Faux fur is big fashion trend this season, but sewing this chunky,
furry stuff may seem like quite a task. However, if you take the time to
do a little prep and follow a few guidelines it will make sewing with
faux fur a snap! If you want to try our Faux Fur Bolero bonus web
project (at left) or any other faux fur project, here are some simple
tips for sewing success:
Make sure that you choose an appropriate faux fur for your sewing project.
Always consider the weight and pile of the fur. The heavier the fur
and the deeper the pile, the trickier it will be to sew. Although this
shouldn't scare you away from experimenting with different furs, if this
is your first time sewing with fur, start with a lightweight, low-pile
fur and work your way up from there.
If you are creating a garment, consider the weight and drape of the
fur. You'll want to choose a relatively lightweight fur that is pliable.
This will allow for the natural movement of the body as well as
comfort. You'll most likely want to line the garment, because the wrong
side of faux fur won't be comfortable against the skin. Be sure to
choose a lining fabric that will hold up to the bulk of the fur; so
nothing too flimsy or filmy.
If the fur will be used only as an accent for a garment, such as on a
cuff, collar, or hem, you have a little more leeway in choosing your
fur. Although you still want the fur to be appropriate for wear, the fur
may not need to be as pliable when used in this manner. However, you'll
still want to consider how the fur will feel if it comes into contact
You'll have even more freedom when choosing a fur for non-garment
projects, such as home décor and accessories because the fur doesn't
need to be as pliable when used for a pillow or as a funky accent on a
Do a test sample and tread carefully with your sewing machine.
Regardless of the project you plan to make with faux fur, try sewing
on a sample of the fur before you commit to a large amount of yardage,
especially if you'd like to try your hand at a thick or high-pile fur.
You may need to adjust the tension and/or presser foot pressure on
your sewing machine when sewing multiple layers of fur ue to the
thickness of the fabric. Refer to your sewing machine manual for
assistance with these adjustments.
If you are sewing a high-pile fur, the pile can get in the way of
your seam and cause shifting, tangling, etc. To combat this, comb or
brush the pile away from the seam line and check at intervals to make
sure that the pile is kept out of the way.
Now, let's do a little test run:
1. Place your fur wrong side up with the nap running toward you. You
need to place all pattern pieces in the same orientation on the fur so
that the nap runs in the same direction. On a garment, you'll want the
nap to run toward the bottom of the garment or away from the body (so on
a sleeve, the nap would run toward your hand).
2. Trace your pattern pieces onto the fur, cutting each piece
separately (you don't want to fold the faux fur to cut more than one
piece at a time). I like to use a brightly colored fine-point permanent
marker on faux fur because the markings won't show through to the right
side (figure 1). Be sure to clearly mark all notches and don't
attempt to clip or cut notches along the edge; they'll be too difficult
to see among the pile (figure 2).
3. Cut out your pattern pieces; try to cut only the base fabric of
the fur, leaving the pile mostly intact. Then, prepare your seam
allowances for sewing. It will be much easier to sew evenly if you trim
the pile away along the edge so that you can clearly see where the edges
are. With the fabric held over a trash can (to catch the trimmings),
trim the pile just along the edge with fabric shears (figure 3).
Note: If you'd prefer (or if you have a high pile that will
get in the way), you can trim the pile from the seam allowances before
sewing. On the wrong side of the fur, draw a line parallel to the edge, a
little shy of the seam allowance (in my case the seam allowances were
½" [1.3 cm]; figure 4). Then, sew a line of staystitching along
the drawn line. Turn the fabric right side up and trim the pile up to
the stitch line, but not past it (figure 5). Brush any remaining pile away from the seam line.
4. Prepare your sewing machine by installing a ballpoint needle (the
base fabric of faux fur is actually a knit) and make sure you use strong
all-purpose thread. Set your stitch length to about 3 mm (a zigzag
stitch is also appropriate for sewing faux fur). Pin the fur right sides
together using long pins and then sew the seam, making sure that you
are always sewing with the pile, not against it (figure 6).
5. Press the seam allowances open using a press cloth to protect the
fur. Trim any remaining pile from the seam allowances to reduce bulk (figure 7).
6. Use a seam ripper or similar tool to gently pull the pile out of the seams from the right side (figure 8)
and use your fingers or a comb to fluff the fur. This will help to
camouflage your seams and give your piece a clean, professional look.
All done (figure 9)!