Only the very rich, very ignorant and very unpleasant wear brand new fur coats these days. But what about vintage fur?
There are plenty of absolutely beautiful, warm, soft, genuine fur coats around, many in charity shops, mostly dating back to the 1940s – 1960s. A lot of very beautiful animals were callously killed in the process, and it seems a shame to waste the clothes our predecessors made from their poor little skins.
You could buy a stunning vintage fur coat to wear this winter, of course. You can pick them up here in Brighton for less than twenty quid, which just goes to show how few people are willing to wear fur and suffer the public’s disgust! But if you’re far too farty, like me, to risk it, is there anything else you can use them for?
I’ve been looking for ideas about things to do with an old fur coat, and this is what I’ve come up with.
What to do with an old fur coat?
Make amazing cushions
The shops are full of furry cushions, all acrylic. But cut a vintage fur coat into simple squares, first removing the lining, and it’s really easy to make your own real fur cushion covers.
If you don’t want a fight on your hands sewing suede, which isn’t easy unless you have a sewing machine, you can glue the fur to a backing of suitably-sized squares of fabric using PVA glue, then sew the fabric together instead of the fur itself.
Create a throw to die for
Here’s me sitting in woolly socks, and it’s only mid-August. Today’s stormy chill reminds me how nice it is to snuggle up in front of the telly with a hot drink on long winter evenings. And the perfect accompaniment to that? A sumptuous real fur throw to ward off sneaky draughts.
Again, cut the lining of the coat out so you can see what you’ve got. Then cut the fur into squares and rectangles, wasting as little as possible. You can even unpick the sleeves. Then sew them together in a patchwork pattern. You can back it with fabric, either sewing it onto the suede reverse of the fur or glueing the fur onto an appropriately-sized piece of fabric and hemming the edges. An old duvet cover makes an excellent template.
Get out of bed? No way…
It’s just as easy to make a fur bed cover. The only thing is, you’ll never want to get out of bed on a winter’s morning again!
You know those foot warming things that look like a single massive furry slipper? They usually come in nasty pastel pinks and blues but imagine a real fur one. All you do is cut out two semi-circles big enough for both feet and sew up the curves so you get a bag. You can line it if you like, glueing the lining in if you can’t be bothered to sew it.
Heavenly fur rugs
Fur tends to be incredibly durable, strong enough to stand foot traffic. Sew together pieces of old fur coats to create ridiculously luxurious rugs, large and small.
Seriously posh draught excluders
Cut a long, thin rectangle. Sew up one end and the long edge. Stuff it with old tights, t-shirts, towels, whatever you have handy. Then sew up the top and voila… an extremely posh draught excluder.
Furry hats and bags
People might get a bit funny if they see you in a fur coat. But furry hats don’t tend to get the same reaction. Here’s a link to inspire you, complete with simple hat sewing patterns.
Bags are equally easy to make. Just search Google for ‘bag sewing patterns’ or ‘sewing patterns for bags’ and it’ll come up with plenty of patterns and other useful pieces of kit including ready-made handles.