Here’s my disclaimer: If it’s a real expensive coat, you may want to consult a professional. This one my sister got from Goodwill so I wasn’t about to find a fur specialist when I had teh Google at my fingertips. Besides, I fix everything myself. It’s the best part of being a geek!
Here is the finished result. This coat started out as a relatively inexpensive rabbit fur coat made in China. It’s jacket length and zips up the front. It’s still incredibly warm (wearing it makes you wish for fur blankets on your bed.)
When my sister gave it to me, it had a panel of fur that had separated from the inside seaming and was just flopping about. Go ahead. Look real close and see if you can tell which panel it was.
If you had the coat on, it was the middle front panel to the left of the zipper.
I started looking very closely at the inside to see what had happened to make it separate from it’s neighbors. Rabbit is a very thin material so machine sewing and serging like was used on this coat is very ineffective. Like I said – it’s a cheap coat made from sub-prime furs, but still, you can’t beat finding something like this at Goodwill.
The leather side of the fur had torn away from the serged edge and would not hold any sort of stitching. Every time I even got close to it with a needle, it would rip again.
Very carefully, I used Steam-a-Seam and a piece of hemming lace to strengthen the leather. This is the part that was tricky. I couldn’t touch the iron to the leather without singing the fur or scorching the leather. Logically, I didn’t think steam itself would hurt it and I needed just enough to set the glue on the steam-a-seam. I had Shaun hold it open with the lace in place and I blew steam at it holding the iron about 2 inches away from the leather. I repeated this until it seemed like the glue had set the lace into place. (If you don’t have a man with tough man hands, then find an assistant with gloves.)
Next I let it dry and cool for a couple of hours to make sure the glue and lace were nice and secure. After it was, I was ready to sew.
I got a very thin, short needle and some coat grade thread in a khaki color. All the fur on the top panel, I pushed up. The fur on the bottom, I pressed down so I was only getting the leather with its lace backing into the stitch. Then I pretended I was a doctor suturing a wound. (Or an upholstery repair-person working with very delicate fabric.)
The trick was to make sure the lace held the stitching and not the leather. In total, I used about 6 “suture” style stitches in a 6 inch area. After I was sure the stitching would hold, I brushed the fur back into place and pulled out the camera!
I’m really pleased with how it’s turned out! I’ve worn it several times since then and it still seems as strong as the day I worked on it so hopefully it will stay. I have not found a single person yet who can tell just from looking that it ever needed repair.
Here are some close-ups: