Every month, my son's school has a dress-up day and for December the theme was “Narnia”. My nieces go to the school as well, so I ended up making costumes for the Green Witch, Susan, Peter, the White Witch, and Aslan (you can see them all here). I made a fur stole for the White Witch costume and have a pattern to share with you, as well as some tips for working with faux fur. My niece is six, but this would work for a younger girl by shortening the scarf pieces and for an older girl by lengthening and widening them.
You will need:
- The pattern: Stole Pattern
- 1/2 yard of faux fur (you will only use half, but you need the length) or another appropriate fabric such as minky or velvet
- 1/2 yard lining fabric
- 3″ of cord/ribbon/elastic
- 1 button
- Comb or seam ripper
- Scissors – both your regular fabric scissors and a small, sharp pair
- Sharpie (black or silver – this is discussed further down)
- Seam allowance is 1/2″
I cut all my faux fur on my kitchen floor. Seriously, don't even bring it into your craft room – you'll have fur stuck to all your fabric! Also, don't take it out of the bag from the fabric store until you're ready to vacuum the cut edges. This takes care of all those flyaways that get onto everything. You only need to vacuum the two cut edges, not the selvedges.
Next, make sure you know which way the fur lays – this is referred to as the nap. For the most part, you'll want the nap to point down in relation to your pattern, so the fur lays like it would on an animal. Run your fingers over the fur. If it smooths down, you are going with the nap. If it roughens and stands up, you are going against the nap.
Flip your fur so the wrong side is facing up and make an arrow to mark which way the fur lies. You can see I made my scarf pieces the length of the fabric – since it's a half yard cut, they are 18″ long. The pattern calls for them to be 16″ – we'll trim them down later. I trace my pattern using a black sharpie if I'm working with light colored fur:
Or a silver sharpie if I'm using a dark colored fur:
If you have a pattern piece that needs to be cut on the fold, such as the collar, you'll want to trace one side (making sure to mark the center so you can line it up properly), then flip the template and trace the other side.
When you're ready to cut, you'll need to think about the nap of your fur again. When you cut the two scarf pieces (or any side that runs parallel to the selvedge), you can use your regular scissors because you'll be cutting between the fur fibers for the most part.
Every time I make a cut, I run my fingers along the cut edge to gather the tufts that came off and then vacuum them right away. This cuts down on the mess.
To trim these pieces down to size, I measured the correct length I needed to cut from the bottom (taking off 2″ to make it 16″ long), marked it with my sharpie, and used my small scissors to cut. You'll want to work the scissors in under the fur, so that you're cutting mostly just the backing and not the fur itself.
This is only for the bottom edge of your fabric, since that's the fur that will hang over the cut edge. This will make for a more natural-looking finish when you're done.
For the collar, you can cut the top edges and the sides until they begin to curve with your regular scissors.
Then you'll need to take your small scissors and cut the rounded edge the same way as before – by working them into the pile of the fur and making small, accurate clips.
Match the shoulders of the collar with the top edges of the scarf pieces and sew. Repeat for the lining pieces.
On one side of the fur, you'll need to add your cord (or whatever you're using for a clasp). I measured five inches down from one shoulder seam and used a small piece of tape to hold it in place. The tape is inside the seam allowance, so it won't show on the outside. Make sure it is on the correct side of the scarf piece (the side that will go against the neck) and baste if desired or just leave it and sew it into the seam later.
Place the fur and the lining right sides together, matching up the shoulder seams and the bottom edges. Sew, leaving a 4″-6″ gap on one of the long outer sides. Trim the inside neck curve, but not the outer curve.
Make notches at the bottom corners: trim the sides at an angle and the bottom straight up. This is so you don't cut the long fur.
Turn ride side out through the gap you left. Use something long and thin to carefully push the corners out (I use the end of a paint brush). For the bottom edges and the bottom of the collar, you can take a comb or the flat edge of your seam ripper (apparently all of my combs have grown legs and left) to work the fur fibers out of the seam. This takes a little patience, but on something so small, it doesn't take too much time.
You can see how much of a difference this makes:
Repeat on the bottom edge of the collar and up the sides until the fur is no longer caught in the seam (about half way to the shoulder seam or where you started cutting with your regular scissors).
Tuck in the raw edges of the gap you left to turn and pin in place.
Topstitch about 1/4″ from the edge around the entire stole, closing the gap. If you stitch with the lining side up, you won't have to worry about the fur getting caught in the needle or sewing the nap the wrong way.
Line up the bottom and sides of the scarf section so you can decide where to put your button. I pulled the cord over until it was taut and laid the button in the loop it made.
I always use a piece of tape to hold my buttons in place with a pin between the holes. This allows for a little give so the cord can slip under the button without distorting the fabric.
And you're done! I love how the wide collar gives the stole such a great sweep. My niece said it's her favorite part of the entire outfit!