If you had asked me a week ago what I was going to be sewing for Christmas, I would have told you "the same thing that I sewed last year" (which was nothing, in case you're wondering). You see, I generally don't like sewing under deadlines and I couldn't think of a fantastic project to make for that special someone. All that changed, though, when I dragged my little sister into a fabric store last weekend and she became obsessed with a giant role of faux fur and the idea of a large pillow cover made out of that fabric.
Given that my sister is ridiculously hard to shop for (especially since she's heading back to Pakistan soon...and is then moving again in another month or so) I couldn't say no to a present that I knew that she would actually use and love. So I pried the role of ridiculously soft faux fur out of her hand (and again out of O's hands when she discovered it in the living room) and whipped up a 20 x 20 pillow case with an envelope closure on the back. I also used the leftover fabric to sew a little pillow for O (and I have to say that this pillow was an absolute hit on Christmas morning. Who knew that a tiny pillow made out of scrap fabric would be one of her favorite presents?)
I know that Rae posted some very helpful tips on sewing with faux fur recently, but I have a couple of my own to add.
- Faux fur generally "grows" in one direction. It's helpful to indicate this direction on your fabric so that you can make sure that your pieces are laid out in the right direction. I did this by drawing an arrow on the back of the fabric in the direction of the nap.
- Once you trace the pattern piece on the back of the faux fur (and this is a must - don't even try to pin it on the fabric and cut around it), cut the pattern out with a single edge razor blade, cutting only through the knit backing of the faux fur rather than through the actual fur itself. This will prevent you from having fur fuzzies flying all over your sewing room and it'll keep that nice, luscious fur intact.
- When you're putting your pieces together, push all the fur (or as much as you can) so that it's on the right side of your fabric rather than sticking in the seams. Here's a hint - it's much easier to do this if you hand baste your pieces together before you sew them on the machine.
- When it's time to sew your seams together with the machine, use a longer stitch than usual (I think that I used around a 3 mm). This will allow you to pull any fur through to the right side that gets stuck in the seam when you're sewing (I did this with a chop stick that I happened to have laying around).
- And if you happen to have trouble (like I did) with your machine trying to eat some of the long fur pieces, try sewing the pieces together with a piece of tissue paper between your machine and the fabric. This will hopefully prevent the fur from getting sucked into the machine and it can easily be ripped off after the pieces are sewn together.
- And like Rae already mentioned, remember that a walking foot is your best friend when sewing with faux fur.
And in an attempt to "go big or go home", I actually whipped up one more item for my sister (in fact, I cut it out and sewed it up on Christmas Eve, finishing it just before we were due to head out to a family event. Talk about cutting it close!)...another Renfrew Top! After giving her the first one, I wasn't convinced that she particularly liked the shirt, but it turns out that it was just the color that was bothersome to her (she's planning on taking it back to Pakistan and having it over-dyed there) but she actually really liked the shape of the garment itself and requested one in a more wearable color (What? Bright yellow isn't wearable?). Luckily we found some gorgeous dark gray bamboo and hemp fabric at the fabric store and I was able to make yet another Renfrew Top for her (Again, with the cowl neck and long sleeves. And yes, she apparently likes her sleeves that long.).
The only sad part of this story is that I thought that I bought enough of this fabric to make a shirt for myself as well, but I think I estimated wrong and I'm a little short on what I'll need. So much for my superior estimation skills.