Friday, January 9, 2009

Faux Fur Vest

DH took this picture of the vest. Clearly he was going for the big landscape, not a closeup of the vest as instructed. Gotta love him! Any who, it's done and I am glad to put this one to bed. I am someone who loves the precision of tailoring and heirloom sewing. This was down and dirty sewing. I am not a fur expert. This was only the second thing I have made in faux fur, having avoided that type of Halloween costume back in the day. That being said, I certainly learned a few things:

  • If you are sewing faux fur with a knit backing tape EVERY seam as soon as the piece as cut. Do this on the knit side with either fell stitching on each side of the twill tape or the stitch that makes the x's. I can never remember what it is called, catch stitch? It's the one for hems. Measure the seam line on the pattern piece and cut your twill tape to that measurement. I mean it. Tape every seam or this will be so stretched by the time you sew it you won't believe it. I have seen some FFs (faux furs) that have sort of stiff nasty backings. Those are the cheapos. From what I have seen the nicer FFs have a knit base.
  • Ok, so you have now taped every seam on the back. Get the scissors out and start shaving the seam allowances back. On my vertical seams I cut back the seam allowance to 1/8th inch and did a zigzag stitch. Those seams were shaved back 1/8th inch before stitching. So, cut to 1/8th, shaved back 1/8th, and then stitch in a 1/8 ZZ SA. ( From Claire Schaeffer) On my horizontal and curved seams as in hem, neckline, armholes, the fur was shaved back 5/8ths and stitched conventionally and graded back as appropriate. This was because of the lining attachment.
    I tried all sorts of ways to do this, DH's electric razor, his electric mustache razor, and even hair clippors. Nothing worked better than plain old scissors held at a slant and nipping away. This is very tedious and takes a LLLLLOOOONG time.
  • While you sew, wear a mask and an old long sleeve shirt. Otherwise you will be spitting and breathing fur and will be covered with the fuzz all over. When done, walk outside and shake your shirt out. Ideally sewing fur should happen in the summer when you can do the work outside and eliminate a lot of problems, but it doesn't take much to see why that doesn't happen. The mask is critical if you have asthma like me. Keep your puffer handy too, if you use one.
  • Sew with the vacuum cleaner right next to you. You will be sucking up mounds of fur with every seam you shave. I found I could only work on this an hour or so a day. Again, not my type of sewing.
  • And when you are all done, reward yourself with the type of sewing you really like to do, whatever that is. You have earned it.
The lining is one of those poly brocades from Joanns. They actually feel rather luxe because of the weight but are a pisser to sew as well. I taped my shoulder and armhole seams on the lining as well. I added a pleat to the center back.

The placket was the most enjoyable part of this project. No fur! It got me back to some accuracy. I used a tooled faux leather. It is interfaced with Formflex. Rather than stitch and turn the leather, I cut four EXACT strips with the rotary cutter. I then sewed one strip to the lining and the other to the fur using topstitching thread and a 14 HS needle. The strip was layed on the fabrics and topstitched on, not seamed. My sequence for sewing this was rather whacked out as it was too bulky for the traditional vest turning tricks. I sewed the lining to the shell at the neckline and hem only. The vest was turned and the strips matched up. I used Wonder Tape to secure them together evenly with no edges peeking out. I then proceeded to top stitch again. Because of the exact same size of the strips, they matched perfectly and I was able to go over the original topstitching in the same holes and it looked great back and front. I was please with how this came out.

The snaps were installed next with one of those little jiggies. I stained the snaps so they would have a little richer color and that turned out ok too.

I now have a neat little vest to tool around our Adirondacks up here and I think I will get a lot of use out of it. With the proper turtleneck and long sleeve undies I think I will be quite warm. It was 12º when DH took the pic and I was definitely comfortable.

Now I can at least say I have this under my sewing belt. I won't be sewing any more fur soon except for maybe a hat in the summertime. Back to other more pleasurable experiences.......Bunny

9 comments:

  1. Your vest is stunning. The snaps are excellent attention to detail and make the vest very rich. Lovely!

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  2. I love this. The fur and snaps make a great combination.

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  3. WOW that it is beautiful. And the landscape is pretty too against the fur. Reminds me of Dr. Zhivago.

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  4. Thanks all. At 17º below this morning, I feel like I am in Zhivago's world.

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  5. This is stunning and worth all the agita, Bunny, but I think as long as I can find retail faux fur garments reasonably priced I'll save myself the hassle. I doubt I have as much patience as you do.

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  6. Believe me, I wanted to walk a way a few times but felt too vested in the project to do that. I'm not a good wadder maker. I try to make things worth my effort.

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  7. Despite now knowing how a cat feels when it has a hairball, you've survived and come out with a very beautiful and elegant vest! The leather trim is just the right thing for this fur, nice choice of details.

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  8. It sure has turned out really nice. The leather and snaps look great with the fur. Lovely landscape too!

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  9. The outcome is terrific and is worth every effort! Well done!

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