I have done a lot of sewing for a lot of people...mostly things like hems, zippers, and pillows or cushions. Occasionally, though, I'm asked to make something that's really unusual. I'm actually thankful for that. I like the opportunity to solve the puzzle.
I met a guy while I was sewing patches for the local Harley Davidson dealership. He is a trapper and had 24 fox pelts. He wanted them made into a blanket. I wish I had a picture of the pelts when I got them . . . all strung together on a piece of coat-hanger with ears, noses, feet and tails attached! Unfortunately, I don't have that picture, but here they are all piled up on a bed.
I'll confess I'm not a hunter, and I don't deal with dead things very well at all so when I was handed the hanger, I had to take a minute to remind myself to breathe . . . among other things.
My cat, Jack, helped me while I was splitting and trimming the pelts. I had to get them into a shape that I could put together somewhat flatly. The animals were all different sizes to start, so the resulting rectangles weren't all the same size.
All cutting is done from the skin side of the pelt, not the fur side. There were thinner and thicker areas of skin, and there were holes where trap damage had been done. I had to cut around these things while trying to keep as much usable pelt as possible. When done, I laid everything out on a bed to fit the pieces together, keeping all of the fur going in the same direction.
I pushed the fur out of the way and reinforced the seams with tape to keep the stitches from tearing out of the leather. Fox hide is quite soft so I was able to sew it with my conventional machine. Even the seam intersections weren't a problem.
I had to cover the seams with something. I chose black fleece. I couldn't attach the fleece to the pelts through the middle of the blanket, so to keep the fleece from rolling to the fur side around the edges, I hand-sewed the tails around the edges along the sides and along the top where the fur had its origin. The fur concealed the fleece on the fourth side because of the direction of the fur growth. (The hair hung off of the edge.)
Here's the finished blanket. And yes . . . it's VERY warm!
Just another tidbit: I did not “let” the fur as a furrier would have. This would have meant cutting the pelts into very narrow strips and sewing the strips closely together onto a fine netting. The spacing is close together so the netting isn't visible. Had I done that, it would have made the finished blanket lay flatter. It also gives fur pieces a softer drape and would have made it about twice as big . . . but it would have taken a lot longer to do.
This project was a challenge, but what a thrill to see the finished product! I also made a pillow out of the scraps. Just had to!
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