Essential sewing keeping me clothed and sane

Fur Gilet (with pockets!)


For the next few posts we will actually be working backwards – providing  you with details and interesting(?) things about my Jungle January outfit. Fabrics are detailed on this post too.

Starting at the top – first up is the fur gilet / vest / waistcoat – whatever…….


For a quick make I was looking for a very simple pattern – no darts, no yoke, nothing complicated or time consuming. In fact any construction details would have been lost in the furry fabric so there was no point in doing them in the first place. A back cut on the fold, two fronts and a stand up collar – at least I knew what I wanted the finished item to look like. Did I have a pattern in my collection that I could manipulate? None of my Vogues suited the purpose but I remembered a child’s pattern that I’d bought last summer when sewing for my nephew – McCalls M6222. Don’t laugh! It had all the right parts but was a size XS/Sm. Oh here we go again – grading up!

M6222 I laid the original pattern piece on some tracing paper and traced off the curved hem and general shape. Took my approximate measurements between shoulders, bust, top of hips and length, and added 2″ as I wanted this gilet to wear over jumpers and needed a good bit of ease.

I cut out the new pattern pieces and pinned them onto Doris – just to make sure. I marked a lower armhole and a lower neckline.


I was really tempted to add darts but I manfully resisted. I did curve the pattern in a the waist though to avoid a very boxy shape.

I traced off a front facing to match my new front and left the collar until closer to sewing time. All the pieces were then cut.


Anyone who has ever sewn with faux fur will know all about this stage – the fibres get EVERYWHERE! At first I was careful and tried to keep it at least in the sewing room. It’s a losing battle – just make a mess and clean it up later….

I didn’t want patch pockets but you can’t have a gilet without pockets! So I searched the books for welt pockets with one flap. I don’t know the correct technical name for this type of pocket but I couldn’t find ‘how to’ in any of my books. Time to improvise…….

Here’s a tutorial on how I created the pockets with no name.

You will need: four pocket linings, approx 7″ by 5″ – cut in a rough pocket shape: two shell fabric rectangles – appox 6″ by 5″: two strips of interfacing: tailors chalk: pins.

Slide1 Slide2 Slide3 Slide4 Slide5 Slide6 Slide7Except I added a lining! I did this for two reasons – 1. to hide the pocket linings and 2. the wrong side of my fabric was not pretty.

The lining was cut using the same front and back pieces; the front minus the facing. I used the iguana poly print (skirt) lining for the gilet – it’s soft, it’s smooth, I had enough.

However, construction was all different. Shoulder seams were sewn and the lining placed right sides together with the gilet. Matching the shoulder seams I sewed around the armholes. This creates a very neat finish at the armholes but does create a small dilemma on how to turn the garment right sides out. I don’t have the words – so here is an image taken from a Vogue pattern that shows you how…


Essentially you push the lining (bring the thinner of the two fabrics) up through the shoulders and pull it out the other side – it’s amazing!

Then the furry facings were sewn to the front lining pieces. I marked on left and right where the hooks & eyes where going to go and as I sewed I skipped over these marks, leaving little gaps. I used fur hooks and the gilet closes with the edges together – no overlap. These hooks and eyes were then hand sewn into the gaps.


For the collar I just took two long enough rectangles to go round the neckline. the first one was sewn directly onto the gilet, the other to the facings. Flipped the whole thing inside out and sewed from the front facing sewing line up and round the top edge of the collar. Trimmed and turned right side out again.

Now, open out the whole garment and pin the sides seams in one go – lining and shell, matching the bottom of the armhole. Sew in one continuous seam from hem to hem. Do the usual and turn right sides out.

I slipped stitched the lining hem and top collar to finish.


It’s a bit of origami all that turning and flipping and opening out but you end up with a neat garment, both outside and inside. I can almost wear this gilet as a reversible except for the facings that join at the shoulder seams.

I know that’s a lot to take in, in one posting, but hopefully you can gain a little something from it. The pockets are great if you want pockets on a garment but don’t have enough fabric (or inclination) for patch ones. The flap covers all sorts of messiness below, so you don’t need to be as precise or accurate or neat as if you were making a pure welt pocket.

Next time the iguana skirt pattern…….based on V1247 – yes that one!


12 thoughts on “Fur Gilet (with pockets!)

  1. I am in awe of anyone making welt pockets in fur!!! I would call these single welt pockets. It looks really cosy and should be so useful all winter.

  2. Great directions. The amazing thing to me is that you did all this improvising (with photographs along the way) and still sewed all your January Jungle ensemble up so quickly!

  3. Yay for welt pockets in faux fur. I would never have thought of doing such a thing. Love the lining, btw!

  4. Thanks for sharing all the construction details Ruth. Very interesting and helpful info. Just amazing that you created welt pockets in fur and very successfully too. Wear with pride.

  5. Had to laugh at the fur flying section. One year I made Halloween costumes for all of my kids and it was the year they all had to be fur related. I swear for a year that nasty stuff was attached to my walls, ceiling and even inside some closets in the sewing room never mind the bobbin case…yuck! Great photos and tips on making those pockets such a cool feature! Stay warm and cozy!

  6. Pingback: Round -a-Cords | corecouture

Let's talk.....

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s