Thursday, August 20, 2009

Faux (don't call it fake!) Fur

The Tudor Lady's pattern is almost ready, and I'm sure a lot of you are thinking about fabric and notions.

One of the strongest identifiers of the Tudor woman's style is those long, wide sleeves, turned back and lined with rich fabric or lush fur. But where do you get the fur?

You can, of course, use real fur. I don't, personally, choose to use new fur, which means I know next to nothing about how to find or buy it. You're on your own on that one.

I do occasionally use second hand vintage fur, figuring I'm not doing any more damage to an animal that's been dead for 50 years. However, the chances of finding a vintage garment large enough to cut these sleeves is highly unlikely. That leaves us with "faux" fur.

To find faux fur, go to your local Big Fabric Store. Then go home and cry.

Okay, sorry, but the truth is, most retail fabric stores have awful looking fur. It's there for making Halloween costumes and toys, not for looking like the real thing. For that, you'll probably have to go online.

One of the best faux fur companies available to the consumer is Donna Salyer's Fabulous Fakes. This company started by selling kits to make a close copy of a high quality fur coat.They've transitioned to ready to wear, but they still sell yardage, although they keep it tucked away on their website. To find the yardage, go to the "Home and Throws" section, and then look in the list on the left to find "faux fur fabric".

Now, these fabrics aren't cheap. In fact, they're $150 a yard, and you need 1 3/8 yards to line the gown sleeves. But they do look, well, fabulous. Edited to add: I had a link to a discount coupon here, but it's been pointed out to me that they may not appreciate me handing it out to you all. I'll try to find out if it's okay.

For those with lesser budgets, I'm Stuffed Fur has a huge selection of all kinds of fur, from lime green Wookie to some very real looking animal furs. They deal in job lots and sales, so if you want something, buy it now. You can also call or email them and ask for something specific.

Fur isn't a requirement. You can line the sleeves with fabric instead of fur. Or, you can go the opposite direction, and copy Jane Seymour's gold bullion embroidered sleeves:

Just for the fun of it, I used my pattern drafting software to plot and measure that embroidery pattern. Then I priced gilt bullion thread. To do the sleeves and the band of matching trim around the neckline would cost $700.

It makes $150 a yard look downright reasonable.