The Origin StoryI would love to say that this coat was meant to be, but in reality, I forced it into existence. I've been in search of the perfect faux leopard print coat for quite a while, scouring both ready to wear and fabrics, but I couldn't find something that was just right in terms of style, fit, and price. It wasn't something I was willing to really invest in due to the low amount of wear it would actually get in Southern California.
I found this fabric as a remnant at Joann's for a lovely price and the perfect style of leopard print, but there was less then half a yard available. I scoured the store for any other pieces, but couldn't find any, and none of the other options appealed to me as much as this one. I love the traditional colors and that the print was more subtle with the longer pile. I decided to take a chance and make it work, whether it wanted to or not.
I chose the pattern based on the fabric requirement listed. This Simplicity pattern (8741, view C) had the smallest fabric requirement I could find for a faux fur coat. I went to cut out the fabric, and after laying it out and trying to Tetris the pieces together, I realized there was no way it would work as is.
Working with Faux Fur
Faux Fur Fun Fact #1: Fitting pattern pieces is a lot harder when you have the nap (direction of the fur) to worry about.I got to work hacking up the pattern until it mostly fit. I ended up narrowing all the pieces: front and back by 1", Sleeve by 3 inches at the wrist and eased to full size at the armhole, collar by 1 inch. I started with the lining to check on the fit without messing up my fur. Seam ripping fur looks like a nightmare. Luckily I haven't had to attempt it yet.
Cutting out the fur was a lot easier then expected, after finding some tips on Instagram. PrettyGirlsSew was having a sew along for a different faux fur pattern, so I stalked the comments of their posts for tips.
Faux Fur Fun Fact #2: Tracing your pattern pieces on the back of the fabric and cutting a single layer at a time is less messy and more accurate.
Faux Fur Fun Fact #3: Using small snips and sliding the blade in between the fur makes it a little less messy and allows for more even fur around the edges.When I finished the lining, I found that the wrist was just a little bit too small and I could barely get my hand through. I had already cut out my fur pieces, but fortunately, I was able to find some small triangles of scrap fur that I was able to insert at the wrist to add an extra 2 inches to the wrist.
Faux Fur Fun Fact #4: A long pile (fur length) will completely hide your seems, especially if you take the time to comb out the ends caught in the seam.After inserting the triangles along the underarm seam in both the lining and fur, you can't tell from the outside that there was any adjustment made (of course you can see the seam lines in the lining, but it's highly unlikely that I will rolling up the sleeves), and the fit is much better.
After every furry seam, I turned the pieces right side out and used an embroidery needle (you can use any thin rod like thingy you have around), to pull out the fur that was on the outside but had been caught in the seam. This makes it more fluffy and completely hides the seam. I also did this on the seam allowance, and this gets rid of any small fur ends sticking out and making the fur look uneven around the seam. Then when I was satisfied, I trimmed the fur on the seam allowance to make it less bulky.