Polar Bear

Three weeks it took to gather the courage to cut into the luxurious expanse of this polar-bear faux fur, one of the most expensive fabrics I’ve ever bought.   The fact that I’d never made a coat before added to the apprehension, but the instructions to this the Burda 9596 pattern were clear and soon as the first few seams of the bodice were stitched, I began to suspect I was onto a design of some style. 

I love the generosity of the  coat’s collar – so nice to nestle the cheek against – and how the skirt flares grandly from the fitted bodice.  The fabric isn’t too posh to wash in the machine and it’s certainly a super-warm coat so whilst both its owner and I like it very much, I have to confess that in the making of it I made two big mistakes  that render the execution of the project far more amateur than pro:

  • Firstly, I pressed the fur without testing.  Yes, what a brute…  It didn’t so much matter when pressing the seams open (I gave that up pretty quickly) as the fur just kind of shrivelled and hardened to a seal.  The greater damage was done when I tried applying fusible interfacing to the skirt openings.  Even hovering the iron gently over the wrong side of the fabric was enough to alter the sheen on the right side.  And these were the largest pieces of the pattern so there wasn’t enough fabric to cut out replacements. 

Luckily, some vigourous brushing with a pet brush re-fluffed things a little bit but to my knowing eye the coat just doesn’t look as perfect as it should.

  • The other mistake was to line the coat with the cheapest acetate.  A slightly more expensive satin would have been less likely to snaggle in the inevitable wear’n’tear.

Tips on sewing faux fur

  • Use a zig zag stitch and, on the right side, comb the fur out of the seams to restore the fluffiness in the joins.  I scratched away with the blunt end of a flat-headed pin but you could also use a wiry pet-hairbrush or poke in a chopstick.
  • For this kind of very plush fur, you might find that once the two pieces of fabric are flattened under the presser foot, the fluff pokes out from the edges of fabric and completely obscures the seam guidelines.  Two ways of getting round this are to ‘trim’  before stitching and you could also mark the seam lines first.

  • Oh, yeah, and have a lint roller…

By the way, the view is B with the added length of A.  I made the coat a size bigger (8) than I needed to because I was in a mummy mode and thinking of all the sweatshirts/jumpers that the coat would have to accomodate, which it does.  


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