Thursday, December 26, 2013

Our Furry Friends

Santa was REALLY good to the dolls, this year....fur-real!!!! The girls are STILL parading around the house in their gifts. With New Year's Eve parties less than a week away, and the start of red-carpet season which starts soon after, a touch of fur--be it a hat made of small pompoms or a full, ankle length coat--is just the thing to add a dash of glamor to your doll's look.

Thanks to the modern invention of faux fur and trim sold by the yard, Squares of faux fur sold in craft stores, not to mention furry caps and scarves available en masse at second hand shops, Santa didn't have any problem making lots of furry gear for my entire crew! Moreover, fur coats and jackets are among the easiest articles to realize. And no small animals were harmed in the process.

It all starts with a super simple pattern. Again, I used the basic jacket pattern made from the front, back and sleeve sloper which can be lengthened or shortened to suit your taste. You can flare your pattern slightly, but personally, if you're working with long haired faux fur, you really don't need much more than the straight coat pattern. Your sleeves should have straight (not tapered) sides.

Though there are few differences in the making of a shearling coat from that of one made of fur, there are a few things should keep in mind. First of all, unlike working in leather, faux fur is essentially fabric, but with a deep pile. You stitch it with your sewing machine or hand sew your garment together with little difficulty. You can choose to line it or leave it unlined. But as with working with leather, trace your pattern on the backside of the fur and do not use scissors when cutting out the pattern. Cut close to the base and gently pull the pattern piece away so as to preserve the long hairs of the fur.

There are no special instructions for this basic coat/jacket except to have fun and be sure to choose really fun faux fur. But for those of you who want to line your garment, here are a few suggestions.

The reason behind this approach is based on my observations of my mother's old fur coats. There was often a cloth tape around the perimeter, to which the lining was attached. This allowed to cleaners to remove the lining from the fur for cleaning which was then treated by it self. I stitched a 1/2-inch satin ribbon against the hem of the jacket's interior. Around the sides of the jacket, I took the same ribbon and folded it over the edges so that half will lie in the front and the other half at the back. Hand stitch in place. 

The lining, using the same pattern as the coat (minus the sleeve) is made, I have used fabric glue to hem it on the sides and bottom. stitched to the ribbon on the sides, but I do not attach to the hem. You can then stitch another strip of ribbon at the neckline.

Or you can attach a strip of fur to the inside of the neckline (to fold right side out). Then attach another strip of ribbon at the neckline. Just like mother's coat I have gathered or pleated the ribbon along the curve of the neckline to avoid stress.

A shaggy coat is enhanced with a detachable hood.

You can also make a jacket (or coat) using fur trim, sold by the yard. For this doll's red/black jacket, I used 1 yard (1 meter) of trim. I began by making my basic jacket, leaving it turned inside out with the seams on the outside.
You don't need to line up each strip edge to edge unless the trim has a short pile. You just want to make sure the shag hangs over the next strip of fur. Below is my plot. The grey areas represent where each strip of trim is placed. The cross hairs show the overhang of the fur. I sew this onto the jacket by hand. I sew a strip of ribbon on the edges which is then turned inside of the jacket.
Again, I added a leftover rectangle of trim to the neckline for the collar. Here is what the jacket looks like inside and out. I used strips of fabric around the edge. However, if you so choose, you can add a border to border lining instead, stitched by hand.
There is also a quick and easy way to make a fur coat for your doll. For that we went to a discount store or vintage shop in search for fuzzy caps made from fur-like yarn.

To make this fur cocoon coat, I started off with a cap. 
Most caps are joined at the crown with crisscross seam. I open these two seams and flatten out my cap.

Next, open up the top corners just enough for the doll's arms. Now stitch up the rest of that opening into one single seam. Roll the cuff of the cap back and place on the doll so that the "collar" falls behind her neck. Stick her arms through the holes.

By using just the front and back pattern pieces, you can also create a very trendy vest worn over a skirt or jeans!

Wait! Don't toss out those scraps!!!! I use every bit of my leftover scarps to trim jackets or coats as well as to create a plethora of accessories.
A faux monkey shrug over the Gatsby dress with feather skirt.
I had large scraps of fur left over from one of the jackets I made. So, I joined the pieces together and fashioned it into the shrug worn by the doll above. The "asymmetrical" aspect to the joined pieces adds to the charm and originality of the garment. But don't stop there. Lets give the doll a trendy, fur handbag!

Just look at what I was able to do with a scrap of fur and one of those plastic Barbie handbags!

And look, with a tiny scrap, my doll has now has fur trim (Barbie) boots!!!
I took a long strip of faux lamb, and lined it with the same fabric as the doll's suit for this glamorous stole. I simply folded the edges of the lining under and hand stitched it close to the edge of the back of the stole.

Scraps of fur can be folded into instant dramatic hats! The hat above was created by shaping the fur into a loop around the doll's head.

 You can also use fur ball pompoms for hats, too!
A few scraps can add a dramatic touch when added as a collar to a suit and topped off with a hat (made from a small rectangle, folded and stitched at the top and back.
And don't forget to add a matching stole! It can be as full or as thin (think boa) as you like for the desired effect.

We added a bit of a flare to the basic pattern for extra fullness. 
Message from my dolls to yours? There's no reason NOT to have the coat or accessory of your dreams. Let the fur fly!!!!

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Somewhere between Downton Abbey and The Great Gasby! The hat on the left was created with a pipe cleaner & a tiny fur scrap.

All images and text property of Fashion Doll Stylist. 2013. Please do not reproduce without prior permission. Thank you.


  1. What gorgeous coats!!! I'm in love with the black and red one. Gorgeous.

    I'm pretty new to the doll collecting community, and it makes me so happy to know I'm not the only one who makes her dolls presents for the holidays! I'm already gearing up for Valentine's day. I can hear my sewing machine groaning in the background. ;)

    1. I can hear your dolls applauding in the background! By the way...over these past 11 months since I started this blog, I have discovered there are many, many doll collectors out there....both men and women!!! Doll collecting is the 2nd biggest hobby in the world, after stamp collecting.

  2. I have a question. I would like to sample two patterns, but add to the style. Do I need written permission to do so?

  3. These are super basic patterns based on Pattern Drafting 101 that any fashion would learn in school. In fact, the point of my blog is to show viewers how to make their own patterns for their dolls then make any design changes they want. So long my original photos or text is not reproduced and passed off as someone else's, you don't need my permission for that. Have fun!

  4. Im new to doll collecting and its 2023 post covid so its much harder to collect... many companies have gone. And theres less "disposable income" as cost of living soars. But im loving it anyway and this site is a huge treat , thank you.💖👌⚘

    1. First of all, welcome to my blog. I've been collecting for over 10 years now and yes, this hobby has become quite expensive. I started this blog with the hope of keeping expenses down where it comes to dressing the doll. I don't post as often as I once did because there is a LOT of content here. Almost everything you can imagine for the doll is here...from clothes and handbags to jewelry and footwear! Have a god time. If you make a mistake with whatever you attempt to make...just remember to have fun. Keep going. Take each project as a learning experience. Your doll will never complain!


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