Regency Ball Ensemble Post #2: Fur Muff

My Regency Blog ensemble posts must seem very out of order or terribly teasing.  The reason is that I’m posting items according to the remaining 2013 Historical Sew Fortnightly challenges.  By a happy coincidence, this ensemble fulfills the criteria for the final four challenges of the year.
Here’s where the fur muff fits in.  What does a fur muff have to do with a Regency Ball ensemble, you might ask?  Well, I’ll tell you.  Although according to the calendar Winter doesn’t start until late December, practically speaking it starts late November where I live.  I knew there was going to be a little walking involved in getting me from the place where I dressed to the Ball itself and wanted a cohesive whole.  I’m sure you can now start to see where I’m going here.  Because I had lots of the main fabric for my dress left over (it was the original choice for my upcoming Garrison Ball gown so there was 9m of it at 54″ wide) I made a matching/co-ordinating hooded cloak and a fur muff lined with scraps from the dress fabric.
Here are the HSF deets:
Challenge: #24: Re-Do – Challenge #7: Accessorize

Year: Made to go with Regency attire but almost any, really

Pattern: None

Supplies: Silk fabric, wool batting, recycled (reclaimed?) fur from an old coat/jacket

Historical Accuracy: meh. It’s a combination of machine and hand sewing

Hours to complete: about 2-3 hrs

Total cost: all made from leftover bits, so I’m gonna say $0

First worn: November 30, 2013 to the local Regency Ball

Here is what I started out with:

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I was gifted this years ago and always meant to try and get a muff out of  the square-ish back piece.  I also made sure to cut it carefully so I that I preserved the collar to be able to put it on a coat or jacket someday.  I’m now looking forward to the day I have a matching fur collared coat and muff.  The above picture isn’t great, the colour is a much richer black and is glossier overall.

Now, I don’t want to get into too much of an essay on my feelings regarding fur.  I do know and understand this is a touchy subject for a lot of people, myself somewhat included.  I’m ok with using this fur because it’s a case of recycling/reclaiming.  It already exists, the damage (if that’s how you consider it) was already done and for this to just be pitched would be a waste.  I was pretty anti-non-vintage fur before I moved to Edmonton to do my MA.  But I hafta say that after spending several winters there (one of which literally began before October 10 with a huge dump of snow and didn’t start to let up until May) I’m a little less adamant about it.  If someone had given me a fur coat I would have worn it and been thankful for it.  When your average temperature is -30C for 2 months + you start to see things a little differently.  It’s kind of like my views on hunting – if you’re going to eat it that’s one thing; if it’s just for a trophy that’s very much another.

So, back to my muff.

To make it even warmer, since I meant for this to be a very practical and useful muff in general and not just for this event, I interlined it with 3 layers of wool batting I had left over from the 18th century quilted petticoat I made several years ago during said MA.

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This is wonderfully soft, warm and woolly batting.  I’ll try to get the name of the manufacturer and add it here later, in case anyone is interested.

Finally, I lined it with some of my dress fabric:

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And, voila!

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I should have taken a picture of how I seamed the fur, sorry about that!  Basically, I lapped one edge over the other and sewed them together with a spaced (and kinda messy) whip stitch.  The seam in the silk lining is machine sewn.  The silk is hand sewn into the muff with small whip stitches, also spaced.

I have to say this turned out to be good timing on this make.  I trained over to Quebec City today to visit my husband and had to wait longer than I expected for a taxi.  Two layers of grandma-made mittens weren’t cutting it (or the wind) so I dug out the muff and it was just right!  I’m already glad I decided last-minute to bring it with me!

Stay tuned for the next Regency Ball ensemble component: the turban!

5 thoughts on “Regency Ball Ensemble Post #2: Fur Muff

  1. You echoed my sentiments about using recycled fur. The muff looks great! Did you use a special kind of needle did you use to sew through the pelt/skin/whatever you call it? Also, what are the dimensions of this muff? I myself would like a supersized muff like I’ve seen in the fashion plates of the time, something along the lines of 20″ x 28″ or more. I’d really have to have confidence to use it, though, since it would be stare-provoking.

    • In retrospect I probably should have used a curved needle for sewing the muff, but forgot I had one on hand. I just used a normal hand-sewing needle, but one that’s on the stronger side. I’m not sure of the exact dimensions, but it is a little on the long and narrow side. I would have preferred a larger/wider one, but was restricted by the amount of fur available for it. I totally think you should do a supersized one, I’d love to have one of those myself!

  2. I’ve only just found your blog… But wait, is Rockin’ The Rococo also yours? Putting two and two together here. Anyway, I’ve just looked through your past posts and greatly enjoyed them. I’m going to have to add this blog to my RSS feeds so I can read about your tree gown and see pictures of your regency gown. I love how all of your garments are beautifully and painstakingly finished on the inside. Each garment is beautiful!

    Best,
    Quinn

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