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…

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


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


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


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.
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!
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?)
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…
The collar is one flat piece — perfect for earmuffs, shoe poms and baby hat poms!
And there it is. Stripped of the extras and laying flat, ready for me to cut the pillow pieces.
These clean, shiny beautiful fur pieces are ready to be made into 12″ x 18″ bolster throw pillows.
The same goes for these beaver pieces I cut from the beaver coat earlier.
The coat linings are headed for the washer and dryer then to be transformed into the pillow linings.
…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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