View Full Version : Making or buying faux miniver?

07-24-2010, 12:47 PM
Since my previous thread got no answer, not even to move it to this forum, I thought I'd ask again.
I'm doing a medieval costume, and to be extra-accurate, I planned on making a mantle lined in miniver fur (based from the period artwork, squirrel fur in mostly white with grey-blue cup-shaped striping from the edges of the pelts. Not the white ermine with black dots that everyone keeps calling miniver, and I'd prefer to not do the aesthetically plain "pure" miniver in solid white). Done with real fur, here- http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_4gMJoE4n0uY/SQ-FtlvuvMI/AAAAAAAABFY/zuZ9keJ5xrw/s1600-h/2453261840068722989gBfHQs_ph.jpg
Though for cost's sake, because there's a lot of fabric needed, it has to be faux fur.
I had no luck at ALL finding a site that sells it, fake or real, and I'm figuring my only other option is to dye the pattern in onto some white faux fur. So I have two questions;
1- Is there a site where I can buy it? I've checked every link on this website that sells fur and found nothing.
2- Can I get a pattern like that dyed into plain white fur using sharpie markers (and by hand, since spray-dye wouldn't get a solid enough colour)? I've browsed the "Working with fur" threads in General costume help and it seems that you can, though I've seen nothing involving hand sharpieing, or getting specific patterns in, not just dyeing the whole thing.

I'm starting next weekend, so I need responses quickly.

07-26-2010, 12:51 AM
I saw your other thread, but I hadn't thought of anything useful yet !

I think your best bet is going to be to sew it - piece two different colours together.

I think this will actually take less time than painting it - for that to look good, you'd need to paint down to the roots.

With pieces, you can be very systematic and cut out a whole bunch and sew into rows and then sew the rows together - it goes pretty fast, and I'm guessing faster than it would take to hand-paint it all.

If you do piece it together, you might consider bagging out the pelts very slightly for a more realistic look, you could stabilise the lines with twill-tape and it would be a bit like "gathering" - this would make even pure white look visually interesting. You could do this very quickly by pinning a horizontal row - pinning at each bottom corner of each "pelt" to a line of twill tape and holding it as you sewed it.

Also, I'm not sure if it's the same with faux-fur because of the woven backing, but real fur is whip-stitched or machine zig-zagged together (there are special machines for this, but can be done on a home machine), with edges butted up against each other, or against "filler" leather in lesser quality garments.

You can buy squirrel pelts, even the kind you need - but they'd be pretty expensive to line a cloak with. You'd be looking for "Russian Grey Squirrel". You might be able to find a faux version - but I don't know where you'd look. You could probably find faux sable pretty easily since it's still a very common and desirable fur.

They have squirrel pelts here : http://www.chichesterinc.com/Squirrels.htm , you might be able to negotiate a bulk purchase deal, but it would likely still be very expensive - the #2s are still $20/e - they might have something more suitable in their large catalogue, though - I've never bought from them before, so I'm not sure.

Glacier furs is having a sale on sable pelts : http://www.glacierwear.com/index.php/furs-pelts-leather/sable.html , but they're still expensive at $90 each.

07-26-2010, 10:55 PM
Thanks for the reply, Kelley. Xikyu's currently internet-deprived, so she's given me leave to convey her response by proxy:

"Interesting idea. I would have never thought of piecing individual white and grey pieces together. However, I've come to realise that due to the level of detail needed in other parts of the costume, I'm not going to have time for that. But the gathering idea sounds like a really good one to use on just white fur, so I'll probably give that a thought. Can it be done in long strips or rows of faux fur?"

Any questions, let me know and I'll phone them through to her. Thanks a lot.

07-29-2010, 02:27 PM
I've been trying to think of the most efficient way to imitate the look of pelts with single-colour fabric.

I've also looked into the use of squirrel fur more : http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/11/Canadian_squirrel_fur_coat.jpg

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bundesarchiv_Bild_102-12675,_Berlin,_Hochzeit_des_amerikanischen_Konsuls .jpg

I've noticed that many older, and some newer, squirrel garments, the pelts have a sort of arrow shape - that would be following the natural shape of the pelt. I would wonder if this was also the case farther back in history - it wouldn't take much time to cut the edge of each "row" into shape in imitation.

To easily gather them, you would mark an amount on the row (if the bottoms were shaped, between each "pelt") - and a slightly smaller set of marks on the twill tape - line up the marks to match and sew together.

You might also simply run a line of stitching vertically up each row of "pelts" to make a division in the faux fur.

These are all quicker ways I've tried to think of to imitate the look of individual pieces - I'm not sure how well they will each work - but the idea of cutting the top and bottom of each "row" into shape seems like it has potential especially to be quick and get good results.

07-29-2010, 10:34 PM
"Thanks a million for all the help. Unfortunately when I was getting my material they didn't have white fur and I also realised that faux fur would be so heavy I wouldn't be able to keep it on. So I've gotten chenille which looks furry enough for my use. However I'll certainly consider your advice next year when I have the time and resources to redo it as I'd originally intended."

Thanks for helping her out.