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10 Tips for Sewing with Faux Fur

10 tips for sewing with faux fur

Sewing with faux fur is a great way to add a bit silliness or elegance (or maybe both!) to your projects. I adore a good novelty faux fur, and many of my favorite sewing projects over the years have used faux fur (my most recent favorite obviously being my Monster Hat & Mittens), but sewing with faux fur isn’t without some challenges. What follows is 10 tips I’ve learned for getting the best finished project while leaving behind the smallest mess.

Minimizing Fluff:

1. Cut only through the backing and NOT through all of the fur. You can do this by using your scissors carefully (I find making short snips helps). Some people like using a straight razor to cut the back. Don’t use a rotary cutter because you will have to put too much pressure to cut through the backing and you will likely cut through the fur as well. I’ve included a short video showing how I cut faux fur.

pull fur off of cut edge of faux fur

2. Immediately after cutting your pieces, tug on the cut edges of your pieces to pull the bits of fur fluff off that were released by cutting. You can also achieve the same effect by vacuuming the edges of your fur if you are careful not to suck the pieces into the vacuum.

put cut faux fur through dryer

3. Run your pieces through the dryer for 5-10 minutes right after cutting them. Use the NO heat setting since you don’t want to melt or damage your fur. It will help blow out some of the cut fluff and help keep it from shedding everywhere.

Accurate Cutting:

draw nap direction on back of faux fur

4. Draw the nap direction on the wrong side of your fabric using chalk or a marker (you won’t be able to see marker on the right side because of the fluff of the fur). This will help you make sure you’re not cutting pieces upside down!

draw pattern pieces on back of faux fur

5. Trace around pattern pieces on the wrong side of the fur and then cut them out instead of pinning because the pinning through a bulky fabric can distort the shape of the fabric and the pattern piece. You can use chalk or a marker (it doesn’t even need to be fabric safe although it should be waterproof, like a sharpie) because it won’t be visible on the right side because of the thickness of the fur.

Sewing:

cut faux fur out of seamline

6. Trim the fur out of your seam allowances before sewing. This is especially important when using fur with a heavy backing or a thick or long napped fur. With lightweight or short nap furs you can get away with sewing without trimming although you might still want to trim the fur out of the seam allowance after sewing the seam to reduce bulk.

catch stitch faux fur seam allowance

7. Never topstitch through faux fur. Instead, you can sew the seam allowance to the backing of the fur by hand from the wrong side. In the picture above I have used a catch-stitch to sew the seam allowance to the lining side to act as understitching. You can also sew the seam allowances open in the same manner.

hold nap away from seam sewing faux fur

8. Sew each seam with the nap of the fur pressed away from the seam. This gets more and more important the longer the nap of your fur as it will help to keep the fur out of the seam and thus minimize the amount of fur that needs to be picked out of the finished seam. In the photo above you can see that I brush the fur away from the seam as I pin (or clip) my way down the seam.

remove faux fur from seams with pick

9. Use a comb or awl or a pick to pull the faux fur out of the seam allowance after you have sewn the seam. From the right side of the fur, look for any fur that is making a loop because it has been sewn into the seam and gently pull it out. Depending on the fur and your personal preferences, you may find your fingers, a comb, or a small pointed object easiest. This will be harder the longer your fur nap is. Don’t worry if you break some fur while you pull it out.

wonderclips-on-faux-fur

10. Use clips instead of pins (I personally love Clover wonder clips. Pinning through bulky fabric can distort it. Clips have the added bonus of hold fur out of the seam better than pins.

Comments 7

  1. Thanks for your hints. They are explicit and yet brief enough. I’m making a faux cape with a collar and openings down the side fronts for hands.

    P.S. I’m only 85 years old and still trying new tricks.

    1. Post
      Author

      If I am using faux fur to trim the edge of a garment I will either line the trim with a lining fabric or use a second piece of faux fur (or the first piece folded in half if it is a straight edge) so that the inside of the trim is fur as well – this is particularly nice to do on something like the hood of a jacket where the inside of the hood shows off the fur as well.

  2. Hi I have made a cape with a faux fur trim( the fur is about 1″” long and very good quality) and I think it looks a bit puckered even tho I have clipped the seams. I also have been careful not to stretch the fur. Can u advise please, I was wondering if I need to cut the fur in the same circle shape as the cape ( rather than in strips).

    1. Post
      Author

      Without seeing pictures, I’m not totally sure what you mean by it looking puckered as lots of different things can cause puckering or distortion in a garment. You’re welcome to email me photos and perhaps I can be more help? Cutting the fur in the same circle as the cape certainly couldn’t hurt!

  3. Hi Erin, amazing tips, thanks! I have a faux fur that is faux leather backed. I am interested in making a reversible skirt; probably using a French seam. Other than trimming the fur out of as much of the seam allowances as possible, do you have any suggestions on how to remove bulk?

    1. Post
      Author

      Ooh, that sounds like interesting fabric. I’d suggest a flat-felled seam (or a faux flat-felled seam). Trimming the fur out of the seam allowance is definitely important too.

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