Real Fur Pillows.
Learn how to make your own real fur pillows for your home or as a gift! These instructions teach you how to make fur throw pillows affordably at home. The lush softness and timeless elegance of real rabbit fur pillows are a luxury. Yet quality natural fur decor can be hard to find. When you do find it, the price is shocking! Home Depot priced an 18 x 18 real fur pillow for $239. I know! I didn’t know they even sold fur pillows!
Skill level: difficult ~ not for your first crafting rodeo!
- Fur pelts (4 rabbit pelts for one 18 inch square pillow)
- Backing material (at least a 20 inch square)
- Straight pins
- Leather needle for sewing machine
- Utility knife with sharp blade
- Cuting mat
- Upholstery thread or heavy duty thread
- Pillow insert or filling 18 inch
- Sewing machine
- Leather sewing machine needle
- Ruler or larger straight edge
- Thimble (to protect fingers if needed)
- Tweezers, or something to pick fur out of seam
I used my Elna 6001 sewing machine with a leather needle to sew the real fur pillow. Most sewing machines can sew through a few rabbit pelts, using a leather needle. If you intend to sew a large quantity or a variety of pelts, it would be best done on a leather sewing machine.
Here you can learn how to make a real fur pillow at home, a 18 x 18 inch pillow with real rabbit fur pelts. Fur can be political, but I feel if the animal is eaten then all of the animal should be used, including the fur.
People hunt rabbit to eat and pet food companies use rabbits in pet food. Fur companies obtain these hides then they are tanned and sold. There are many choices for type, color, quality and quantity of pelts to buy.
My son Alex is moving into a new home and asked me to make to real rabbit fur throw pillows for his living room couch. He found the 8 pelts for this project at www.naturalexotics.com online for around $100. Look for a reputable site and research it before you buy. I can not support buying from a company selling endangered or illegal animal pelts.
Fur pelts are available from different kinds of animals, in many colors and with different levels of quality. Each real fur pillow in this design will use 4 pelts so there isn’t much room for error.
Alex and I had the real fur pillow design along with the fur but we needed a few more supplies. At Joann’s fabric, Alex chose a patterned brown leather-like fabric that is soft and supple for the backing.
Genuine soft leather or ultra suede could be used for the backing fabric but Alex liked the price and feel of this fabric. His pillow priorities are the softness and look. Think about your pillow priorities as you choose your materials.
1. Fur Pelts
Purchase 4 rabbit fur pelts for the throw pillow and lay them out flat. Each pelt is unique and may have defects, depending on what grade or quality is purchased. Locate any flaws or holes that need to be sewn closed.
Here is a picture of the flaws in the pelts I was working with for the real fur pillow. There can be holes or areas of shorter fur. Think of who the pillow is for. Alex likes a natural look to the fur so these variations were not an issue in his pillows. Flaws can be repaired or trimmed out to eliminate them. When buying the pelts, purchase a higher quality grade pelt if the flaws will be an issue in your project.
One pelt had a hole that needed repair. I stitched it closed but this can be tricky, usually the hole is small and the needle with thread are larger. The repair will be on the inside of the pillow so as long as the hole is closed, the fur side of the pelt will look fine. The hole was repaired prior to sewing it to the other pelts, but the picture was taken afterwards.
3. Design of Pillow
Lay the 4 pelts out in the design pattern you have chosen for your fur throw pillow. Pay attention to the color variations and fur direction of your pelts. Fur grows in the direction from head to tail. When deciding on the pattern realize in higher quality fur products, the fur all runs in the same direction. There are designs where the fur lays in many directions. This is usually when smaller pieces are sewn together to make one big piece.
In this design the fur will all run in the same direction providing a softer feel. Here is a picture showing fur in opposite directions. As the hand runs over this, half will be against the natural grain.
The type of rabbit pelt Alex chose, the fur was lighter on the underside. When the pelts are laid out in the design pattern, the lighter fur will run down the middle, forming a stripe.
Next turn the pelts fur side down, keeping them in the same order as the layout. Check twice to make sure the fur is all going in the same direction because the pelts are expensive and a mistake can be costly.
The edges of the pelts will be uneven and have a different thickness. It doesn’t have to be all the same thickness, but the needle has to make it through the pelt. If there is an area that a needle won’t go through, hammer it flatter. Rabbit tends to be a thinner pelt so if it needs to be thinner, put a cloth between the pelt and hammer for protection.
4. Trimming fur
With the fur side down, begin to trim the pelts in a specific order to keep them organized. I began by trimming the inside edge of both pair of pelts, the vertical seam running top to bottom.
Here is the pattern that I trimmed and sewed the pelts.
First trim the orange edges of A and B, then C and D, then sew A to B and C to D at the orange edges.
Next trim the yellow edge of the AB piece and the CD piece. Then sew the AB piece to the CD piece.
The blue arrows represent the direction of the fur.
Use a straight edged ruler and a utility knife to trim the pelts. Do not use scissors because they will shear through hair, creating uneven fur on the finished fur throw pillow.
Find the lowest point on the pelt and use that as the mark to set your straight edge.
The pelt is pliable and moves while cutting and sewing. Pelts can gather or bunch up and cause a rippled uneven cut. Here is a picture of how I held the pelt and straight edge. Put pressure down on the ruler while lightly and gently pulling the pelt away from ruler. I also started to cut in the middle and worked outwards. Work slow for best results. A nice even straight edge is important for a quality finished product.
The fur can be trimmed off the pelt at the seam so the fur lays smoothly. The designs and creative ideas are endless.
Look at the ruler and utility knife and not my hands, please. I hear my sister saying ” Oh my! Those are mom’s hands” so here is nod to mom!
5. Save the fur
As you trim the edges, save the scraps of fur. They can be used in other projects that I will show you. Stay tuned! I save mine in a cardboard box but they can be stored in a paper bag as well. Keep them in a well-ventilated area until you are ready to use them. Place moth balls or essential oils inside if insects or rodents are a problem.
Once the trimming begins ~ the fur will fly! Have the vacuum ready and don’t have a fan blowing. I vacuumed the table with the straight edge still on top of the cut edge. Just hold the vacuum above the fur, careful not to suck up the pelt. This helps keep the flying fur under control.
6. Sewing pillow
Pin the pieces for the real fur pillow together in the same order as shown in the diagram. Now begin to sew the trimmed pieces together with the upolstery thread.
There are two ways to do this. First, trim the inside edge then sew together. Second, trim all the pieces then sew together. I trimmed the inside edge then sewed it together. Then I trimmed the next edge and sewed it together. This way I made sure the fur stayed in the same layout that I had planned.
Sew the fur together following the same pattern as in the diagram.
The leather sewing needle should sew through the rabbit pelt with ease. If there is a thicker area, turn your needle down by hand to ensure your needle doesn’t break.
7. Picking seams
After all the seams are sewn, pick all the fur out of the seams. With twizzers or a chop stick, run the tool under the fur lifting it from the seam. Be carful not to cut the fur or pull it out of the pelt.
8. Trim the Outer Edge
Now that the 4 pelts are sewn into a square and the seams are hidden under the fur, trim the outer edges of the pelts. Trim the outer edge of the fur square the same way the indivdual pelts were trimmed. Find the lowest point to line up the straight edge and trim in a straight line. Use the same method as stated above. Make sure to use a straight razor or box cutter and not scissors. Using scissors cuts the fur along with the hide forming an unnatural finished edge. edge. Use your hand to gently pull and hold the pelt down as you cut so it doesn’t bunch up.
9. Cut the Backing
Lay the fabric for the backing on the cutting board then trim it to a 20 x 20 inch square using the ruler or straight edge.
10. Pin Together
Lay the fur pelts flat with the fur side facing up with the hide down. Now lay the backing fabric with the right side down, wrong side facing up. The two sides you want to see in the finished pillow should be facing towards the inside. Line up the edges and pin together.
11. Sewing together
After you pinned the fur pelt to the backing fabric, sew it together using the upholstery thread. Leave a small opening unsewn or open. This hole is where the pillow form will slide into the pillow.
12. Finishing the Pillow
Squeeze the pillow form or stuffing into the pillow through the hole left unsewn. Then pin the opening closed turning the edges of the fabric into the opening. Stitch the opening closed either with the machine or with a very sharp needle by hand. If you use a machine to close the opening, sew very slowly, close to the edge. If you stitch by hand, use a thimble to protect your finger tip as you push the needle through the pelt.
Use the tool again to pull the fur out of the seam all around the pillow. Pull the fur carefully out of the stitching. The fur should fall over the seam. Fluff the pillow form by pushing in on each side of the pillow. Smooth the fur with your hand.
Enjoy your luxurious real fur pillow!
Hi, I’m Jules!
My goal is to help others learn new things without getting frustrated. Join me in my DIY craft projects adventures with simple, complete instructions, and read more about me here.
I love to DIY, make things by hand and be creative. My goal is to help others learn new things without getting frustrated. Join me in my DIY adventures with simple, complete instructions, and read More about me here.