Have you ever wondered how to recycle old fur? Remodelling is a great way to breathe new life into an old fur coat or jacket. Whether it is an old mink coat in pristine condition, or a vintage piece that has seen better days, most furs can be recycled in some way. Just see these before-and-after photos (above) of a coat remodelled by Natural Furs of Montreal.
Here are five things you can do with an old fur coat or jacket.
Recut into a New Shape
This could be something simple like shortening the coat to make it more modern, changing the sleeve shape or just taking off the sleeves to make a vest. Alternatively, you could attempt something a bit more dramatic, like recutting the piece entirely. Fur is unique in that a good coat can be completely transformed into something new using the “letting out” sewing technique that is exclusive to fur. Expect to pay $500 and up for a job like this, and make sure you choose a furrier who is experienced in remodelling and knows how to recycle old fur.
Make an Accessory
An old fur coat could make a great fur collar, scarf, or hat. We’ve also been told of someone who had an old fur turned into glove liners. My hands are warm just thinking about it. Depending on the complexity of a job like this, you are likely looking at $100 and up.
A Coat Lining
Furs look great on the outside but they also feel really good when they are inside a coat. Creating a coat lining with an old fur coat can be a great way to keep warm without showing off the pelts. This works especially well in rainy places; creating a raincoat lining out of an old fur coat means you will be warm and dry. You might be able to get a lining created for a few hundred dollars, but it will most likely cost over $500 if you are planning to recut the shape and do fancy finishings. This could be a DIY project if you have a coat that you aren’t too precious about. Simply cutting off the sleeves, removing the lining, and turning the coat inside out could get you a pretty decent raincoat lining if you don’t need something fancy. (I am going to try this over the weekend. Wish me luck!)
A Cushion, Blanket, or Seat Covering
This is normally what people suggest as a worst-case scenario. If your coat’s skins are too dry to be turned into another garment, then making them into a cushion or blanket is a great alternative. Fur seat covers in your car would pretty much be the definition of “driving in style”, and if you’ve got a baby with expensive tastes, you could try to recycle old fur into a baby blanket or stroller lining. My son had an old piece of beaver as the lining of his car seat and he was quite pleased!
If your coat is too old to turn into a garment, and too small to turn into a cushion or blanket, then you could try making a trinket with it. A fur corsage, piece of jewelry, or a teddy bear is a great way to use an otherwise un-usable piece of fur. This is also a great option for any left over pieces, if you decide to shorten a fur coat, for example, why not make use of the pieces that were cut off?
A few things to consider before recycling a fur:
The age of the garment matters. It needs to have been well taken care of and stored properly in order for the fur to be in good enough shape to be remodelled. A lesson for us all – proper fur coat storage does prolong its life!
Some new pelts are over dried to make them lighter. These ones may also not be idea for remodelling.
Coats that have been let out can sometimes be too weak for remodelling, but nothing is stopping you turning them into a nice throw.
Mink, beaver, and fox are great fur types for recycling, whereas chinchilla, weasel and muskrat have thin leather and are more difficult to recycle into garments.
Remodelling isn’t just about cutting a new garment or item from an old fur, you can also dye furs or shear them. There is a world of possibilities!