"Sewing" with fur?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by CountryGoalie, Feb 24, 2005.

  1. CountryGoalie

    CountryGoalie Well-Known Member

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    My request for information in support of the use of fur (thread: "In Support of Fur") reminded me of a question I've been meaning to ask for a while now. I raise rabbits, for the purpose of show and meat, and I would love to use the pelts of these rabbits, as I have found that results from our French Lop crosses have excellent, thick fur.

    I recently found an excellent source for learning to tan these hides, but I have a question. What kind of items can one make with these pelts, and how? Once, while at a Sportsmans' Convention with my father, I saw a blanket made of fox furs. The furs were all different shades, and I found it absolutely beautiful. I recognize that it would take quite a few rabbits pelts to make something of that size, but I am unsure as to how one would go about making it.

    What would you use to attach the pelts? Would regular thread work? Would one use thin pieces of "buckskin" (pelt cured with the fur removed)? Furthermore, would you need to attach some sort of backing? I have seen commercially-sold fur blankets that have a satin backing, but I don't think this would be necessary. After all, the fur is warm enough as it is. Also, how conceivable would a two-sided fur blanket be? Would I be shooting myself in the foot, if one of the pelts didn't tan correctly and I needed to get at it?

    Ideas and comments are not only welcome, but very needed! :haha:

    Thank you in advance,
    -Hannah, homeschooled high school junior and future homesteader
     
  2. Meg Z

    Meg Z winding down

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    I have used rabbit pelts to line quilted mittens. I used a fairly heavy thread to sew them, and did sew them by hand. With rabbit, I could have used the sewing machine, since it's fairly thin. I've also made baby booties from small skins such as squirrel, still using just heavy thread, but on those I ran it through a wax bar such as used for bowstrings. (My daughters' first shoes were squirrel skin moccasins.)

    As far as blankets go, I've seen them done with the pelts cut in strips, then re-sewn, to make it more uniform. Personally, I like the shade changes in blocks. I haven't made one yet....but I will!

    Meg
     

  3. jillianjiggs

    jillianjiggs Well-Known Member

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    You can make rabbit pelt strip blankets with the pelts. A lap size blanket nets about $3400 when sold. I'm not sure the exact process, but it's strips of the pelt sort of woven together to make a blanket. The museum I worked at teaches a class on it..you might be able to find some resources online on how to make that sort of blanket.
     
  4. Ed Norman

    Ed Norman Well-Known Member

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  5. moonwolf

    moonwolf Well-Known Member

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    Just to add my ex MIL was a fur seamstress. The demand for her services was inexhaustible and well paying job she did on the side for customers under the table as well as in a fur shop. Learn the skill of sewing furs to repair fur coats and other fur wear, or make pelt sewn products as suggested above and you'll probably be as busy making money for life as you want.
     
  6. CraftyDiva

    CraftyDiva Is anybody here?

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    I'd like to know what the longevity is on rabbit skins. Does it matter what season they are done in? I've seen rabbit jackets that shed like a nervous cat waiting to see the Vet.
     
  7. I have the book that Ed Norman mentioned. It is a good book. I refer to it quit frequently for different recipes.

    As far as what kind of thread to use. I use either artificial sinew or dental floss. They are both strong and use in leather needles.

    After tanning the hides you can cut them around and around in a circle making long strips. Then using a loom you can weave the strips into a blanket. Or you can cut the hides in blocks as someone mentioned and then sew all the blocks together. After the blanket is sewn together you can then sew on a backing of some type of clothe material.

    From my understanding it takes about 50-60 rabbit skins to make a good size blanket. I'm planning on making one out of squirrel hides. You can also make leggins and various other clothing.
     
  8. cowboy joe

    cowboy joe Hired Hand

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    Does the "Home manufacture of furs & skins" book offer any tanning recipes for small hides (or does someone know of an enviromentally friendly method)? I've used wood ash on deer hides (buckskin) with great results so I figure there must be a better way than the battery acid method for rabbit hides.
     
  9. thebeav

    thebeav Well-Known Member

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    Not to hijack the thread, but I too would love to hear any home tanning recipies.
     
  10. Little Quacker in OR

    Little Quacker in OR Well-Known Member

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    :) have you already posted this on the rabbit forum? This is an interesting topic on a dying skill. I'm going to hope that you keep us updated on how things go. ;)

    LQ
     
  11. CountryGoalie

    CountryGoalie Well-Known Member

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    Well, I saved the first pelt from a chestnut agouti French Lop / Satin cross doe that I butchered today. There are two others waiting to be butchered at this point in time, a chestnut agouti and a very pale chinchilla (gorgeous color), and I've got a litter of Harlequin/Satin crosses to butcher. I think I'm going to let them get a little bit older than I usually do, as their pelts would then be better. I also have a couple of young Satin litters on the ground, so once the weather warms up a little, I'm going to try tanning these first pelts with the "recipe" from http://www.islandgems.net/tanning.html, and see how thing go.

    Once I get enough hides done, I'll try for making a blanket. I'll keep everyone updated on how it goes. Wish me luck!

    --Hannah of SnugBun Rabbitry
     
  12. CountryGoalie

    CountryGoalie Well-Known Member

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  13. Meg Z

    Meg Z winding down

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    :haha: :haha: And my hubby thinks I'm nuts for looking at the rabbits and ooh-ing and aahhh-ing over their colors and textures in terms of pelts, not pets.....

    Glad to see I'm not alone!
    Meg
     
  14. CountryGoalie, I've thought about the square patterns also. Although I've never made blankets before I can still remember when growing up watching mom make blankets on a big loom set up in the living room. She would make square patterns and sew them together then place the front and back peices together on the loom and sew them all together. I've thought that would be interesting do with rabbit hides and also squirrel hides. I've imagined a squirrel blanket with fluffy squirrel tails around the edges.
     
  15. SkyOne

    SkyOne Active Member

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    Boy does fur blankets bring back some memories. My grandmother had one that we kids fought over until we discovered that if the dogs sleep on them with you then the blanket has fleas..hahaha. If you do create one keep the dogs off it. They are beautiful and warm but the fur is fair game to a flea... sky