Used Furs: Making Cozy Winterwear Without the High Cost

Head to a second-hand store to purchase fur coats that are gently used. Then, sew the used furs into a new-to-you winter coat!


| January/February 1971



Fur Coats

Make a lovely winter coat by finding used furs at a second-hand store and sewing them into a new pattern.


PHOTO: FOTOLIA/TEREX

Putting aside any crass status motives, a fur coat is still one of the most practical possible forms of winter wear. Fur is windproof, waterproof and warm. It's also luxurious, sensuous and gives a lovely feeling to the wearer. What's more, if you've been dreaming of a fur coat but you don't want to endanger any of our fellow mammals now scurrying around, you can have your cozy winterwear while doing the planet an ecological favor by recycling someone else's old, cast-off garment of 20 or more years ago for, possibly, that many more seasons' use.

Our hunting ground will be the second-hand store, the Goodwill, the Salvation Army and rummage sales. If we're lucky, we'll find our pelts made up into one or more of those big-shouldered, Iong, flopping coats of the 40s and 50s. This is our raw material. We'll rip the old apart and make new. 

Make a Pattern

Think about design (coat? cape? jacket?) and choose your heart's delight with one thought uppermost in mind: simplicity. You'll be learning on this first venture. Keep it simple with a minimum of darts and details.

Make a sketch of each pattern piece and indicate the required measurements. Take this information and a tape measure with you when you look for pelts so you'll be sure to pick a cast-off garment large enough to remake into your design.

Select Used Pelts

Remember now: You're buying your fur already sewn into a hulking, swirling coat 20 or 30 years old. The raw material will be worn, torn — and inexpensive. Choose carefully and creatively. It takes imagination to see your coat in that sad old heap of beaver, seal or mink.

Most important is the suppleness of the pelts. Try to get inside the lining to see their back sides. If they're crackly or thin or weak, look for something else. The natural oils have probably dried out and the pelts will disintegrate as you're working on them. By the way, shorthaired furs are easier to work than longhaired ones.





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