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Sapphire-Light Posts: 41

Hi! my father is a farmer and he bring me a ram hide he had, since he knows I love to make plushies.

I never had tried making something with real pelt, only with mohair,

So I need some tips, I don't want to ruin the pelt because my inexperience with them  bear_sad

Here's the hide (it need a wash) , I'm thinking on making a polar bear  bear_wub


Sapphire-Light Posts: 41


I was wondering if I just use it like a mohair fabric or I have to treat it different?  bear_wacko

teeeej Brisbane
Posts: 623

A few tips I know of when working with real fur...

- Use leather needles to sew it, don't use too tiny a stitch as you might tear the pelt
- leave bigger openings as it can be harder to turn
- you may want to line the pelt to give it extra strength
- check the pelt carefully for rips or holes or other damage

Im sure there are plenty of others. Try the Library - it has a section on real fur. bear_thumb


Michelle Helen Chaska, Minnesota
Posts: 2,897

Marcia: I love to sew with real fur. Therese gave great tips. There is a book by Nancy Tillberg that is full of information on how to sew with real fur. … eader-link
My tip is when you sew the bear line it with quality muslin. Do not glue it to the pieces. Baste it by hand. Glue will eventually damage the leather and it will break down leaving the seams weak.

Also, when you cut the bear pieces out, do not shake them. Rather take a hand held vacuum (hold the pieces tight) and vacuum each pieces.

Melisa Nichols Melisa's Bears
Hazelton, BC
Posts: 5,811

Hi Marcia,

I'm assuming that this is a tanned hide?  Be careful about washing - soaking leather in water weakens the hide.  The library has a section in "real fur" about cleaning fur.

I always line my real fur creations even though I make sure my recycled furs are in very good shape.  This gives more strength to the seams and makes it so that if in 100 or 200 years the pelt weakens in places, there will still be something in to hold the stuffing in. 

Also, I don't stuff as firmly as with mohair so as not to put more strain on the seams.  Since I use armature, that also allows the armature to be able to bend & hold a shape.

Hope this helps!  I'm looking forward to seeing your creation!  bear_original

SageFox The Sage Fox
Punxsutawney PA
Posts: 41

Michelle...I just went to amazon and bought that book..thanks for posting that! I'm such a sucker for books lol

Marcia...I've sewn alot of fur over the years..I had a small business making hats for trappers from their furs. Even made a full length black bear hat for a guy once that went the whole way down his back...not exactly something for every day use though, but that's what he wanted LOL
I LOVE sewing with fur... nothing softer  bear_original   Although I always hated receiving a home tanned pelt that was more like cardboard than leather..but as long as the fur was tanned properly, they are a real pleasure to work with. Like others said, a glover needle is a must...and I always used simulated sinew as my thread as it is extremely strong. I never used backing on my fur I can't give much advice there (which is why I just bought a copy of that book  bear_whistle  )  I just made a separate fleece lining for the hat.

So, good luck with your bear...can't wait to see pics of him finished!  bear_grin


Michelle Helen Chaska, Minnesota
Posts: 2,897

Kelly: I know you will love the book. It is full of wonderful tips and information. Enjoy!

Sapphire-Light Posts: 41

Thanks a lot for the suggestions everyone  bear_thumb  , the book sounds interesting.

Yes Melissa it is a tanned hide, I'm goin to be carefull with it thanks.

Sapphire-Light Posts: 41

Sigh.. bad news.

Since the hide was dirty, my father washed it soaking it with detergent before I could tell him about the cleaning methods in that link.  bear_wacko

I know he was just trying to help, sadly the hide now can't be used to make the bear  since is now very stiff and can't even bend.  :doh:

Oh well, at least the hair is still on the hide (the hair is still soft)  , I don't want to trow it away, I guess it can made a nice carpet now.  bear_sad

nealabear Teddy's Treasure Chest
Posts: 61

Too bad about the hide being washed.  here is something you might want to try to resoften it.  Cut off a small piece to try this so that if it doesn't work you won't loose the entire pelt.  Take glycerine and rub it on the back of the pelt (on the leather) rub it in well but don't make the hide to wet with it.  Glycerine will soften the leather and make it plyable.  Rub it in well and then let it completely dry before using it.  Glycerine is available at most drug stores and it very inexpensive. It comes in a bottle and is a gel like liquid.  I have often used it to soften pelts that are hard and brittle when people have insisted on having a bear made from their Grandmothers coat even though the coat is as old as the hills and the hide is totally dried out.  I have seen it preform miracles so give it a try.  It is better to treat the hide two or three times to get it soft than to soak it with the glycerine the first try.  If you use just a small piece and treat it to the softness you want it you can then tell how many times you will have to treat it before using it.  Let the hide dry thoroughly before applying another treatment.

enchantmentsart Feather Heart Creations
Posts: 419

I 2nd the Glycerine treatment.  I've had old dry cracking furs that it's worked wonders on.  Also if you needle felt you can always use the fur with out the leather for a really nice needle felted critter bear_original

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