Pimp Life

I can’t say that a fur coat was ever on my sewing list. It all started when I ordered some samples from Croft Mill for myself, and just for the lolz the husband added on a sample of totally cray-cray long pile fur. Things very quickly got out of hand from that moment – When it arrived, he actually really loved it and then requested that I make him a fur coat from it, with Snoop Dogg/Huggy Bear as the inspiration. Basically what he wanted me to make for him was a pimp coat. Errrrrrm sure why not 🤷

To be fair, Snoop Dogg actually does have some awesome outfits going on in the remake of Starsky and Hutch. I mean – HOW awesome would it be if men dressed like this instead of wearing boring grey suits and stripy shirts to the office? 🙌🏻🙌🏻

Once we had the fabric for the pimp coat of his, the search for the pattern began. Turns out there aren’t many pimp coat sewing patterns – strange, no? 🤔🤣 I searched around my usual haunts – eBay and Etsy – and it seemed that it’s actually quite hard to find even “normal” fur coat sewing patterns. I saw a lot of coats-with-fur-collars, but no actual full-on furballs.  I stumbled across this Kwik Sew one on eBay and it was deemed acceptable by the husbeast, so I bought it and waited patiently for it to land on the doormat while wondering what I’d let myself in for.

It’s quite a simple pattern, construction-wise – but then it has to be because you’re working with fur. You ain’t sewing no fancy-pants darts or welt pockets into long pile fur, trust me. This was the reason that I was searching so hard for a fur-specific coat pattern, because most regular coat patterns would be too fussy to make with this muppet fur I’d bought.

Feeling like a proper grown-up, I did some research before I went steaming in to this coat as I knew that I’d have to approach pretty much every stage a bit differently, because, y’know, my fabric was like an inch thick and furrier than the dog. And that’s saying something, because our dog is a Floofmeister. (He’s also a fatty, but that’s another story). There was no pre-washing, for a start. I *think* the fabric is washable, but I wasn’t going to risk it turning in to a bird’s nest and have to spend time brushing it out. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

When it comes to cutting out pieces from fur, scissors (not your rotary cutter) are your friend here. What you’re aiming to do is just cut through the knitted backing of the fabric, NOT the pile. It’s easier to place the fur with the pile downwards (and the knitted backing facing up towards you) and keep your scissors as close to the top of the fabric as you can, using small snips of the scissors so that you don’t accidentally go lopping off a chunk of fur. After you have finished cutting, your cutting mat and the surrounding area WILL look like you’ve massacred a muppet family.

**Oh look! There’s our fluffy dog I was talking about.**

When I lined up the pieces of the coat to sew them together, I was careful to tuck the fur pile back away from the seam so that it didn’t all get caught up. for most seams I sewed them as normal on my machine and then ran them through the overlocker afterwards, trimming off as much of the seam allowance as I possibly could. You could alternatively sew the seam with a straight stitch and then manually trim the pile off the seam allowances with scissors, but this seemed like the method with most faff so naturally I went with the overlocker option. Running a double layer of faux fur through the overlocker is NOT an enjoyable experience, for neither me nor the overlocker, and THE FLUFF GETS EVERYWHERE. I REPEAT. THE FLUFF GETS EVERYWHERE.

From this… to this:

After you sew each seam, you then have to go along and unpick the pile out of it from the right side – I used my bamboo point turner for this. Long, but not *too* painful.

I was a bit unsure about whether to put the pockets in the coat or not, as I was worried that doubling up the fur layer on an already thick coat was going to make it look like a puffa jacket… and it did. Once the main body of the coat was put together, we had the first try-on and I could see that those pockets were a bit of a problem. The pocket bags didn’t stay in one place, and they bunched up and made weird little lumps at the sides like he’d been shoplifting oranges. I did consider taking the pockets out completely, but instead I first tried anchoring them down against the main body with little stitches to see if that would help (because I HATE unpicking). Thankfully it did… so no unpicking was needed! Huzzah!

**Yeah. Excuse all the dog hair that’s stuck to the back of the fabric. There came a point where I just didn’t care that everything was covered in both dog hair and fur shavings**

 

There was a lesson to be learned with this coat, and that lesson was DO NOT GET SLOPPY WITH YOUR MARKINGS WHEN YOU TRACE PATTERNS. With this wonderfully abnormal pattern, you use the same template for the sleeve and the lining but there’s a cutting line about an inch higher than the bottom of the sleeve, which you would *assume* is the lining cutting line. Because linings are always shorter than the sleeve outer, right? WRONG. And how did I find that out? The hard way, that’s how. I actually blame the husband for this one, because he was the one that traced the pieces and didn’t mark the higher cutting line as ‘fur’ not ‘lining’. (yep, I totally got him to trace the pattern pieces for his own coat. Fair trade, no? If I have to sew the coat the least he can do is trace the pieces 💁🏻).Not that I’m pointing the finger or anything, but yeah it’s totally his fault. I didn’t realise the error until it came to attaching the lining to the coat, when it became clear that the lining was *extremely* taut in the sleeve – so out came the pattern envelope, the massive sheets were opened up and the fatal error confirmed . Thankfully, the husbeast has got short arms so the sleeves kinda needed to be shortened anyway… so the cuffs were unpicked (the OVERLOCKED cuffs I’ll add, unpicking those was really enjoyable) and an inch lopped off the sleeve. Not only did this make the sleeves the right length but it also went some way to bridging the lining/cuff gap.

The only adjustment I made to this pattern was to take a fair chunk of width out of the sleeve – the sleeve template is pretty wide, and you’re to put in a pleat at the cuff. When I say the sleeves are ‘ pretty wide’. I mean they are insane-in-the-membrane wide and there’s not really any place for them now that we’re no longer in the 80’s. I slimmed it enough so that no pleat was needed.

The coat closes with an elastic loop and a vintage button from a massive tin I bought off ebay for a tenner. The pattern instructs to make ties and attach them into the side seams of the lining – which I thought sounded like a massive effort so I didn’t bother with them – but I shouldn’t have been lazy because actually, they would have allowed the underneath layer of the coat to sit right when the coat is closed. The weight of the front untethered means it just sort of hangs down at a bit of a weird angle… so yeah if you’re in the same sitch, don’t skip the ties.

I survived my first experience of sewing with fur… yes it was a bit intense, what with the fussy cutting methods, the fluff getting everywhere and not to mention the struggle of trying to wield a muppet through the overlocker, but it hasn’t totally put me off.  Even the fact that I was breathing in fluff for a fortnight afterwards hasn’t put me off. The best thing though is that the husbeast totally loves it, and that makes all the work 100% worth it. I’m happy that I’ve made something that makes him happy.

The coat has been an almighty success – I’ve lost count of the number of comments from strangers he’s got while wearing it. People have proclaimed their love for it by shouting across the street, and another lady came up to him at London Bridge station just because she had the overwhelming urge to touch it. These photos are once again from our Paris trip earlier in the year, but obvs it was me behind the camera this time instead of in front of it, which actually reminds me how much I enjoy photography. Which then also reminds me how bloody lazy I am because I bought the domain for a website months ago with the intention of using it to showcase all my best/favourite pictures, but of course I’ve done absolutely nothing to get it off the ground yet 🙄 Too many things, too little time ⏰

And finally, just for funzies, his response when I told him he looked like an 80’s version of a grizzly bear. 🐻 I love that after 13 years of marriage he still makes me laugh 🤣

Coming up next week on the Wanderstitch blog… a little looky at some of the vintage patterns I’ve bought myself recently 👁️👁️ Subscribe below to make sure you don’t miss out!  

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32 Comments

    • Sarah
      Author
      April 16, 2018 / 6:46 am

      Thank you Anna! 🙂 I’m so happy with how it turned out, and the husband is too 🙂

  1. Tachalili
    April 15, 2018 / 7:48 am

    The slaughter of the puppet family was totally worth it (can’t believe I’m writing this…)! He looks awesome with this coat! Makes me want to have one just like this 😉

    • Sarah
      Author
      April 16, 2018 / 6:47 am

      Haha! It’s an odd phrase, isn’t it 🙂 I’m thinking I might make one for myself for next winter… And I’ll cut the sleeve lining correctly next time!

  2. Helen
    April 15, 2018 / 7:53 am

    The jacket is amazing. Love the little hearts on the wrong side of the fabric too!

    • Sarah
      Author
      April 16, 2018 / 6:48 am

      Thanks Helen! Those little hearts are cute aren’t they 🙂

  3. April 15, 2018 / 8:04 am

    This is hysterical, laugh out loud! You are such a talented writer. And he looks fabulous. Not sure my asthma would survive all that fur though.

    • Sarah
      Author
      April 16, 2018 / 6:50 am

      Ahh, thank you! I never really thought of myself as a writer… before I started this blog the only things I wrote were answers to my accountancy exams 😀 I’m glad you enjoyed it! Between our two dogs, and cat, and this coat, the air in the house was a little furry :O

  4. Donna Bartlett
    April 15, 2018 / 8:07 am

    Love it! Can we some pics of the husbeasts hair?? X

    • Sarah
      Author
      April 16, 2018 / 6:53 am

      Ahh – absolutely! Now that we’re heading in to summer he won’t need to wear hats to keep his head warm so the hair will be out in all it’s glory! Watch this space 🙂 x

    • Sarah
      Author
      April 16, 2018 / 6:54 am

      Haha! The only thing missing from the photos is a cane. Believe me he wanted one!!

  5. April 15, 2018 / 9:00 am

    Coat envy, writer envy, life envy ❤️️❤️️❤️️

    • Sarah
      Author
      April 16, 2018 / 6:55 am

      Ahh thank you Kate! You’ve made my morning 🙂 🙂 🙂

  6. Mary Jane Koch
    April 15, 2018 / 9:07 am

    The coat is AWESOME….in the ‘80s when learning to sew with fake fur, we cut the back side with a one-edged razor blade….losing no pile…and picking fur out of seams with a straight pin…but our pile wasn’t as long

    • Sarah
      Author
      April 16, 2018 / 6:58 am

      Ahh, thank you! 🙂
      I think I would lose at least one finger if I cut fabric with a razor blade… I only just survive the rotary cutter as it is!! lol. I’m thinking maybe I should have eased myself in gently with a shorter pile before delving in to this monstrosity 😀

  7. April 15, 2018 / 9:43 am

    That coat is EVERYTHING!! He looks fantastic in it too… I love that people come to touch it, like the pimp messiah!
    I made a short-pile ‘fur’ jacket for MrA ages ago… (pre-blog & IG!) and I’m still coughing up furballs! 😱🤣
    Great blog post, and a GREAT coat! 👍👏👌

    • Sarah
      Author
      April 16, 2018 / 7:01 am

      Ahh thank you!! 🙂 I’m really pleased with how it turned out, and the husband really loves it. I feel a bit more prepared now for the next adventure in fur – he now wants a longer length coat, much like the one on the picture of Snoop Dogg. He already has the fabric, now I just need to find another pattern! That fluff does hang around FOREVER doesn’t it?!
      OMG the ‘Pimp Messiah’… that’s the best thing I’ve heard all year lol!!

  8. Fionio1
    April 15, 2018 / 9:49 am

    It’s an absolute beauty of a coat!

    • Sarah
      Author
      April 16, 2018 / 7:02 am

      Thanks Fiona! Sewing with fur was definitely an experience!! He really loves it though so it was all worthwhile 🙂

  9. Val Houghton
    April 15, 2018 / 10:04 am

    That coat is the bees knees , got to admire you for even attempted it

    • Sarah
      Author
      April 16, 2018 / 7:03 am

      Thank you Val! About halfway in I did start to question my decision of why I ever started it… 🙂

  10. PsychicSewerKathleen
    April 15, 2018 / 4:29 pm

    Sarah how to thank you for another Sunday maniacal giggle-fest! “Husbeast” and “muppet” are 2 words that belong in a poem not a blog post. I LOVE his coat, his good sportsmanship, humour and obvious appreciation for a woman that would go to all this TROUBLE for him 🙂 You 2 are the bomb as they say and at the end he really does have a gorgeous, one-of-a-kind coat that not only he will remember but all those who have the pleasure of bumping into him will remember too. He looks famous!!

    • Sarah
      Author
      April 16, 2018 / 7:06 am

      Ahh thank you Kathleen! I’m really glad you enjoyed the blog post 🙂 (I’m not sure I’d be much of a poet, though…)
      A lot of people have commented that he looks like some kind of rock star in it! He’s going to get a massive ego at this rate lol. One thing’s for sure, you definitely spot us in a crowd when we’re out together!
      The only downside is that the coat is so bloody huge it takes up half of the wardrobe!!

  11. Amanda Ostermann
    April 15, 2018 / 7:45 pm

    Oh my that is a-ma-zing!! Love it!!

    • Sarah
      Author
      April 16, 2018 / 7:07 am

      Thank you Amanda! I am really pleased with how it turned out. I thought about making him a matching hat from the leftover fur 😀

  12. Deb
    April 16, 2018 / 1:55 am

    YESSSSS! Love everything about this.
    Deb in California

    • Sarah
      Author
      April 16, 2018 / 7:08 am

      Yay! Glad you like it Debs!
      I think this is my most favourite thing I’ve ever made for him 🙂

  13. Mary
    April 17, 2018 / 7:04 am

    Fabulous coat. I want one!

    • Sarah
      Author
      April 23, 2018 / 6:44 am

      Thank you Mary! It is pretty cool, isn’t it 🙂 I might make one for myself! You should give it a go 🙂

  14. April 19, 2018 / 1:51 am

    Amazing! I’m not surprised that people would want to touch it ;o) I’ve only sewn one faux fur and that was a tiger print mini skirt for a dress up party (nearly twenty years ago, I still have it and the tail and headband with ears). The fur was not nearly as long as yours though!

    • Sarah
      Author
      April 23, 2018 / 6:47 am

      Thank you! 🙂 OMG that’s amazing, did you make the tail and the ears too?! I love that you still have it 🙂
      I do really love this fur coat, I think I might make one for myself… I feel sort of more prepared for working with fur now that I’ve made one!

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