I am Angela and I really love to sew. I started sewing as a child and by the time I was a teenager I was wearing the very latest fashions to go out in. I wear my Handmade clothes almost exclusively Years have passed and I am passionate about reducing the amount of textiles sent to landfill. So I started this blog in order to have a way in which to pass on my gained knowledge, and my professional knowledge to you, free of charge. Sewing is empowering, you can save money by making items, make money by selling then, and you can pass your knowledge on to others. What is not to love? Interestingly I am a direct descendant of the Flemish weavers who came over to England in the 1300's. I find that fascinating especially as most of my family from as far back as I can trace are somehow involved in the manufacturing of fabric . As a child my Saturday mornings were spent at Dads factory playing amongst razor sharp Card Clothing . My grandmother worked in the cotton mills and one of my aunts made bespoke car seats. I have a degree in tailoring with a special interest in WW2 fashion. I have Parkinson's and support disabled people without question. Do ask if you need help or advice on sewing aids and techniques Angela.

Monday, 30 November 2015

HOW I MADE MY FAUX FUR HAT AND JACKET.A Minerva Crafts Blogger Network post

Coat pattern by Simplicity. hat pattern by Burda

I have been looking at these coats in the shops and noticed how expensive they are, so when I saw this fabulous faux fur fabric on I knew I had to make one my own coat.
Here is the list of items you need to make one of your own
  • Faux fur fabric.2m made both hat and jacket in size 12 /14  I used the long pile fur in Grey. It comes in other colours and in a short pile version.  PLAIN LONG PILE FUR
  • Anti static dress lining in Navy Blue,    Lining
  • Prym fur coat hook and eye fasteners in Grey Fur coat Fasteners
  • A very small piece of interfacing for the collar Interfacing
  • Simplicity 2150 pattern Jacket pattern
  • BURDA 7175 for the hat HAT PATTERN
  • I am fond of COATS sewing thread, you will need both Grey and Navy  COATS THREAD

Faux fur  ChiChi or headband from Jewellery Bank  see the web site for more information Winter white faux fur ChiChi

You will need to gather together your sewing machine with a new needle for heavyweight fabrics, an iron and ironing board, a pressing cloth and one more essential item - your vacuum cleaner! 
You will also need a few very long pins,  tailors chalk and sharp scissors

This is where your normal cutting out routine goes out of the window. You cannot cut fur out folded over double as in dressmaking, it just won't work. 

The first thing to do is to look at the fabric and study which way the pile faces. You want the pile to go down you body so take your tailors chalk and mark a huge arrow on the back in the direction of the pile to remind you. 

Spread the fabric out upside down in one layer. Study the direction the pattern pieces need to go.

Using a few long pins pin each piece in turn to the fabric and draw around it with chalk. Take the pattern off, reverse it and do the same again.
Pics that should be cut on the fold need to be cut in one piece too, so draw around one side first, reverse the pattern piece and draw the rest of the piece

Transfer all pattern markings onto the fabric  with chalk too Before you even reach for the scissors check that you have a left and a right of everything, fronts, sleeves etc and that the back is cut in one piece.

Dont just chop into the fabric any old way. You want to avoid cutting the pile as much as possible so lift the fabric slightly and cut the backing ONLY with your scissors.

Again, check that you have cut everything out correctly. It is not easy to stay stitch the neckline and hem, and I found that the fabric does stretch so I suggest using a bit of quilting tape to temporarily stabilise the areas, or hand stitch around these areas with a small running stitch

When you start to machine stitch, keep pushing the  strands of fur pile back inside the garment, away from the seam line. 
Stitch the shoulders and side seams.

Then take a long darning needle or similar and tease any caught strands out of the seam on the right side of the garment . I find it beneficial to brush the seam at this stage too.

Trim the bulk from inside  the seam allowance, taking care not to snip too far.

Carefully,  and using a pressing cloth, press the seams open. I then found that it was a good idea to loosely catch stitch the seams down at this stage to reduce bulk. Fur burns, so do take care!

Attach your piece of interfacing to the collar. , stitch the short ends, teasing the strands out as before.
Decide which way the fur pile should go and pin then stitch it to the neckline. Grade and trim the seams
Stitch the sleeves in place.
Turn the hem up and catch stitch it in place.
The pattern Instructions say to stitch the whole of the lining in place in one go, I tried this and found that it was difficult sewing the hem this way because the fur stretches and the lining is very firm. So I used a walking foot and stitched from the lower front around the neck and down the other side, then I hand stitched the hem in place by hand. Stitch the seams down by hand as before to reduce bulk, clipping curves and trimming corners as you go.
I tacked the lining around the sleeve opening and hand stitched the lining in place.

Attach hook and eye closures, made especially for fur to the front of the jacket. Inspect the seams again and  ease out any caught strands of pile.
To hold the lining in place I hand stitched a small running stitch all around the edge of the jacket on the inside,  fixing the lining to the fur backing to avoid the lining slipping out of place. If you do it neatly it is actually a nice finishing touch.

This picture shows the sleeve lining being stitched in place by hand. I tried the method in the pattern instructions but found doing it this way much easier.

Now for the hat. This pattern is actually made in fabric with a fur band stitched around the rim need to measure your head and choose the correct size. I also found that the crown was too high so I reduced the height by around two inches. Your head size will differ, so I suggest making a toile in some old fabric first to get an idea of the size which is right for you, remembering that fur will be bulkier.

It is very easy to make. Stich the crown together by stitching the side seam and then attaching it to the top, dealing with the seams as before
Stitch the lining together in the same way and put the lining inside the hat wrong sides together.

Stich the brim together at the sides, decide which way up the fur should go and wrong sides together attach the brim to the hat.
Turn the brim to the right side, folding it upwards, the seam will now be hidden, and do a bar tack at the back seam to hold the brim up.

This is the finished coat. Sewing with faux fur does provide some challenges and you need to concentrate right from cutting out through to finishing, but I found the results worth it all.
The main problem is that the fabric has a stretchy backing and because you need to preserve the pile and blend the seams into one overall fur ball you need to be inventive when it comes to things such as stay stitching
There is no point iether in choosing a complicated pattern, as the detail will be lost .

Fur ChiChi from Jewellery Bank as above

The fabric speaks for itself, it is soft, cuddly and very warm, so take care when you make it and it will be an essential part of your wardrobe for many years to come.

Thank you very much indeed for this stunning fabric and for all the cosy days ahead of me.
Dont be afraid of  making this coat, if you do come accross a point where you would  like some help please contact me on the top right of my blog home page.

And finally, I joined the remnants together and made a furry scarf, stole, whatever, I will wear it!

That's every single scrap of fabric used. I call that value for money.

Thank you for reading this, I hope that you make this coat too!