Saturday, 3 May 2014

Sewing with Fake / Faux Fur

Ahoy-hoy!

In the last project, I've been learning about fake / faux fur. I've not done a lot of work with fake fur before (although I have done some) so it seemed a good idea to do a little reading and report on my findings and experience.

Cutting

This stuff gets everywhere! The key to cutting fake fur is to cut through the base layer of fabric, but not through the fur itself.

There are two terms you will want to know.
Pile is the strands attached to the base fabric. These will vary in length, thickness and composition.
Nap is the direction in which those strands lie.

When you are cutting out, the first thing you will want to know is which way the stands should lie. This should be noted on your pattern pieces. On my bear, each piece would have the fur lying in such a way that if you stroked the bear downwards the fur would rest comfortably. The ears went the other way so they tufted upwards. In most coats, the fibres will want to fall down the body as well. Be aware of this as you place each piece.

Because fur is so thick, you can't cut it out on the fold. You also need to to work on the back, rather than the furry side of the fabric.

Pinning was a bit ridiculous, and I abandoned that idea quickly.

Being mindful of the nap, trace out the pieces you require. Keep in mind that you may need to flip some to face the other direction. I used a fabric marker to trace out the shapes. Be sure to include any markings.

Flip and trace to create a mirrored pair. These are sides of the teddy bear's head.

From here, cut with a sharp craft knife rather than scissors or rotary cutter. This is because scissors will cut the pile, and this will create a blunt edge in the finished result. By keeping the strands uncut, you can get a more professional finish. You can use scissors if you snip carefully to avoid clipping the fibres.




This is what we're aiming for.
Once you've cut, brush off any excess bits and comb the fur in towards the centre of the piece.

Pinning

When you are pinning the fabric together, you need to take care to tuck in the pile as much as possible. You can do this by pushing it in with a thick needle or knitting needle as you pin.




Random bit of fluff holding on there...


Sewing

Use a longer stitch than normal when sewing fake fur. My seam allowance on this pattern was 5mm. I think next time I'd make it a bit more, and then trim it back. Fur is bulky. I've also read about using a zigzag stitch, but didn't try it. Make test swatches!

Teasing out the Pile
When you finish your seam, some strands will be caught in the stitches. Use a darning needle to delicately pull out the strands. Work in small sections, angling the needle to pull away from the seam (not out of the fabric itself).




When you're done, you will definitely have to clean your machine. Probably the room.

That's pretty much a basic overview of fake fur. Its fussy and can be slow going, but it isn't complicated or scary.

Readers: Any other tips out there?

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