Tips for using faux fur for softie making

I’m still feeling super-excited about participating in Sew a Softie Month, and if you haven’t entered our giveaway yet, you still have a little time left to do so …. just CLICK HERE to visit the blog post and just leave a comment to enter.  Meanwhile, I thought I’d share a few tips on successfully using faux fur fabric for softie making.  I don’t often use fur fabric as I personally like using felt most of the time – though after rummaging around in the Bustle & Sew archives I did discover quite a few furry softies……

If using a printed fur, like the zebra above, do be sure that the scale of the print is right for the size of your softie.  And be extra careful when you’re positioning your pieces – you may need to purchase extra fabric to ensure the prints line up correctly, again when I was cutting the zebra pieces I took particular care to make sure the stripes matched on the top of the head.

When you’re cutting out your pieces, do try not to cut too much of the fur pile, especially if it’s quite long.  It can be easier to use a craft knife or rotary cutter as you’re less likely to accidentally snip strands of fur away.

Fur fabrics can be sewn either by hand or by machine and I do think that for the neatest, most invisible seams and nicest finish it’s probably best to stitch by hand although that’s not to say you can’t achieve good results by machine.  Whatever method you’re using be sure that your stitches are small – even though the fabric is quite thick. If your stitches are too large, then your seams will be a lot weaker and you may even discover gaps once you’ve stuffed your softie. When hand stitching back stitch is probably the best stitch to use when you’re sewing together any two fabrics with a pile, such as faux fur.

If your faux fur has a curly or a very long pile then it’s a good idea to trim away some of the pile along the ¼” seam allowance to get a closer fitting seam with a neater finish. And of course it goes without saying that you should always take notice of pattern markings indicating the direction of the pile when you’re cutting out your pieces, or your softie might end up looking very odd indeed!

Pin or tack your seams together before stitching, and push the pile down between the two pieces of fabric while doing so. This will help to disguise the seams on the right side and give thickness to the pile around the edges of ears and other similar parts of your softie. If you do catch any pile into your stitching when you’re sewing the seams, the this can be lifted from the seam with the blunt end of a needle.

You should insert any pins at right angles to the seam and not along it to avoid stretching and slippage. You can also machine stitch over pins placed at right angles to the line of stitching though, as fur fabrics can be slippery to handle you may wish to baste before machining seams. I usually find pinning is perfectly adequate when I’m hand stitching though, especially as I tend to tweak my pieces as I go along!

I haven’t used any fur fabrics in the August edition of the Bustle & Sew Magazine though.  I have found over the years that my material choices are very heavily influenced by the changing seasons around me – and it’s been far too hot for fur these past few weeks.  I’ve been editing and uploading project images today, and was amused to discover just how closely the colours I’ve been using this month mirror those of the flowers currently blooming in my garden …..

This selection includes my trio of Cactus Cushions, a pair of embroidered bowl covers – perfect for keeping flies at bay when eating outside – or a pretty addition if you’re contributing a dish to a supper or other event.  Then in the bottom left corner is the applique lampshade I finished earlier today, featuring some tropical birds and foliage.  This was huge fun to create and easy to assemble using a lampshade kit.  And as you can see, all the colours mirror the flowers I picked from my garden earlier this week, though it really wasn’t a conscious decision!

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4 Comments

Diana Edmondson-Jones

Hi Helen,

Thanks for the most useful advice when using faux fur and I have to say that I love your tropical lampshades – they look a lot of fun to make.
I hope Ben and Miss. Daisy are coping with the hot days we’ve been having – Inky and Echo spend all day lying on the cool tiles on the kitchen floor. Even our pet sheep want to come into the house as they know it’s more pleasant for them there – as you may imagine they have sneaked in from time to time! Great fun!

Love to you and Ben and Miss. Daisy,
Diana. xx

Reply

Thanks Diana, so pleased you like it. I think the trickiest part was assembling the shade itself – it comes as a kit and you have to roll two metal hoops with double sided sticky tape on the edges onto your fabric panel. Well, my sticky tape wanted to stick to everything EXCEPT the fabric of course! But never mind, I got there in the end! Yes, it has been so very hot, my two love the cool tiles too, and I’ve had their tummies and general underneath areas trimmed very short to help. I love the thought of pet sheep sneaking in haha!! Love to you all and the Newfies send tail wags to Inky and Echo too xxx

Reply

Hi, can you tell me if there’s a pattern for the brown curly dog? Thanks!

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