Mrs. Farber’s Fur Coat

February 4, 2012 at 8:08 pm (Sewing Projects)

About 8 or 9 years ago darling DannyO and I were at an auction in Ebensburg, Pennsylvania.  Mrs. Farber was our neighbor on Butler Street when we were first married and lived on Margaret Street in our very very very tiny apartment.  She had passed away and all of the contents of her home were being auctioned off.  I bought an old hamper and Danny bought a few miscellaneous things.  Late in the afternoon the auctioneer presented two fur coats.  I had never had a fur coat, never really thought about owning a fur coat, but this particular coat spoke to me (you know when things “speak” to me, I listen!!).  The bidding started at $5.00.  I had a limit of $20.00 – not sure why, but there was a lot more auction to happen and I didn’t want to dig into my little kitty of cash.  It went to $12.00 and then $15.00.  I won the coat for $15.00.

The very cool thing about the coat is Mrs. Farber’s initials, BFM were on an embroidered patch on the front inside flap.  There is also a patch on the center back inside that says, “Custom Furs Fashion Fur Johnstown.”  I would guesstimate that the fur is from the late 1950’s, early 1960’s.

The inside of the coat was beginning to deteriorate, the hem was completely gone, held up with paper clips and duct tape {{!!!}}.  “Why?” do you ask, “Does someone with a beautiful sewing machine have a coat held together with paperclips and duct tape?”  My simple answer is, I do not wear the coat except for in the very cold part of winter.  I forget I have it for the other 10 months of the year.  Every year I get it out and want to wear it I see the shattered lining and duct tape, but it is cold, January and I do not have lining fabric heavy enough for the coat and I want to wear it.

This year, because the winter has been so mild, I remembered the coat and didn’t need to wear it right away, so I bought some lining fabric, a heavier fabric to hold the weight of the fur.  The first step actually took the longest time.  I gingerly took apart the lining, being very careful around the shattered parts so I could use them as a pattern.

Inside of the coat without the lining

Inside of the coat without the lining

…with the lining and monogram all sewed in.

I used the same seam allowance of the original lining, sewing it together and then hand-sewing the lining to the coat, only pricking my fingers four or five times.  Yes, I used a thimble, but often pushed the needle through with the finger that DID NOT have the thimble!  I even put the monogram and the original back tag on to the coat.  I reinforced the buttons and re-attached the shoulder pads, which were in great shape!

Ta-Da!!  The coat is beautiful.  I do not know what kind of fur it is, but I love it.  I would never buy a new fur.  However, this fur was made 40-50 years ago….

I kind of hope it never gets cold enough for me to wear it this year, but we live in the Laurel Highlands of western PA… chances are I will need it!


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