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Sewing very furry fabric

Beanhi | Posted in Fabric and Trim on

I’m having difficulties sewing a very furry fabric. The fur is 2″ long on a loosely woven backing. I tried sandwiching the layers of fabric between tissue paper but it still gets caught in the bobbin creating a mess of threads. Any suggestions?


  1. Tangent | | #1

    To control the fur-  can you brush it away from the seamline and hold it in place with painter's masking tape?  Keep the tape away from the stitching line.  The tape should be low-tack, so it will come off nicely when you're done, without ripping out too much hair.

    BTW, take a strip of tape long enough to go around all your fingers, plus a bit for overlap.  Put it on sticky-side out and join the ends to make a loop.  Use it to pick up loose threads/hair.

  2. jjgg | | #2

    By getting caught in the bobbin, do you mean that the fur is slipping out between the seam allowance when you sew? Try trimming it from the seam allowance before you sew the seam, or after its pinned, trim what is poking out between the edges.Always wear a face mask when working with fur, the stuff starts flying everywhere (and up the nose) I found I couldn't wear contact lenses when woring on the stuff it would irritate my eyes really bad. If possible at all I would do the trimming outside. (...later...)I wrote the above while drinking my morning coffee, then went to take a shower and was thinking about your problem,is it that the fur is poking through the loosely woven backing when you sew? (that might explain why you used the tissue paper, which would be the first thing I might think to do)Try using a different kind of needle - I'm pulling straws here, but try a titanium needle and see if that works any better, OR perhaps its the thread you are using that is pulling the fur along with it. Try a silk thread (Tire silk NOT Gutterman) - the gutterman stuff is not slick like the tire thread is.Well, thats my brainstorming for the morning. :) I hope some of this may help

    Edited 12/22/2007 8:47 am ET by jjgg

    1. Beanhi | | #3

      The problem isn't that the fur is coming through the backing. The sewing machines jams and needle can't be moved even manually. If I flip the fabric over there's a large wad of bobbin threads underneath. My guess is that the loose weave or that the fur creates a gap between the fabric that is causing the problem.

      1. jjgg | | #4

        to be honest, this sounds more like a threading problem, but I will assume that you have the machine threaded correctly. If the fur is so thick that the presser foot can't go all the way down, then the tension might not engage and could cause theses thread nests on the bottom.Have you tried to trim the fur from the seam allowance before sewing it? that way the 2 pieces of fabric will sandwich closer.Please let me know when you get this problem solved what worked for you. I wish I could help more, but this sort of has me stumped

      2. Teaf5 | | #5

        Another strong possibility is that your needle is too small, or you might need a ball point needle.  Most furs are created on a knit backing, and a sharp or too small needle will cause the bobbin mess you're getting now.

  3. scrubble4 | | #6

    Hi Beanhi:  I am not at home so I can't check my Threads resources, but I remembered Threads had had an article on sewing fake fur.  I just checked it out on the magazine index and it is in #31.  Maybe someone else can check it out for you in their #31. 

    My next comment is from my DISTANT memory, but I think the article suggested shaving the area in the seam so you are not sewing throught the fuzzy bits.   Now, that may not apply to your specific piece of fabric.  I hope someone who has #31 can check it out to see if I have remembered it accurately, and if it is appropriate advice for your situation.  Scrubble4.

  4. Betakin | | #7

    Does using a roller foot help? Also have you tried reducing the foot pressure?

    1. Tangent | | #8

      wouldn't you need to increase presser-foot pressure, to make the foot go down lower, to make sure the thread tension is engaged properly? Clipping the fur out of the seam allowance should help, too.

      1. Teaf5 | | #9

        No, increasing pressure foot tension on fake fur will cause the two layers to slip and slide.  Even on a short seam, heavy foot tension on such a heavy nap can make the two layers shift as much as an inch every few inches, even if it was handbasted together--I learned this the hard way!

        It's far better to lighten the foot pressure as much as possible and let the needle and thread slip through all the space to connect the two layers.

        1. Tangent | | #10

          If you don't have enough pressure on the foot, the feed dogs will slip when trying to move the thick fabric.  I guess you'd have to experiment to find the balance that works.

          Could the tangled nests of thread underneath be from using a too-light needle?  If the thick fabric causes the needle to be bent off-target when the loop of thread should be caught by the hook and flipped around the bobbin, then the loops would just hang there, waiting to get into trouble. If the hook caught a loop from a previous stitch, it would no longer be controlled by the tension and take-up lever, and you'd have an instant mess.                                                                   

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