How to successfully sew with faux fur and pile fabrics

Use McCalls 7511 for your first faux fur jacket
McCalls 7511 is easy for faux fur

There are lots of lovely faux fur garments in the shops this winter and so of course, it’s time to start sewing with faux fur. Butterick, McCalls and Vogue Patterns have a great selection and best of all,most are easy to sew so quick to make as well! (You only need simple lines to let the fabric do the ‘talking’).

 

 

I’ve based my simple shrug on McCalls 7289

I’ve got my cocktail dress to wear this winter (Vogue Pattern 8997) but need a little topper to keep my shoulders and arms warm  so I’ve made McCalls 7289, a little shrug that’s super easy to make.

 

Faux fur is handled the same as many other plush fabrics, such as luscious velvets, faux suede, velour, brushed cotton, brushed denim, fleece and more. Because of the wide range of fabrics available with a pile or surface finish, they can be used for a huge variety of garments from luxury eveningwear to casual but cosy clothing.

 

Cosy up in a fabulously warm faux fur coat made from McCalls 7257
McCalls 7257 is an easy to make boxy style jacket, coat or shrug

SEWING TIPS

Needle choice – The needle of choice will depend on the weight of fabric but generally, you can use a sharps/universal needle. So for light to medium thickness faux fur, a 80/12 is fine whilst for a lightweight silky velvet, you might want a 75/9 and for dense fabrics a more robust needle such as a 90/14 or jeans needle. For stretch fabrics such as velour or fleece, opt for a ball point needle again with the size to suit the fabric.

 

Seams – A regular straight seam is fine for fabrics with pile. Press seam allowances open and neaten raw edges separately. If the fur you are working with is ‘long haired’ trim away some of the fur from the seam allowances before stitching the seam. Also on furry fabrics, you can use a pin to tease out the fur from the right side along seam lines making it almost invisible.

 

Use Kwik Sew 4197 with a double sided suede/fur fabric
Lapped seams work well on double sided fabric. This is Kwik Sew 4197

Lapped seams – these are ideal for double sided fabrics such as faux suede or some fused woolens. Cut the underlap seam allowance off and then lap the top layer. Sew close to the edge of the top layer and again 1cm away. I did this for a faux suede/fur  backed fabric from which I made a coat. I love it, so cuddly and warm.

 

Stitch length – lots of faux fur fabrics are thicker because of the pile, so a longer stitch length may be better (a longer stitch will prevent the fabric puckering). Try a stitch length of 2.8 – 3.5 depending on thickness and number of layers. Try out a seam on scraps of the same fabric to see what works well.

 

Hemming – its best to have just a single layer of hem allowance, so neaten the raw edge before turning it up the required amount. Consider using bias binding wrapped around the raw edge for a really neat and ‘designer’ finish before turning up the hem. Then stitch with a blind hem machine or hand.

 

Vogue Pattern 9231 is ideal for a double sided fabric
I’ve used Vogue Pattern 9231 to make a faux suede and fur coat

QUICK TIPS

  • Follow the ‘with nap’ layout when cutting out fur or fabrics with a pile so all pieces are the same way up, head to toe.
  • Cut from a single layer of fabric and flip tissue pieces over to get a right and left.

 

  • Rather than using pins, which can get lost in the pile, use paper clips or quilter’s clips.
  • Stitch all seams in the same direction, and preferably with the pile, ie from top to bottom
  • Use a walking foot to keep layers together as you sew – otherwise the pile on the fabric surface can cause the fabric layers to ‘walk’ unevenly as you sew. Also pin more closely together, pinning at right angles to the seam so you can whip the pins out easily as you sew.
  • When pressing, use a press cloth and always press from the reverse and over a needleboard (which has velvet or tiny pins into which the pile can sink) or alternatively, use a scrap of fabric or soft towel to press onto, which will also protect the pile.

 

  • Consider cutting facings,pockets etc from a cotton or satin lining fabric rather than the fur which may be too bulky.

 

Grade the seam allowances by cutting the garment seam to 1cm and the facing seam to 6mm.