Thursday 1 March 2012

The Narnia Muskrat Love fur coat Burda Dec 2011-116

For those of you planning Spring Break in Narnia, this is the coat that the Pevensie kids grab while passing through the magic closet.

It took only a day to cut out. I lengthened it four inches to come to the knee and cover my dress hems. The cut has a bit of twenties' vibe, being a straight silhouette but I cut it from a 38 neck and shoulder to a 44 hip, so blame me for the slight pear shape. It helps to cut the neck and shoulders to really fit so you don't end up looking like Mrs. Beaver.

(I always thought it funny that when little Lucy just grabbed a random coat, it turned out to be a mink sized for a six year old. Smart kid.)

 The fake fur I was using was so soft, I interlined it with pre-shrunk IKEA muslin before lining. (see photos of the layout a couple of posts down.) Now it doesn't just look like a coat, but insulates well.

This design is about as simple to sew as it gets. I would even put it into the hands of a beginner as the skills required are merely 
1. stitching straight seams, 
2. setting in a very forgiving furry sleeve, 
3. no notches to worry about on the collar (just stitch in a circle) and 
4. handstitching the sleeve hems and bottom hems,  (Burda was on about slipping the front pieces through the shoulder tunnel or something, just forget all that and construct it the usual way.)

One note to beginners: make sure you find and remove all the pins buried in the fur before wearing. These stockings got ripped to shreds by a forgotten pin a few seconds after the photo session!

Anyway, as you can see in this photo, this coat returns your efforts with big love—muskrat love in my case, as I couldn't find any of the lush beaver fur used by Burda. I had it ready in two easy afternoons, after weeks and weeks of putting off the project for FEAR of FUR. Just when the snow is melting. Serves me right.

Apart from the vacuuming up after cutting, working with fur is no big deal. In fact, mistakes just disappear inside all that fluff. That big warning about detaching the hairs from the seam after stitching might be an issue with a more cottony or stiffer long-hair fur, but this was so silky, a pin dragged along the seam just set things right.

But there were a few tricks I used to keep it from just flopping in all directions. I hand-understitched the inter-lining to the fur at the roll line between the facing part and the front, which are just folded over. (no seam). I also used a unusually hefty lining fabric in polyester damask.

I also bought proper fur hooks to add at the neckline of the collar join to the coat and a second set half-way up the collar so that it will sit high in cold weather, as well as a third set of hook/eyes at the waist. As you can see in Burda's photo, BurdaGirl pretending the coat fits her waist, their model doesn't really intend to ever close her coat. 

In the end this is less glamorous in the fur I found than hoped for, but more fun. To offset the Lucy-in-Narnia look, I wore it with heels and a silk blouse. A cloche hat would complete the look. 

I called it the Narnia Muskrat Love coat, but Uta misread it as the Nana Mouskouri Love coat. Well, why not. Certainly the Greeks need our love these days. Whatev!

I will make this coat again if the right fur crosses my forest path.

If you like the idea of a lot more fur for your money, you might use this as your inspiration photo. The November Burda offered a collarless fur coat that matches this design almost identically.

But first, you have to catch your bear...


  1. This coat is so yummy and cuddly. I love it.

  2. Very chic; it would be perfect with a cloche!

  3. Ooh Fantastic! I think it looks plenty glamorous.

  4. I love it, such gorgeous and unusual fabric too.