Faux Fur Stockings
I went on a HUGE STOCKING BINGE this weekend. Seriously, I made 10 on Saturday. Six of them I loved, four of them, I still like conceptually but are just less my jam this year. I don't know if I'm on Santa's naughty list or what, but I have been all about grays, golds, and creams this Christmas (awfully portentous of some coal in my stocking...). I'm listing all five below (plus an unpictured partners to the canvas "merry" stocking on the right and linen "noel" stocking second from the left) this week, but it occurred to me that people might be a bit apprehensive about working with faux fur- especially the wild stuff I used. It's one of my favorite ways to add some neutral texture, and when paired with other neutral fabrics like the linen, seersucker, and canvas I used, it reads so modern. I am pretty sure I used Long Hair Grizzly (why grizzly, I'm not sure) from Joann's, but you can see that they have a ton of others, and other sites have even more.
Rule 1: Nap (no, not the sleepy cozy kind)
Most fur fabrics have a nap, otherwise defined as a direction the fur goes. Because mine is so hairy, it has a really obvious nap going towards the scissors in the back of the below left picture. Paying attention to nap is IMPERATIVE when working with this fabric, because it determines which direction the fur will lay flat. For stockings (and most things), you want the top of the nap (where the fur is attached to the backing) towards the top of your piece. For stockings, this means I needed to trace both stockings top-sides towards the top of the nap (in the lower right picture, you can see how I arranged my stocking template so that the fur is laying towards the toe). If it helps, draw a big arrow on your backing indicating nap direction so you don't goof. A stocking with the fur laying up would look weird.
Rule 2: No rotary cutters
Never ever use rotary cutters when cutting out templates on fur. This is a one-way ticket to a huge mess of faux-fur-fluff (FFF) because running your cutter down the line will trim all of the little hairs along your edge. You can see in the picture to the left how stuck together the fur is, so if I had cut that with rotary cutters, or even carelessly with scissors, the FFF would be all over my sewing room, probably forever.
There are two ways to approach cutting your fur- razor blade or regular scissors. You can use whichever you are more comfortable with to ensure that you only cut the backing, not all the way to the front. I prefer and have had no problem just using my fabric scissors with teeny small cuts, but a razor blade would double ensure that you're only cutting the backing. It isn't super clear in the picture to the right, but slide your bottom scissor blade along the front side of the backing underneath the fur and carefully snip your way along. When you pull it apart, the fur will separate easily and you'll have a nice and clean, non-fuzzy seam.
Rule 3: Tuck, tuck, tuck.
Once you have your pieces all cut out, it's time for the fun part! The great thing about making sure we didn't generate heaps of FFF by trimming our edge hairs in the cutting step is that those hairs will help hide our seams when we sew things together. Make sure you carefully tuck in flyaways along your seams as your pin/clip your pieces (side note- unless you have some crazy-long pins, I recommend using the jumbo wonderclips to hold your pieces together). You'll want to lengthen your stitches for sewing these, especially if you're doing fur-to-fur like I did for the stockings, and also use your walking foot. The fur is slippery against itself, plus you're dealing with a lot of bulk. Definitely check your seams around the toe and heel to make sure your stitches went through both backings and not just fur (you can see where I went back and reinforced a spot on one of my stocking toes in the below right picture).
My last minor tip is to avoid ironing. The only time I ironed these stockings was when I sewed the lining and fur outer at the top, and even then I used a pressing cloth. The backing has a tendency to gum up the iron, and I'm pretty sure you'll just melt the fur if you iron the right side. The fur will have a little wave, and it isn't that bothersome.
I totally love how these stockings mix and match. If you're looking to upgrade your stockings, you can grab these below!