Fabrics 101: Embroidering on Faux Fur
Fabrics 101: Embroidering on Faux Fur
These days fur has a
connotation of luxury, but it's one of the oldest
materials worn by humans. Manufactured "fake fur"
came into its own in the 1950s, when acrylic fibers
were developed that vastly improved on the fake
"furs" made with alpaca hair in previous decades.
Faux fur is easy to find today at your local fabric
store, and it comes in varieties from convincingly
realistic to flamboyantly fake.
Faux fur might not be
the first thing you think of as a surface for
embroidery. But with furs available that are soft or
rough, thick or wispy, long or short, you're sure to
find something that will make for a unique and
eye-catching project! Faux fur has lots of
advantages over the real thing -- it's less
expensive, easier to care for, and much easier to
sew. Plus you can embroider on it!
Choosing Your Materials
You can embroider on pretty much any faux fur you
like. If the fur is longer than about 1/4 inch, you'll
want to trim it in the area to be embroidered -
we'll talk about that later. As always, be mindful
of the pattern on your fabric. A solid or nearly
solid color is a better choice than a zebra-print
faux fur to show off your embroidery design.
your design carefully. Bold, solid filled designs
will work well on faux fur, but lightweight designs
won't. Avoid redwork, toile, sheer, or similarly
delicate designs. It's OK for there to be open
spaces between the solid-filled parts of the design
- I stitched
Simply Red on an especially fluffy fur, and it
came out perfectly visible.
Needle: Use a
75/11 sharp sewing needle - the sharp needle will
help keep your design crisp.
medium-weight (2 oz.) cutaway stabilizer. If you
look at the back of your fur, you'll probably see
it's a knit fabric that's somewhat flexible. It will
need the firm support that a cutaway stabilizer can
Topping: Faux fur
is, well, furry, and it needs to be pressed into a
smooth surface in order for your embroidery to look
top-notch. Get that wild pile under control with
heavyweight water soluble stabilizer as a topping. I
used Sulky Ultra Solvy.
The fur on the area to be embroidered should be
no longer than 1/4 inch. If yours is shaggier than
that, you'll need to give it a little trim.
Here's how: Open your design in embroidery
software and print it out at full size. Cut out
the paper design and use it as a template for
the area you need to trim. I rubbed the fur the
"wrong" way to make it stand on end, then laid
the template on top. I carefully clipped the fur
around the edges of the template to about 1/4
inch, then trimmed everything inside. Keep the
transition between clipped and not-clipped areas
gradual, and don't cut too short - it won't grow
fur is thick, and we're adding two additional
layers, so there's a lot to fit in this hoop.
Cover your stabilizer in spray adhesive (I use Gunold KK100), then smooth the fabric on top.
Make sure the fur is brushed the "right" way
when you're done. Cut a piece of the heavyweight
water soluble topping that's larger than your
hoop, and place it on top. Hoop all three layers
together, and test to make sure they're held
firmly in place.
design. I chose a
snowflake design, frosty to contrast with
the warm fur.
Tear away the water-soluble stabilizer from the
edges of the embroidery. Depending on what
design you're using, you might find it helpful
to use tweezers to remove smaller pieces of
topping. When you've removed as much as you can,
soak the fabric in warm tap water to dissolve
the rest. Any remaining topping will clump up
the fur when it dries, so you might want to use
a bit of mild detergent to make sure it's all
gone. When all the topping has dissolved, let
the fabric air dry. If there's too much fur
poking up between open areas of the design, feel
free to trim it shorter.
And you're done!
Once you get started, you'll think of all kinds
of creative uses for embroidery on faux fur - a
a lined hood on a winter coat, pillows, even
Stitching tips for faux fur:
sharp needle; an embroidery needle
may also be used
Solid-filled designs; avoid Redwork or light designs