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