I had to have an Astrakhan coat. On my commute to work I walk across a very windy bridge in Boston so I wanted something that had some super neck protection. I also wanted it to be super warm.
I was holding out for brown and finally found this faux fur Persian Lamb on a visit to NYC last year. It was the fancy Tissavel stuff so I only bought about 2 yards. That’s pretty skimpy for a coat so I knew it would have to be a short one.
I had read that you should keep the seaming simple with fur, so enter Vogue V8933 with an almost double breasted angled front, and ear height super collar. The pattern is very simple with no princess seams or front darts. It comes in several lengths and has inseam pockets. I made view A, the shortest one. The front is fastened with giant #10 snaps.
The faux fur wasn’t that hard to cut or sew but fitting it into the 2 yards WITH nap was tricky. It’s quite pliable and actually very forgiving. I used a catch stitch on the seam allowances to keep the seams flat, and because the fur is short there was no need to pull the fur out of the stitching at the seams. I’m calling this a parka because it has a Thinsulate interlayer (the thick stuff) stitched to the lining.
What was I thinking? Of course, with no darts or princess seams it was quite boxy and shapeless. Duh! With the Thinsulate I was worried that it would be too snug so I sized up. I also planned to wear it over a jacket so added a little extra room at the shoulders. In the end I had over-compensated and it was WAY too big. I had made a muslin mockup but that couldn’t help me with the question of thickness and bulk.
I was also disappointed with the fit of the shoulder and sleeves so I switched them out with those from another pattern. I’m on the fence as to whether it was worth it. Oh, I also lengthened the sleeves a bit and added a slit at the bottom.
I completed the coat last November and wore it only a few times before I sent it back to the sewing room. I finally went in and did the major alterations in February when I went to an ASG sewing retreat. I took out about 2″ each at the shoulders, waist and hips by creating princess seams at both the front and back, and gave it a bit of shape at the sides. That was about the time I lost half a snap and it took until now to finally buy and sew a new one on along with some hooks and eyes at the collar. Sad, I know; finished just in time for summer!
I won’t use this pattern again as I need something more shaped. I’m just warming up with the faux fur and will definitely use it again. Now that everything has been tweaked on this coat, the only change I wish I could make is to lengthen it. Because the Thinsulate and fur make it bulkier, I think it needs to be longer to maintain good proportions.
1. I need shape so use patterns that help with this. When will I learn?
2. Don’t touch or rub your eyes while cutting faux fur.
3. Cats especially like faux fur.
4. Don’t cheap out with fabric length. If I can’t afford the length I really need I should wait until I can.
I’m working on my photography skills. The detail shot gas the truest color rendition.
Last word; the hat is my second crochet project completed just this spring. It’s cute but not very windproof. I like how the crochet work feels very organic compared to sewing.