How to Restyle Fur Coats

Fur coats have long been expensive luxury items that retain some value even when the coat itself is no longer in style. Often older fur coats, stoles, scarves, hats or other fur items are passed from one generation to the next and it is not uncommon to wonder what to do with them.

Sometimes older furs are patchy or no longer usable but often, portions of the fur are in good enough condition that they can be repurposed on a new garment. Newer furs or furs in good condition can be restyled into more modern coat styles.

Select a pattern for a coat or jacket that is smaller than the existing fur coat. The pattern you select should be similar enough in style to the original fur that restyling the fur is feasible.

Remove the lining of the old fur using a seam ripper. This should allow you to compare and fit your new pattern inside the old fur. Mark new darts and seams on the back side of the fur. By pre-fitting the pattern before cutting the fur, you can be sure to have enough fur for the new coat.

Baste your new seams by hand first as you reshape your coat. When possible do not reposition the sleeves. Once the new shape of the coat is fully basted, try it on for fit. Use a full-size mirror to examine the new shape from all sides.

Sew your new seams on your sewing machine once you are certain the fit works well. Sew a double seam where possible for additional strength. Try it on again. Use your fingers to lift the fur at the seams so that it is pulled through to the outside of the garment and not trapped in the seams. Once you like the fit, trim the seams to 1/2-inch by using the Xacto knife and cutting from the leather side of the fur (the inside).

Sew a lining for the coat using your pattern and attach the lining to the restyled fur coat. Hand sew the lining to the fur where necessary. Attach any new fastenings, belts or other elements and save your scraps for fur cuffs and other projects.