20 December 2013

Free pattern! Make a (fake) Fur Collar

Surprise! A little gift for you to say thank you for reading and for helping to make this a wonderful year - a free pattern and instructions to make a (fake) Fur Collar.

This is a one-size detachable collar to add a touch of Winter glamour to your coats and cardis. It'd make a gorgeous last-minute Christmas gift too! It can be sewn either by hand or on a sewing machine. The pattern is available below for instant download and prints on two sheets of A4 or Letter size paper.

I made mine using a deliciously silky soft snow leopard print fake fur that I found in the remnant bin at Simply Fabrics in Brixton. You could also try Fabric Mart, Minerva Crafts and My Fabric Place.

You will need:
Fake fur for the collar - 30cm / 12" length x 40cm / 16" width
Satin or lining fabric for the under-collar - 30cm / 12" length x 40cm / 16" width
Matching thread
Hook and eye

Fabric scissors or craft knife and cutting mat
Sewing machine (optional)
Hand sewing needle
Printer and 2 sheets of A4 or Letter size paper
Paper scissors
Glue or tape

To prepare the pattern:

Download the pattern and open it on a PDF reader such as Adobe Reader (if you print the pattern directly from Google Drive, it may not print at full scale - not the end of the world but you may find the collar a little small). In the print settings, select “actual size” or “set scaling to 100%” or “turn off scaling” (depending on what options you're given) to print the pattern at full scale. When you've printed the pattern, measure the test square on the pattern to double check it's exactly 40mm.

Cut along one of the frame lines, glue or tape the two collar pieces together to create one piece, and cut it out. And it's ready to use!

How to make the collar:

1) Place the pattern on the wrong side (ie. back) of the fake fur fabric, checking that the pile of the fur is pointing towards the ends of the collar. Pin the pattern in place, draw around it with a pen or pencil, then cut it out this shape using fabric scissors or a craft knife. When cutting fur, use the tip of the scissors or knife to make shallow cuts – focus on cutting the backing and try to avoid trimming down the pile if you can. To avoid the pile getting caught in the sewing machine or creating excessive bulk under the seams, you can either carefully trim the outer edge of the pile (not the backing) or comb it towards the middle. By now you should have fluff everywhere!

2) Pin the pattern to the under-collar fabric and cut it out using fabric scissors (or a rotary cutter if you have one). Trim the under-collar down by 2mm all the way around the edges. Making the under-collar slightly smaller than the collar will entice the seam line to roll to the underside when stitched so it’s not visible when the collar is worn.

3) Place the under-collar on top of the collar so the right sides (outside of the fabric) are facing each other. Pin the raw edges together, smoothing the pile towards the collar as you pin. Leave an opening about 10cm / 4” in length at the centre of the inside edge – I like to mark each side of the opening with two pins to remind me to stop sewing here. It’ll probably look a little wibbly at this stage as the under-collar is pulling on the slightly larger collar fabric – rest assured it’ll be neater once it’s turned out.

4) Starting at one end of the opening, stitch the under-collar to the collar using a 15mm / 5/8” seam allowance, backtacking at either end and removing pins as you sew. If you’re sewing on a machine, Claire Shaeffer’s Fabric Sewing Guide recommends setting the stitch length to 2.5 – 3mm. This makes it easier to free any trapped fur from the line of stitching later. In any case it’s a good idea to test out the stitch length and tension on a scrap first. Take pauses as you sew to poke any stray pile towards the collar with a pin.

5) Trim the seam allowances down close to the seam line to reduce bulk when we turn the collar out. Don’t trim the seam allowances of the unstitched opening though.

6) Turn the collar right sides out by pulling the ends through the unstitched opening. Run your finger inside the collar along the seam line to neaten it. If any of the pile is trapped in the stitching line, you can pull it out using a comb or your fingers. Fold the seam allowances of the unstitched opening to the inside of the collar and pin. Slip stitch the opening by hand to close it.

7) Sew a hook and eye onto the inner corners of the collar by hand.

Et voilĂ ! A gorgeous fake fur collar!

You should now have fur fluff all over the place! Your table, floor, clothes, hair... When you’re cleaning up, give your machine a clean too so the fur doesn’t clog it up.

If you make a (fake) Fur Collar of your own, I'd love to see! Leave a link below to your picture on Pinterest / Instagram / Flickr / your blog and I'll share it on Pinterest. I may feature some of the projects in a future post, so if you leave a link below I'll take that as permission to share your image. Can't wait to see!

['Sleigh Ride' by The Ronettes]