires more steps and precautions that other fabrics. But you’ll be rewarded with a cozy garment or accessory for winter.
You will find, in the following article, free patterns designed specifically for fur: Free Patterns for fur