A while back, I promised that I was going to post a tutorial on how to make a cosy faux fur throw after seeing the one in the Avon catalogue. I had bought my material some weeks before, but it’s been a pretty hectic few weeks for me with wedding organising to sort as well as other social commitments in addition to my classes, so I finally got started on it this week. I know that Suzannah over at Adventures in Dressmaking has already posted her own tutorial on making a faux fur throw, but I promised I would post one of my own and because there are some variations, here we go.
Materials bought for my faux fur throw
So here’s what you need to get started:
Faux fur (depending on the size you want your blanket/throw to be, you want the length to be at least half a metre (50cm) longer than the width. The Avon throw measures 125cm x 175cm, but because width of the faux fur I got is 1.5m so I just decided to go with it)
Backing fabric with the same measurements as your faux fur (I decided to go with matching fleece for warmth)
Needle and thread
Note: I’m glad that my OH is an expert at this, because I was getting really frustrated with why the faux fur and the fleece weren’t the same size. The OH has made all the curtains in our house and also made me a pink sheep fleece blanket for our first Valentine’s Day so he knew better than me how to get it to work. Don’t forget that when you’re buying fabric at the store, the staff cut it free-hand, so it’s entirely possible the either ends of the length will not be straight.
1. To make sure your fabric is the right size, you can either use your measuring tape to measure both ends of each selvedge to check they’re the same length, or you can lay the fabric down (right sides together, wrong sides facing out) and line them up.
2. You’ll have a lot more fabric to line up along the selvedge than making a snood or a dress, so if you’ve got room on the floor, use this as your flat surface. Your best bet would be to line up the selvedges first and if possible, cut a straight line along one side of the length and work on the other one later.
The faux fur I got has a pattern on it, so it was easy to find on one side of the length of faux fur how to cut a straight line. (It might be slightly more difficult if you’ve got a non-patterned piece, but you’re best to measure the length along each selvedge, make sure you’ve got the same measurement – ie 195cm, say – and fold towards the middle until you get a somewhat straight line.) It also helps if the width of your backing fabric (in my case, the fleece) is the same width as your faux fur piece. I checked this by holding the roll of faux fur (where the fabric was folded in half) against the roll of fleece (also with the fabric folded in half) to make sure they were the same width.
3. Next, you should now have 3 straight edges, so pinning along one selvedge first, continue pinning until you’ve got 3 sides (2 long and one short side) pinned all the way around.
4. Now the other edge I haven’t yet straightened, so I do this first before checking to see how much extra fleece I’ve got. With both corners of the final short edge pinned, I was able to turn up the extra fleece that wasn’t lining up exactly with the faux fur to see how much needs to be cut away.
5. Once I made sure that the faux fur and fleece edges were lining up properly, I put my hand on the edge of the extra fleece overlap and cut along the fold.
6. Once you’ve cut away the extra material, pin along this edge as well.
Make sure you leave a big enough gap at the end without pins, I left about a 10cm space (it can be smaller, about 5cm or so, but with the amount of fabric I had, I didn’t want to be forcing the fabric through the narrow gap and breaking stitches at the end) before I reached the end that I didn’t pin. Remember you’re sewing your fabric on the wrong side, so once you’ve reached the gap you’ll need to turn it inside out again so it’s the right way round.
7. Now that you’ve got all sides pinned, you can start sewing. For simplicity’s sake, I started with one of the long (selvedge) sides.
8. When you’re about near the end of you first edge, you need to decide how you want the corners of your throw to be like. You can either make them round, in which case you would continue slowly sewing a curve at the edge, or you can have pointed corners. For the pointed corners, when you’ve got approximately the same width of fabric left till the end as what you’ve left for your seam allowance (ie if your stitch is about 1.5cm from the edge of the fabric, stop sewing when you’re about 1.5cm from the bottom of the edge you’re sewing), manually turn the wheel/knob on the side of your machine so that the needle is in your fabric. Make sure it’s in the fabric – you can test it by lifting the presser foot and gently tugging on the fabric to see if it budges.
9. Now with the needle in the fabric, here’s the fascinating part (if you don’t know this already). Lift your presser foot and swivel your fabric 90° so that the edge of the side you’re now working on is lined up with your marker for keeping a straight stitch. Interesting you yet?
10. Now pull down the lever so the presser foot is holding on to your fabric and continue sewing. Ta da – you’ve now got a perfect 90° or right angle corner!
11. Repeat steps 8 to 10 for each corner you arrive at, although remember you’ll only need to do this for 3 of the corners only.
12. When you’re on your last short edge, remember where you’ve put your last pin which should be the marker for you to stop sewing. I’ve back-stitched the last section just to reinforce the stitching so it doesn’t break or come apart when I’m turning my blanket inside out.
13. Before you do anything else, whether you want right angle or curved corners for your blanket, snip the excess fabric outside of your line of stitching. When you’ve got your throw the right way round, you’ll need to be able to stick your fingers through in the corners so they’re neat, but having excess fabric can make your corners quite lumpy, so cutting this off means it’s smoother.
14. Now, like you would do with the faux fur snood, reach your hand in and grab the farthest edge from the opening…
and pull it out of the opening so the right sides of the throw are now on the outside/right side.
15. Once you’ve done that, find the 3 corners that you stitched (the 4th corner will be the one with the opening, we’ll get to that later) and poke your finger or a blunt object to neaten them and keep them perky. See?
16. Now to close the opening, I started on the side with the 4th corner, because to keep it neat and tidy, the stitched edge as well as the folded over edge of the fabric need to stay on the inside (ie hidden). So I folded this bit over first and like with my faux fur snood tutorial, put the needle and thread from the bottom first through one side of the faux fur fabric…
…and repeated the process in reverse for the other side, so I started from the top of the folded edge of the fleece so the needle is pointing downwards…
…and when you tighten the stitch, it should now be hidden.
Once you’ve finished sewing the opening, your hand stitches should reach the machine stitches you finished for the start of the opening.
Now you’ve got yourself a nice, warm and cosy faux fur throw! Here’s my own one being modelled on the settee of my room with my JewelCandle burning to keep me company:
Nice, right? The choice of backing fabric is up to you, but I decided to go with what Avon used on theirs because fleece is relatively inexpensive compared to velvet and because of its weight and weave, it retains heat better, making it a better choice for keeping warm in the cold weather. Of course, if you want to splurge you could always get velvet which would be more luxurious, but you’ll need to make sure you check out washing instructions for the particular type of velvet you buy – not all of them are machine washable, some will even be required to be cleaned professionally!
What do you think of the faux fur throw? Will you be making yourself one or as a gift for someone you know this Christmas?