Inferior Furs Should be Avoided - How to Utilise an Old-fashioned Muff - The Way to Cut and Sew Fur - Muffs of Fur and Velvet - How to Use Caracul - Furs which can be Worn in Combination The Pleasure of Contriving
Good quality peltry lasts a very long time, but, unfortunately, there is such a thing as fashion ; and though the general make-up of furs does not alter quite so often as that of other garments, yet really good skins will often outlast the particular mode in which they were made.
One has only to contrast the " granny " muff of Queen Anne's time with the tiny little article in use in early Victorian days to realise to what extremes fashion in furs sometimes runs. Each mode makes the other look ridiculous, and few women would be strong-minded enough to wear the one when the other was in fashion.
A small old-fashioned muff which, with a little ingenuity, can be remodelled and enlarged by the home worker
Everyone knows how expensive it is to have furs remodelled, and sometimes it hardly seems worth while to pay much to have a muff or stole altered to the prevailing mode ; so we are left with furs on our hands too good to be thrown away, and yet useless for wearing purposes.
With a very little trouble old-fashioned furs can be made to look quite fresh and up to date by anyone who observes certain precautions.
How to Cut and Sew Fur
If possible, a furrier's knife should be obtained for cutting fur, but if this is this and satin frills sewn in at the side to give further protection for the wrists available, a strong sharp penknife may be used.
The small muff as it appears when remodelled. All the fur has been used for the front heads and tails have been added.
The fur should be laid on a board with the skin uppermost, and the place where the incision is to be made marked with chalk. One person should hold the fur down firmly at each side, while the other cuts through the skin.
To join fur, place the two pieces together, the fur inside, and oversew the edges. It is a good plan to place a piece of cardboard between the two pieces of fur, and with this push down the fur, leaving the edges clear to sew. Do not draw the stitches very tight, or you will make the fur pucker.
The front view of a pretty muff of velvet and fur, made from the ends of a fur stole of smoked fox. The velvet is grey and the lining is old gold brocade
The fashion of wearing heads and tails of fur makes the amateur's work still easier, for these can be bought separately, and are invaluable for enlarging and renovating muffs and stoles.
The accompanying illustration shows how an old-fashioned muff was modernised and enlarged in the following way.
How to Enlarge and Modernise an Old-fashioned Muff
The skin first of all was removed from the lining, and then cut in half or unsewn where joined.
The inner lining and wadding were made up into the modern flat shape, and the outside lined half-way round with satin.
The skin was then placed over the muff and firmly sewn to the sides, but not joined, so that the skin hung over the front of the muff as you might hang a rug over a rail.
To the end of the skin in front were attached four tails of fur to match the muff, and in the spaces between the tails were placed three little heads. Two tails were also attached to the sides of the muff, making it broader and hiding a worn place at the side.
To the sides were added frills of brown satin, forming an extra protection for the wrists.
The result was a pretty muff of modern fashion in place of one so small and old-fashioned that it was quite unusable.
A Muff of Fur and Velvet
The other muff illustrated was made from the ends of a stole.
Grey velvet was employed for this muff, lined with old gold brocade. The fur was smoked fox, and the whole formed a charming combination of colour.
This muff had pockets for purse and handkerchief - a most useful adjunct.
The muff was made of the velvet, a piece of which was turned up at the back to form a pocket. This pocket was lined with the brocade, and another inner pocket, fastening with a dome fastener, was made for the purse.
The pieces of fur were carried round from the top of the pocket down the front, but not up the back, though, of course, this could be done, if preferred.
The back view of the velvet muff, showing the useful and ingenious pocket for purse and handkerchief made by turning up a piece of the velvet
Many people have pieces of brocaded silk with quaint old-world colourings and designs. These come in most usefully for linings of stoles and muffs, and have a much more distinguished look than an ordinary silk or satin lining.
What to do with a Caracul Cloak It is often difficult to know what to do with an old caracul cloak or jacket of old - fashioned cut.
A little caracul goes a long way, and a whole coat of it is not to the taste of a great many people.
Luckily, caracul is a very easy fur to manipulate, and a cloak would cut up into a good-sized muff or stole, if judiciously used. The addition of black silk fringe forms a good finish, and blends exceedingly well with the fur.
Both stole and muff could be lined with either black, white, or coloured satin, but black is the most useful for every-day wear.
A wide scarf, which might be used for a theatre wrap, could be made of strips of caracul with black Maltese lace between, finished off at the ends with silk tassels and embroidery. A good addition to a travelling cloak would be a black caracul storm collar.
A muff and a stole made from a caracul cloak. The addition in each case of a handsome black silk fringe will be found to add a note of distinction to the set
Sable and Marmot
Sable and marmot stoles are often discarded because they are a little worn at the edges, or because the cut is a little out of date.
They can, however, be utilised in many other ways, and should never be thrown away.
The collar part of a stole can be used as a collar for a coat, and the best part of the ends for the cuffs.
An illustration shows the collar of a marmot stole, finished off with braid ornaments and tails, applied to a coat of fawn boxcloth. It would look equally well on a soft grey-green material.
Different Furs in Combination
Two sorts of fur are often used together, but the result is not always a happy one.
Moleskin and ermine is a pretty combination, so is also real coney and skunk.
Chinchilla and velvet is a pleasing mixture which always suggests an old lady, though it is not easy to explain why.
Grey squirrel is a becoming fur, and those who possess an old-fashioned cloak lined with good grey squirrel are lucky beings. This fur is much more expensive than it was, and, from once being used entirely for lining, has come to the surface, and appears in stoles, muffs, and coats.
It is exceedingly pretty for hats, and, with the addition of a trimming of violets, makes most becoming headgear.
A handsome fur collar and cuffs made from an old stole, and worn on a coat of fawn boxcloth. The collar should be finished with braid ornaments and tails