Steely Seamstress

Sewing for life


Sewing the Seventies: Make 1 – Faux Fur Jacket Part 2

It’s taken me a long time to get to the point of writing this post. February was a busy month with limited sewing time and I’ve only just finished making my seventies faux fur coat.

McCalls 3016

McCalls 3016

I discovered that the yardage suggested gave me enough to make View B, the mid length coat, and to make the hood from View A. I was really pleased that this was the case, because hoods are useful and this one is detachable. And I still had more fabric left! So I opted to make a couple of inseam pockets, after all who has a coat without pockets? There’s still more fabric left, but I shall ponder what I’ll do with that once I’ve finished the coat.

Faux fur jacket worn without the hood

Since my last post I have sewn the lining and inserted it into the coat. I made a slight modification here. I decided that since I had made two darts at the neckline in the jacket, to add a pleat at the centre back. This actually means that, like most jackets the lining is slightly larger than the coat itself, which is just the way it should be.

Faux Fur Jacket

Faux fur jacket worn without the hood

Next, I made my pockets. These were self-drafted to fit my hand and were cut from the faux fur and the lining fabric. The faux fur fabric is quite heavy and I had noticed someone wearing a dress recently where the inseam pockets had sagged under the weight of the fabric. I was determined to make sure this wouldn’t happen with my pockets, so I employed a technique using a binding to stiffen the pocket edges. I’ve decided to write an extra post on this to illustrate the method, which I’ll post soon.

Finally, (and this took ages) I sewed on all the snaps onto the hood and the coat and added the faux fur hook and eyes to the front edges of the jacket.

Faux Fur Jacket

Faux fur jacket worn without the hood

Now this is where I hit a snag. I followed the instructions in the pattern and the hooks and eyes are sewn directly onto the lining inside the coat with the hook and eye lined up against the front edges of the jacket. When I did the jacket up I found that the fastenings just don’t hold the coat closed very well. If you move, or bend it gapes wildly at the front. I suppose the attachment points are quite a long way from the edge of the jacket and this is the reason the front opening gapes open. Plus, I don’t like the way the hooks and eyes are sewn directly onto the lining. Perhaps if I could have found some grey fabric-covered hooks and eyes it would have helped, but to me the inside of my jacket now just looks ugly.

Inside the Faux Fur Coat

Inside the Faux Fur Coat – the paisley lining is rather wish isn’t it?

I’m still not sure I’ve struggled over the finishing line with this coat yet. I’m really not happy with the front fastenings, but the question now is what do I do about this? Looking at some RTW coats, the hooks and eyes are sandwiched between the coat and a facing. This could mean that the fastenings are secured right at the front edge of the jacket which would improve the situation. Or, I could get some more snaps and overlap the edges to fasten them (just possible as there is enough ease in the jacket). Alternatively, I could insert a zip. This would probably be the warmest solution as there wouldn’t be any possible gaping at the centre front. I think the whole look of the inside would be improved with a facing. It seems like I’m overly bothered about the inside of the jacket, but when it’s worn undone at the front, the weight of the hood tends to throw the neckline open revealing the inside edges – I want this to look good too. What do you think would be the best solution?

The faux fur jacket done up

In summary, I loved sewing with the faux fur, it was actually quite an easy fabric, even if I created lots of fluff which I’m sure will still be filling up the vacuum cleaner for weeks to come. I’ve been admiring my reflection in shop windows today (do you do that?) and I love the sheen on the fur, and I can’t help reaching round the back of my chair today to give the coat an extra stroke!

Unfortunately, the pattern isn’t the best vintage faux fur jacket pattern out there. I would have been happier if the coat had included pattern pieces for a facing and of course some pockets. But, I think it is supposed to be more a “quick make” rather than an all-out coat pattern.

Faux fur jacket with hood attached

Faux fur jacket with hood attached


Sewing The Seventies: Make 1 – Faux Fur Jacket Part 1

Fur Jacket

I’ve probably been influenced by all the faux fur jackets that have proliferated this year, because when I saw a McCalls pattern from 1971 for a faux fur jacket on Ebay I snapped it up.

The pattern has three variations; View A is virtually knee length and includes a detachable hood, View B is below hip level and View C is about waist level. The closures are hook and eyes placed on the front edges of the jackets.

McCalls 3016 Faux Fur Jacket Pattern

I was determined to find some faux fur fabric that wasn’t made of synthetic fibres. Etsy came up trumps with this bright blue cotton / viscose, but the price was alarming at £35.59 per metre. I justified it because those polyester RTW jackets were retailing for £60 – £80 and I would still be making my jacket for less than this price. I ordered 1.5 metres and was very pleased with how soft it felt. Even Master Steely walks past the half-finished jacket and gives it a stroke every now and then!

The cutting-out process was a little fraught. Faux fur is so fluffy and messy. The fur has got everywhere. I find that all my clothes look like I’m the owner of a very furry cat with bright blue hair! I was very relieved when I got past this stage. I ordered some viscose coat lining from Croft Mill. They have quite a selection of viscose linings. After all, why go to the trouble of faux fur fabric in natural fibres if you’re not going to use viscose lining?  I agonised about my choice, because the fur is quite an unusual colour and there is definitely a greenish tinge to the blue. I selected a mid-grey lining with a jacquard paisley pattern, which somehow seemed appropriate for a seventies make.

Faux fur jacket

Fluff everywhere!

I decided to make View B, which is the middle length. I also have enough fabric to make the hood too and add a couple of inseam pockets to my jacket. There are some interesting instructions for creating the shoulder seam for this coat. Essentially there is a dart at the centre-top of each sleeve. When you sew the sleeves onto the coat, the armscyes are sewn first (step 3 below) and then then shoulder seams which extend into this dart are sewn (step 4). I’ve never seen this approach before – any ideas why this was chosen?

Faux Fur Jacket Instructions

Interesting instructions for the sleeves?

Included with the pattern is a little booklet entitled “Fake Fur Fun”. It has some good advise in there including:

  • Paying attention to the nap of the fabric
  • Cutting single thickness
  • Using long stitches
  • Using a darning needle to free trapped fur
  • Shearing the pile on the inside on finished seams to make the seams less bulky

Fake Fun Fun (?) Tips

I’m not quite finished yet, but I tried the jacket on unlined yesterday and found it to be rather warm – much appreciated in this cold weather.