On my list of things to make for our March trip to Williamsburg was a fur muff to keep the hands warm, in case of chilly weather.
|Mrs. Wilbraham Bootle, 1781 by George Romney, oil on Canvas, National Gallery of Scotland|
I was itching to try making a muff, as I already had all the necessary materials in my stash – vintage salvaged sable fur, satin for the lining, the guts of a hundred dog toys (polyfill).
|Sable fur rescued from a vintage coat that was in pretty bad condition – I seamed several piece together, which is a lot harder than it looks – you can see my vertical seam, which is rather obvious.|
I read through Leimomi’s post about her fur muff, and Katherine’s tutorials on making a muff base and cover, then decided to try to make a base with the fur as a cover, after seeing Jen’s version made this way.
|Here’s my muff base, made out of stash satin. I didn’t really have enough polyfill to fill it up, and I ended up going a different direction with the construction, but this worked great as a mockup.|
The problem was that I was using real fur salvaged from a vintage coat, and it didn’t want to fold and bend the way faux fur does. I couldn’t conceive a way, too, to cleanly attach a gathering channel to the fur.
So I went with a second method informed by Katherine’s tutorial. After piecing together a large enough piece of the vintage fur, I stitched one side to the lining material, and also attached a narrow strip to the other side, seen here:
|The construction is the same as in Katherine’s tutorial, but I’ve created the yardage from two materials – one will be the outside and one the inside of the muff.|
The strip is what I would be whip-stitching the lining to, once I’d pulled it through the fur-tube, as stitching it to the hide itself would have been difficult and put a lot of stress on the skin, probably tearing through it.
With this piece, I then followed Katherine’s directions, stitching it together length-wise, then pulling the lining through the middle of the fur, stuffing it with polyfill, and tediously turning the edge of the lining and facing strip, and whipping those together.
|The tube, before pulling the satin through the fur, and stuffing it|
Though some steps were tricky, all in all I made the thing in about two hours, and it works a treat. I may open the end up and add some more stuffing (you’ll need more than you think), but other wise it’s finished, and I have one more accessory for Williamsburg done. 🙂
The last little bit was to add a bow cut out of ivory taffeta. It’s not necessary, but I liked the look of it, and it also reminds me which way to hold the muff, so the fur runs downwards, and my less-than-stellar seaming is hidden-ish.
That’s it! It was quick and fairly easy, with good results. You can make muffs out of wool, satin, fur, faux fur, really whatever you like, and decorate them in a gazillion different ways. They work across periods, too, and really do keep the hands warm. It’s a nice project for an evening, or a get-together with friends. 🙂