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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They didn’t want fast, they wanted forever

Liona has finally met the man of her dreams. They had to fill out all those questions, but it was worth it. Lance and Liona had their first date today. They didn’t do much; just kinda sat there and hugged. That’s not a bad date.

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Seriously though, I just finished Lance this morning. He is so cute and he looks so worried!

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He is the second and last bear that I was able to make from this vintage fur coat.

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Brass toes make them more original, distinctive, and collectible

From the time I started making teddy bears, I have often heard, “Oh..collectible teddy bears — like Steiff bears?”

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This is a Steiff Teddy Bear!

I had never heard of them and had never actually googled them until today! So cute, and such an inspiring and interesting company history!

I had been told that each Steiff bear is branded with a metal logoed button on their ear, and that I should do the same on my bears. This was interesting to me, but I felt that a button on my bears’ ears would distract from the beauty of their faces. and besides, that had apparently already been done..

I decided that I would take advantage of the shape of the leather toes I make for each bear. I contacted Accessoires Magiques, a small casting company located in Montreal, specializing in the custom creation of metal tags.

grill3grill2I worked with Pat to design this antique brushed brass oval toe that I could sew onto the bears’ paws. Pat went above and beyond to customize them for me, even creating a slight bend in them to fit the curvature of the paw. I love them! From now on, all my bears will have one of these brass elle tags on the middle toe of their left foot 🙂

 

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Chillins like villains. Willa and Hettie are available here — and they are 15% off, until June 12, using Coupon Code SHARETHELOVE at checkout.

Sometimes it’s hard to recycle

I loved this jacket!

Until recently, I had a category in my shop to sell vintage fur coats that I picked here and there. Occasionally, I would find one that was just too perfect and cute to cut up and recycle into a bear, a pillow cover, pom poms, or earmuffs, so I would put it up for sale, as is. I’ve abandoned that category for the time being, because as beautiful as these coats are, I just can’t resist transforming them into those equally beautiful products.

5This platinum beige mink fur jacket was one of those perfect ones. At one time, I’m guessing it was a classic mink fur design, but somewhere along the way, it had been re-styled into this short mink. It had sweater sleeves that were removable by zippers — to make it into a vest, if desired. Seriously perfect. I had it up for sale for more than a year, but no one bought it.

Yesterday, I took it all apart and today, it’s no longer a jacket.

Interestingly, when I open these coats up, sometimes there are notes inside, hand-written on the pelts. The furriers will write their names, and sometimes — and I love this — they’ll write the date.

Whether it’s the date of the original design or whether it’s the date of the re-style, “11-1-77” was when this jacket was worked on. I find this so interesting. So long ago!

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IMG_9534At any rate, it will live on for many many years to come and be cherished by a couple of lucky people: I was able to fit my pattern to make two bears, exactly. There’s not much left ! I will be making some pom pom earrings with this and maybe some shoe poms.

The first bear is finished and her name is Liona. She’s pretty perfect and cute too!

You can see more details about Liona here.

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Sometimes it is hard to recycle a beautiful jacket, but bringing something like Liona to life and making someone really happy, makes it easy.

Stay tuned for the second platinum beige bear to come ❤