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Sewing real fur

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Initial post: Aug 15, 2008 4:24:42 AM PDT
Jeepgal says:
Does anyone know of a good book/class/instruction on how to sew fur? I have inherited many fur coats and would like to make them into more useful items, ie teddy bears, bags etc. Thanks!

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 31, 2008 12:09:28 PM PDT
frumwannabe says:
"The Vogue Sewing Book" 1970 edition, has a page or so on sewing with fur. It may be in your public library. I made a jacket using their directions. Fake fur instructions will also work. Cut the backing only (turn the pelt over and cut from the skin side). A razor blade can be used (be careful) or just slide the blade of the scissor between the hairs. Baste narrow twill tape to each seam (sewing only through the skin and tape; do by hand). Join pelts by zigzag stich on machine or overcast by hand. Use a strong thread like button thread. There is almost no seam allowance; the seams lie almost flat. Hold the skins together so the fur is not included in the seam. You will learn a lot when you take your old furs apart. Fur is directional and is ususally oriented with the pile running down. Have fun with remodeling your old furs.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 31, 2008 6:05:11 PM PDT
Jeepgal says:
Thanks so much for your reply! I guess I will learn alot thru trial and error! It seems to be an area that there is not alot of info on, I guess the furriers keep the secrets of their art to themelves :)

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 2, 2008 7:26:16 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 26, 2008 6:27:03 PM PDT
I have a small business making real fur hats and bags all sewn by hand. I use artificial sinew, which is very strong and a glovers needle, which is chisel shaped to pierce leather. I sew from the inside. Align the seams first. I use a locking stich so nothing can be undone with hard use. I really have no patterns, just a pumpkin or my kids heads as models. It depends on what you are making. Leather and fur tend to be thick and heavy and I find regular needles and thread don't hold up. The first thing you should do is think and think some more. There is an old woodworkers axiom... measure twice, cut once. It applies to almost everything. Fur sewing machines are expensive and need training to use. They sew sideways. Think of what you need to accomplish, make sure the fur is the correct type and the fur is going in the correct direction. To talk to some great folks who can help and supply you with first rate pelts see
They sell wholesale to the public and love to give advise. You can contact me at if you need more info. Have fun! Bill S.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 11, 2008 3:01:17 PM PDT
What type of machine do you use to sew the fur? I have just "killed" my old Kenmore and would like to replace it but would like something that will sew real fur. Koba

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 11, 2008 5:25:52 PM PDT
Jeepgal says:
I have not sewn fur on a machine yet. I have a standard Singer machine and would invest in a heavy-duty type but so far have been advised to sew by hand. I am very new to this :)

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 24, 2008 5:33:47 AM PDT
Ameena's mom says:
I have an old Singer 15-91 that I have sewn leather and fur on. My machine is from 1932 and I have had no problem with it from sewing fur or leather even belts. Modern machines especially computerised or electronic should not be used to sew fur or leather as it will put things out of alignment. I use a straight stitch machine. I don't find overcasting the seam to be totally necessary either, but I do use a bias binding on the seams if I am not lining or is I am looking for a different edge finish.


In reply to an earlier post on Nov 12, 2008 11:07:58 AM PST
L. Carman says:
use a leather needle if you do use your m/c to sew. And replace that needle often!

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 5, 2008 9:33:48 AM PST
Nancy Beck says:
Donna Salyers had a number of books about twenty years ago on sewing with fake fur. She explained homegrown methods of sewing with fur, adaptable perhaps to your needs. Her books are out of print, check the library. There is a slender booklet of hers listed today on Amazon for over $200... I don't recommend that! Google around; you'll find something.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 8, 2008 12:35:20 PM PST
Yeah, but she has a whole bunch of info on her store site about it. I use my standard Janome machine to sew long-pile fake fur, and haven't had any problems yet. Just make sure you push the fur pile out of the way before stitching. Otherwise the fur strands get caught in the stitching and it looks bad.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 2, 2009 2:46:03 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 2, 2009 2:49:52 AM PST
Anything you can find from Donna Salyers would be a life-saver. I had the opportunity to attend some of her classes years ago. Suggestion for heavy furs, shave the leather close to the pelt base from cut edge approx. 1/4" in and pick up the shavings with tape. Stick 1/2" double sided tape on the shaved seam and lap the other piece over butting the shaved edge against the "furred" piece. Either stitch by hand using a leather needle and quilting thread or "sinew" thread or use a heavy duty sewing machine with leather needle, heavy duty upholstery thread or quilting thread and a longer stitch length. If hand sewing, wax the thread so it pulls through easier. Remove the tape when finished and brush the fur so it appears seamless. Fur is a one way fabric fur brushed down toward the floor.

Posted on Jul 2, 2009 6:47:36 AM PDT
Jeepgal says:
Thank you all for your great responses, I am trying them all out :)
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Discussion in:  Sewing forum
Participants:  9
Total posts:  12
Initial post:  Aug 15, 2008
Latest post:  Jul 2, 2009

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