Many times, you can make your own pattern from a favourite clothing item. Examine it to see what the pieces are and then duplicate them on paper. For mittens you could just trace around your hand and wrist, adding half an inch for seams and wiggle room. If you have some old cloth handy - demin would work well - try out your pattern in cloth before cutting into your furs.
Edited to add: A book like Reader's Digest's Back to Basics should have some info on using skins and furs that have been tanned at home. You could also google using search terms like making fur mittens or simple pattern fur hat etc.
Sssapps, how did you tan them? I intend to start tanning mine too and have been looking for recipies and instructions. I have found at least three different procedures using some of the same chemicals and some different. I was thinking of making slippers out of them or mittens or getting enough together to make comforters or blankets.
I have a 7 page article from Mother Earth News. You can access it online. It's titled: How to Tan Rabbit Hides by Kathy Kellogg. Issue #79, January/February 1983. We tan them in a salt/alum mixcutre. I don't hae time to dig up the article right now, but I believe it takes like 7-10 days. We put them in a 5 gallon bucket. Let me know if you have any luck finding the article.
MaggieJ - I am familiar with making cloth mittens and such, so I should be able to figure all of that out fine...I am just not too thrilled with all of the 'fuzzies' that get everywhere when you try to cut the fur. I hear a utility knife is suppose to cut down on that. We'll have to see!
SSSapps, thank you. I found the article and printed it out. I have the salt, I just need to find the Alum.
Another suggestion for hide use is to just lay one on a table, like a coffee table or end table, as a simple decoration. I've also been thinking about getting a moccasin pattern and making them out of rabbit fur.
Truckinguy, I don't think rabbit skin is strong enough for moccasins, although it would make a lovely lining for them. Perhaps you could use it for the upper if backed with fabric like canvas or denim. The trick with cutting fur without the fur flying is to cut from the back and use something that will only cut the skin. There will still be some mess, but not so much. I like a pair of very small, sharp scissors myself. I make sure that the blade of the scissors that is on the fur side lies right against the skin. You can also part the fur a bit to get it out of the way. Misting it very lightly with water may also help. I have found these things helpful when cutting any furs, not just rabbit. Most of my experience has come from making teddy bears, not moccasins or mittens, but the same principles should apply.
You're right, Maggie, the skins would not be very tough, specially from a young rabbit. I was thinking of using denim from old jeans for the soles. Lord knows I have enough pairs of old jeans around here plus it's another way to recycle the old jeans.
Now this old truck driver has to learn how to sew!
I made a pair of rabbit fur lined moccasins once. Talk about warm & comfy. They lasted for about 4 years as well. I got the moccasin kit & hides from Tandy, & cut the rabbit fur just a little bit bigger than the leather pieces. That way when sown together the little extra fur overlapped a bit & filled in the seams too.
Just ran across this on another forum. I've edited it lightly... the square brackets are mine.
Small animals, even sheep skins are very easy [to tan].
You clean the skin, scrape off all the fat or flesh if any and then soak it in brine for a couple of days. No recipe, just very very salty water.
Rinse off then lay flat on a piece of mesh or stiff wire to drain and get free air flow.
Cover the skin, flesh side, with a past[e] made from Bicarbonate of Soda mixed with Kerosene.
This will dry and you keep putting a fresh past[e] on every day for a week. The scraped off dry Bi carb can be re used. Can be now washed with a natural soap or wool mix. The skin will be tight and dry and can be worked to soften. I used to pull the sheep skin around a post from side to side holding each end.
It's not too precise, but some of you might want to play around with it. Sounds easy enough.
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