Monthly Archives: January 2011

Faux Mink Jacket – Part IV

Since I had some uninterrupted time this morning I decided to put the pockets in. Cutting into your jacket fronts is always scary (especially in a pricey fabric) and I wanted to make sure I had a clear head.

First, I marked the pocket opening on both fronts, making sure they were identical. My hands are small so I made my opening 5.5″ long. I determined a comfortable placement during a try-on.

marking

The next step was to stay the opening. To reduce bulk I used silk organza selvedges left over from another project. Twill tape would be fine too but it is a little more bulky. The stay is attached at the finished edge with tiny fell stitches and then a diagonal basting stitch is used to attach the remainder to the backing (running basting stitch would be fine as well). I taped across the top and bottom of the opening,

taping1

and then down each side. Notice that I left a hairline space between the two so that I don’t cut the stay or the stitching later.

taping2

Now for the scary part, carefully cutting the slash!

cutting

I am using 2″ wide strips of Ultrasuede (gotta love that Ultrasuede stash!) to face the slash. You could also use petersham, real leather/suede, even grosgrain ribbon would be okay (albeit a bit stiff). I cut my strips extra long so that I didn’t have to fuss over the placement. Whipstitch your facing strips to the edge of the slash being sure to catch your stay in the stitching and pushing the fur out of the way with your needle. I opted to do this by hand because I have more control that way.

whipstitch1a

whipstitch1b

whipstitch2

whipstitch3

For extra reinforcement I then zigzagged over the edges with a short, narrow machine zigzag. I know these pockets are going to get a lot of use and I don’t want them to tear out later. Do not use a satin stitch or you will perforate your Ultrasuede/leather/suede! I used a stitch length of about 1.5 mm and a size 14 needle.

zigzag2

Once that’s done, you can turn your facing strips to the inside and attach your pocket bags (I used a sturdy 3-step zigzag for this). Again, sorry for the lousy photos. I am camera-challenged since my adorable granddog chewed the screen on my good camera.

inside

pocketbag

When I was examining the Persian lamb jacket, I noticed that everything inside had been tacked down, including the pocket bags. I did the same and I think it’s so much nicer than having them float around in there. The beauty of working with faux fur is that none of your stitches show on the right side.

catchstitching

The pocket opening is barely discernable from the right side – cool, huh?

outside

I would like to thank the authors of this really awesome vintage Vogue booklet for teaching me this great, bulk-free method (this is similar to the method you’d use for buttonholes in fur). If you are interested in sewing fur you really need a copy of this book! It’s small and thin (less than 50 pages) but loaded with great information that is still relevant 40 years after it’s publication date.

book

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Faux Mink Jacket – Part III

After much deliberation, I decided to cut the collar on the bias. Thank you all for your thoughtful input!

biascollarnew

Doesn’t it look pretty from the back? (Lightened to show detail)

collarback

I cut and sewed the collar late last night and then padded it with some cotton batting I had left over from my quilt two years ago. When I took apart the Persian lamb/mink jacket on Saturday, I noticed that the collar was padded with lambswool (there is a lot more structure inside a fur coat than I expected!) so I thought I’d do the same. I kept the batting out of the seam allowances to reduce bulk and attached it with uneven and diagonal basting stitches. It seems like a lot of handwork but it really didn’t take long, maybe an hour. With all the handwork I’ve been doing lately, I am considering learning how to use a thimble!

padding

I cut the batting out of the foldline so that the edge wouldn’t be too thick.

foldline

The fronts are stabilized with hair canvas and I am getting ready to stitch bits of bias-cut canvas into the hem area. The hair canvas along the facing foldline gives a nice crisp edge.

interfacing

The backing of this fur is quite stable (it’s a woven) so I only taped the off-grain areas. I will also stabilize the neck edge by fusing stay tape to the lining neckline (less bulky than more twill tape).

taping

Tomorrow, I am going to experiment with pockets as I’d like to finish them before I stitch the fronts to the back. Once they are done, everything will go together quite quickly! I was hoping to finish by the weekend but I am teaching a 2-day fitting workshop Saturday and Sunday and might be too tired to do anything more until Monday.

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Faux Mink Jacket – Part II

I finished cutting my jacket out last night and now I’m kind of stuck on the the collar. The pattern has you cut the collar with the nap going out towards the shoulder. The more I looked at it, the more it looked like it was going to fly away! Upon examining the mink collar on my Persian lamb jacket, I noticed that it was seamed at the center back with the nap going forward. So, I cut a new collar tonight (this is why I always buy extra fabric!) and I think I like it better but, darnit, I’m not sure.

I’m going to set the collar aside for now and work on sewing in my interfacing and stay tape. That should keep me busy for tonight while I mull things over. I suppose my other option would be to recut the collar on the bias!

Original collar:

originalcollar

New collar:

newcollar

Bias collar:

biascollar

Feel free to offer opinions!

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Faux Mink Jacket – Part I

My Tissavel faux-mink arrived from EOS today and, after a couple of pattern modifications, I’ll be ready to cut into it. I tried to photograph the fur but my pictures suck since my granddog ate my good camera. Hopefully, it’ll photograph better on the mannequin than it does laying flat on my cutting table.

I wore my faux fur vest to the movies on Saturday night and decided that I’d like the collar to be a little more exuberant. I lowered the neckline by 2″ in the front and added the necessary amount of length to the collar (which, oddly enough, was also 2″). Here is the paper pattern pinned together onto Ethel, I’m pleased. The red lines are the original cutting lines and the black ones reflect the modification.

collar1

collar2

I would really like to add some vertical pockets to this jacket so I’m working out how to do that without adding a seam. I guess I could use matching Ultrasuede and make welt pockets. I picked up a vintage Persian lamb jacket at a thrift store on Saturday and it has interesting pockets bound in petersham.

pockets

Even though I prefer faux fur I had to rescue these poor little lambs! I originally bought it so that I could recycle the fur but it actually fits me nicely and looks really cute on so I may make a new faux-fur collar for it, something a little more edgy. I don’t think I’m quite old enough to wear Persian lamb with a mink collar, maybe in 30 years!

persianlamb

The first thing I did was rip out the lining, padding and shoulder pads. It is amazing how most of the musty odor is in the fabric components! I put them into ZipLoc bags so that I could refer to them later when I’m relining the jacket. Check out the manufacture date on this piece, it’s in wonderful condition for it’s age. The skins are very soft and supple and there is only one small tear which will be very easy to repair.

datelabel

The monogram in this jacket was exceptionally pretty. I may copy it!

monogram

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Fur Collar & Cuffs

I am so glad I went with this fur instead of the longer-haired one because I think it looks so much better with the denim. The collar went together very quickly and easily. I once again used the black stretch satin lining from Gorgeous Fabrics. What a pleasure it is to sew!

jacketfront

Instead of using buttons and loops to attach the collar, I attached it with small snaps (seven in total).

snaps

After losing one of the jacket’s original buttons last year, I replaced them with these Paco Despacio sterling and lapis buttons from my stash. I think they still work so I’m going to leave them.

collarcloseup

You can see how the diagonal patches at the collar point hide the original collar very nicely.

diagonalpatch

The cuffs are just straight strips of fur faced with the same lining fabric. I couldn’t use snaps here (they would show if I wanted to wear the jacket plain) so I used large diagonal basting stitches instead. The stitches are hidden inside the turned back cuffs. Notice that I made the cuffs a little wider than the jacket’s cuffs. Fur cuffs should not be wimpy. :-)

cuffs

I’m sorry to say this might be my only sewing this week. Last weekend we demo’d Bryan’s guest bath and I promised him I’d lay the floor tile this weekend. I hate weekends without sewing!

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We have a winner – I think…

I recut the collar out of a different fur today. This fur is much shorter and smoother than the other, kind of a pelted sheared beaver. I think this works much better with the jacket as it won’t be so overwhelming once I add the cuffs. What do you think?

furcollar

Don’t ask me how I managed (despite careful marking) to screw up the alignment of the pelt lines but I did. Luckily, I have enough to recut.

collardetail

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A little sewing, a little DIY

I had some large scraps of fur left from my recent vest project so I thought it would be fun to make a removable collar and cuffs for one of my RTW jean jackets.

I started by pinning the collar to a cardboard cutting mat and tracing all around.

trace1

I used my needlepoint tracing wheel to mark the collar seam. Do not use this tool on delicate fabrics!

trace2

Next, I trued the edges and added 1/8″ ease all around (including the neckline seam which isn’t shown in this pic).

pattern1

Then I pinned the paper pattern onto the collar to check the fit. The front of the collar fit fine with enough extra ease to accomodate the bulk of the fur.

fit1

I needed more length for the fall of the collar all across the back as you can see here.

fit2

I then redrew my pattern, adding 1/4″ seam allowances all around. I drafted a diagonal patch to be sewn across the corners of the collar to conceal the original collar. Okay, I had to laugh here at the word “colla” – sometimes my brain gets ahead of my pen and my writing trails off into nothingness. I often stare at it later wondering what it was I meant to say.

pattern3

Here’s the patch piece opened up as it will be cut out of the lining fabric.

pattern2

Once I had the fur cut out I tested it on the jacket and decided I didn’t like this particular fur on this jacket so I’m going to cut another one out of a shorter-haired fur from my stash. Stay tuned!

collar

I’m also keeping busy trying to get little things done around the house. I finally put the umpteen boxes of Christmas decorations up in the attic a few days ago, what a chore. Today, I put small marble shelves up in my bathroom to give me a little extra storage. The brackets came from Lowe’s and were originally gold so I spray painted them with Valspar’s Churchill Hotel Vanilla to match the walls. The “shelves” are actually pieces of Travertine leftover from my bathroom remodel. I used the width (18″) and cut them 8″ deep with my wet saw. They are attached to the brackets with dabs of silicone. Easy-peasy!

shelves

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D-Ring Belt – A Quick Project

This is my favorite casual belt. It’s a humble little cotton webbing belt which originally belonged to my son.

khakibelt

It works well with a very casual jeans outfit (or even shorts) and fits perfectly around my hips as shown here on my recent trip to the Citrus Bowl (I’m 2nd from right) – ordinarily I don’t have the end flapping around like that, I swear!

Recently, the belt disappeared for a few days so I started looking around for d-rings in order to make a replacement. Have you seen the Dritz d-rings? Ugh, they are so wimpy! Luckily, I found these beefy boys in Lora Lee’s Etsy shop and they are perfect!

drings

I didn’t have any 2″ webbing in my stash to use as a base but then I found IT: some seatbelting swiped from my friend’s shop last year (do you see a pattern of kleptomania here?). I had this pretty ribbon in my stash (from Cynthia’s Fine Fabrics) and fused it to the seat belting with Heat ‘n’ Bond. Fusing – or gluing – is really necessary because otherwise the ribbon is going to scoot along the slippery seat belting as you stitch.

I continued the ribbon around to the back for about 12″ since that side will show while the belt is being worn. Be sure you heat-seal both cut ends of the webbing/belting (I used a lighter that I keep in my sewing room for this purpose) before attaching the ribbon.

wrappedend

Then it was just a matter of edgestitching all around,

sewing1

and attaching the d-rings. I sewed this on my walking-foot machine with a size 20 needle and #69 bonded nylon thread (not a necessity, I was just too lazy to change it). I don’t think this would be a problem to sew on a regular machine with a large needle and standard thread.
sewing2

I’m really happy with the way this turned out and can’t wait to make a few more. I’m always looking for an excuse to shop for ribbons and trims!

finishedbelt

Seatbelt belts – they could catch on!

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Faux Fur Vest – Final

I finished putting the lining in this morning so I’ll hopefully be able to give it a test drive before the weather warms up again. I’ll let you in on a little secret: I hate working with lining fabrics, blech. But I can’t say enough good things about the coat lining I used here. It’s stretch coat lining in black from Georgeous Fabrics and was an absolute joy to work with. I really didn’t want to cut into it because I bought just enough for a short coat but I couldn’t resist so I guess I’ll be ordering some more to have on hand.

collardetail

Peter had asked if the fur was messy to work with. Well, yes and no. Since I traced my pattern onto the knit backing and cut through the backing only there wasn’t much mess during cutting and sewing, just a few stray hairs. But, since this fur is pretty long, I needed to trim the excess pile out in some areas. I did trim over a wastebasket but some of the mess did get on the floor and my pressing surface, nothing major.

I really had a lot of fun working with fur and I’m happy with the way the vest turned out. But, I can tell you that I would never buy a fluffy, long-haired fur again because, frankly, it’s fattening! But, I enjoyed the process so much that I’m going to keep the pattern out and look for a nice short-haired fur for a jacket. In a short-haired fur, this pattern would go together start to finish in a matter of hours. I bought this particular fur at Fabric Depot in Portland about 15 years ago. It’s very silky-soft, I used the bulk of it to make a faux-fur throw for my in-laws a few years ago.

vest

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Faux Fur Vest – Part I

Between Summerset’s adorable, casual faux fur jacket, Tany’s high-fashion jacket with removable collar and the fur vests I’ve been seeing so much of lately I’ve been having some serious faux fur envy! Alas, there isn’t anyplace locally for me to buy really nice faux fur so I had filed that idea away for later. But, last night I was cleaning my sewing room and found a large remnant of pelted faux mink that was taking up quite a bit of space and I thought, why not make a faux fur vest?

I happened to have the same pattern that Summerset used (Burda World of Fashion 12/2007 #122) and I liked the fact that it had darts so I figured I could just omit the sleeves and line the armscye to the edge. I traced off a size 36 and made a 3/4″ FBA and my usual forward-shoulder and swayback alterations. The shoulders on a 36 are usually too wide for me but on a vest that’s actually a good thing so I didn’t narrow them.

pattern

So far, I have sewn the shoulder seams and attached the collar. I cut the fronts so that the facing fold line was on a peltline, figuring it would give me a cleaner edge (which it does). If I wear this closed, the CFs will not match. But, I figured that I would never wear this closed anyway so I’d rather have a full peltline at each edge. I have never sewn with faux (or real) fur before so I’m just assuming that the CF would normally be on a peltline – am I right?

vest

I didn’t have enough fabric for the collar so I cut the undercollar from black Ultrasuede. I had dark brown in my stash as well but the black looked much better (the flash makes the fur look lighter than it is IRL). You can faintly see the casing line for the drawstring along the top edge.

undercollar

I am not planning on putting in the pockets as per the pattern. I had thought about adding in-seam pockets but I doubt I’d ever use them. If it’s cold enough for me to need to use them I wouldn’t be wearing a vest, right?

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