Faux The Love Of Fur!
Faux fur has never been more in trend and has increasingly become more popular for fashion designers to incorporate throughout their collections. Fashion design labels such as Ralph Lauren and Chanel have promoted the use of fake fur by featuring it in their 2019/2020 Winter Collections.
However, time and time again we hear sewists say the same thing- ‘How do I cut and sew heavy fur fabric?’
Faux fur can certainly be a very daunting material to work with, given it’s thickness, heavy weight and often wider width.
Read on to see exactly what to do when working with fur.
Before getting started make sure you have the following-
- A safe cutting surface
- A sharp razor knife or scissors with a very sharp tip (a sharp knife, in this case, is more important than ever)
- Marking pencils to transfer pattern lines to the fabric
- Fabric weights
- A wide-tooth hair comb
The direction of the hairs on the fur must be considered before cutting. In most cases, the hairs of the fur will point downwards.
For example, on a fur coat, the hairs on the fur flow down towards the feet.
When positioning the fabric, ensure that you have brushed the fur and determined the direction of the hairs.
Lay all of the pattern pieces in the correct direction- considering direction of hairs.
Now carefully cut out your pattern pieces, ensuring any excess paper is removed from around the cutting lines.
The key thing to remember when working with fur is to mark the back of the fabric. Turn the pattern pieces over and place them on the backside of the fur (the side without the hairs). Use a marking pencil or tailors chalk (easy to use but can rub away very quickly). It is recommended that you use the fabric weights at this stage to hold the pattern pieces on the fur.
Every sewist has their preferred cutting tool. When cutting fur fabric, you can use a pair of scissors or a craft knife- just make sure that neither are blunt. If you choose to use scissors, make sure you make very small clips along the cut line using just the tips of the scissors. Remember, you are only trying to cut the fabric backing, not the long hairs of the actual fur.
If you opt for the use of a craft knife, cut very carefully around the pattern ensuring that you are not cutting too deep (you want to keep the fur fibres intact). Don’t worry if the piece doesn’t cut all the way through as the next step will help with this.
*Quick Tip- Try cutting a simple shape out of a test piece of fur. Cutting fur can be tricky so a little bit of practice is always safer than ruining your project material.
After you have lightly cut the fabric, simply tug at the cut lines and the pattern piece should come apart from the main material. Once you have carefully removed the cut piece, use a wide tooth hair comb to brush the fur fibres into their natural direction. Repeat steps 1-4 for all of the remaining pattern pieces.
Standard needle and thread is absolutely fine for sewing fur. However you must be sure to lengthen your stitch for best results. The best way to determine the stitch length setting on your machine is to run a test piece through it before attempting the final stitch. Seams may be joined using a zig-zag stitch or a straight stitch. However as fur contains long strands of hair, the openings in a zigzagged seam will not show- making it the perfect seam choice!
After you have finished sewing your fur, flip it the right side out. Take a needle and slowly pull hairs, that have become trapped in the seam, out. Next gently comb the seam to remove any remaining hairs that have become stuck in the seam. Be sure to carry out this step after every seam is formed. It becomes much harder to comb a junction of four seams than to do it at every step.
- No matter how careful you are whilst cutting fur- it will make a mess! Make sure you keep your sewing machine far away from you whilst cutting to prevent hairs from getting trapped or caught in the machine. A lint roller is essential- thank us later!
- Clean your machine after working with fur. During the sewing process, the fabric is likely to give off some lint so take your time after any project involving fur and clean your machine!
- Start small. For your firt time using fur, try a smaller project such as adding a fur collar to an existing garment. Once you are confident with the material, you can start working on that dream fur coat!
Here’s some of our favourite Faux Furs Materials to work with (available at www.fabricguys.com) –