I hardly ever get “the” current fashion trend actually made at its height of hipness, so I am pretty jazzed that I actually ordered some beautiful Tissavel fake fur from emmaonesock.com, bought a pattern designed for fur, AND actually constructed the vest all in the same season. Shocking!!
Other than applying the fur trim to Anna’s purple fleece coat, sewing an entire fake fur garment was a new experience for me. I did a little research on recommended techniques, and basically followed Donna Salyer’s advice. In short, cut the fur from the back side, use 1/4 inch seams, zig-zag all seams, line with Bemberg or similar lining fabric, vacuum as you go, etc. The pattern I chose was Kwik Sew 3731, since I wanted very simple design lines so the fur itself would be the focus. I may even be able to squeeze the hat out of the scraps if I do a little piecing!
I traced my size onto tissue, and converted the back from an “on the fold” to a full size pattern piece. I did not trace off a left and right front, but I did remember to flip the pattern after chalking around the first front! 😉 I chalked around the pattern pieces onto the backing – but you could probably also just pin and snip around the pattern piece. The placement of each pattern piece on the fur was challenging. My fur has pelt lines and wavy white striped running thru it. I tried to make the layout as symmetrical as possible, but because the white “stripey” lines were irregular I had a really hard time. Maybe a more experienced furrier would have made a different layout choice, but I am pretty happy with the way it turned out. The only pattern alteration I made was to lengthen the vest by 1.5 inches, which you can see on the tracing of the vest back.
Pinning and sewing the seams was WAY easier than I thought it would be. Maybe because I was using such expensive fur? I don’t know, but my normal pins went thru the fabric easily, and I just used my normal zig-zag foot rather than a roller foot or a walking foot. I did not have any issues with the fabric slipping as I sewed. I did not try to smooth the fur away from the seam until I had the fabric under the presser foot, because unless you pin it every 1/2 inch the fur would not stay in place anyway. For me, it was just easier to use my point turner and keep smoothing the fur as I stitched.
Here’s a close-up of how I stitched – you can see I am bagging the lining and using a zig-zag stitch – I think the width was about 3.5 and the length 2.5.
Donna Salyer does not recommend using interfacing, but suggested that staying seams might be necessary. I chose not to do this, because my fabric backing was really quite firm and it just seemed unnecessary to me on a simple vest. After I finished the machine stitching and turned the vest, I did need to pull some fibers out of the seam allowance. Again, not nearly as much seam cleanup work to do as I had thought might be required. All in all, this was an easy, quick project, and I have already had fun wearing it!