Taking apart and prepping a vintage fur coat for the making of fur art

It takes me about an hour and a half to take apart a coat and get it ready to make something. I prepped two coats today. One is a medium brown beaver coat and the other is a geometrically-cut mahogany mink fur coat. I’ll be making two pillow covers from each. See some of my other recycled fur and faux fur pillows here. I’ll definitely be making a couple of teddy bears too.

There is sO much going on inside a fur coat, and I have to take my time and a lot of care to not cut what I’m not supposed to cut! And since I don’t have a studio with a giant table, the floor it is. So..ow.

Scroll down to see the process…

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This is the mahogany mink. It’s a pretty big coat, so I will be able to make many things.
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Opening up the coat, you can see a silky brown lining — I’ll recycle this fabric to line the pillows.
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I start at the bottom hem and work my way up. 

 

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The lining is off and underneath is a layer of white batting,that is sewn into the pelt eeeverywhere. 

 

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I use an xacto knife. I used to have an antique brass furrier knife but I lost it (sorry Nick and Alex).

 

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The infrastructure inside a coat is meticulously crafted and detailed. For me, it all has to go. I always feel kind of bad undoing such hard work.
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This is what the pelt looks like inside. It’s all small pieces sewn together.  Things I make with these types of coats take much longer, because I have to examine EVERY single seam to make sure nothing is undone. It’s torturous, but worth it — these styles of fur make dreammmy things!
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Ha! My lucky day? This Canadian Looney slipped out of the pocket as I cut it off!  woohoo! (…are McDonald’s Summer Drink Days still on?)
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Closer inspections reveals that it is a 1988 Looney. That doesn’t date the coat at all, of course..but it probably means this baby is Canadian! Guess I’ll charge $1 less for this pillow…
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The collar is one flat piece — perfect for earmuffs, shoe poms and baby hat poms!
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And there it is. Stripped of the extras and laying flat, ready for me to cut the pillow pieces.
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These clean, shiny beautiful fur pieces are ready to be made into 12″ x 18″ bolster throw pillows.
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The same goes for these beaver pieces I cut from the beaver coat earlier.
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The coat linings are headed for the washer and dryer then to be transformed into the pillow linings.
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…Can’t stress THIS enough…haha!

 

Update: Mink Set completed 🙂 See my Etsy listing here.

 

Update: Beaver set completed 🙂 See my Etsy listing here.

 

 

 

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