A Hairy Week

Some days I wonder what people are thinking when they see my business card that states “Bridal and Custom Clothing”. It seems as though folks have been thinking, “Well since she owns a sewing machine, she would love to tackle this problem.”

Project #1 – the dog bed

A client tells me this sad story about her ” doggie” who is very old and she has been washing her European dog mattress for years and it is falling apart and can I make a new cover for it. She says she has spent a fortune buying new dog beds for this creature and placing them on the special hammock but the dog refuses to sleep on them. She had a terry cloth cover made for the old mattress but what she really needs is a new mattress that can be washed and swapped as the dog will not sleep without it.

As a mother of 3, I wanted to tell her that kids and dogs are alike in the fact that as Dr. Phil says, they will eat when they are hungry enough and sleep when they are tired enough. We have all seen/been bombarded with cute emails with animals and kids sleeping in the weirdest places and positions to verify this fact. But to make this woman happy I bought a package of high loft polyester batting this week and folded 4 layers together along with a paw print cotton fabric and asked her to make sure it would be thick enough for the canine. She said it would be perfect and her doggie would love me forever…great. So here is the finished product.

Now I can’t wait for her to bring in the old mattress to cover…I hate dog hair never mind sewing through it. Which brings me to the second challenge…

Project #2 – restyling furs

This new client had an equally sad story. It seems that she had an elderly friend who died who was in her 80’s. This happened a while ago and the woman left my client 2 fur capes from the late 30’s and 40’s. You know the type with huge shoulder pads and slits in front from which satin-gloved arms protrude. Between the time this woman bequeath the furs and died until now they have had a little adventure. First my client had her house burn down and guess what the firemen were able to save…yes…you guessed it…the box containing the 2 furs. Then the client went to another seamstress in town and left them with her for months only to go and collect them when she got tired of waiting for any work to be done.Not all seamstresses are equal!

What my client wants is for me to close the slits in front and make them into vests to honor her friend. OK…so I open up the lining and discover these furs were processed by Hollander of New Jersey and they are the very popular at the time dyed muskrat. They look nice close up and the skins are not cracked and brittle so here is a preview of the outsides:

The brown fronts have been mitered at the lower corners and the back flares out like those of the period. There is plenty of fur to work with and to remove . Once the huge shoulders are reduced the body should lay flat and be a nice vest. I will use the old lining which has embroidered initials but strangely enough not from the dead woman…bizarre?

The other cape is much smaller and has no owners initials embroidered inside. It was purchased from the Royal Fur Company in Portland, Oregon.

This company which had been in business for over 100 years was recently forced out of business by demonstrations by PETA and other animal rights groups.

Once the linings were removed here is what was exposed:

You can see all the pelts sewn together with tiny zigzag seams done on a furrier sewing machine.

Stay tuned for the resulting vests…fingers crossed!

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2 Responses to A Hairy Week

  1. Pingback: Design and Re-design | fit for a queen

  2. Gabriela says:

    I can’t believe that lady wants to change those beautiful, elegant antique pieces into vests! Isn’t wearing them as-is also a way to honor her friend?!?

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