I saw this white coat at a thrift store and considered buying it to make pillows, but after wandering through the rest of the store, I forgot about it by the time I left.
It was still in the back of my mind that I might be able to make pillows from a jacket, so when I found myself in the neighborhood a few weeks later I was glad to see it was still on the rack and this time I did not hesitate to buy it.
I had made cushions from a used fur coat a couple of years ago. The coat was a family heirloom, but no-one in my family had any interest in wearing it as a coat – including me. I wanted it to be put to good use, and not end up in a landfill, and making 2 bolster cushions and a throw blanket used most of the coat.
It took some time to learn to work with the fur – primarily when to hand-sew and when to machine sew. Also, to work with the direction of the fur, and keep pushing it in the direction away from the stitching. The resulting pillow and blanket are below – perhaps covered in a future article.
Those lessons made this second fur coat transformation come together more easily. I spent around 3-4 hours, and I made 2 pillows from the sleeves and 3 from the main part of the jacket.
I had been thinking that the sleeves would make good bolster cushions; however, when I turned them inside-out, I discovered they were tapered at the cuff making it difficult to shape into a cylinder.
Cutting off the tapered cuff would leave a good shape for a rectangular pillow. It was in excellent condition both inside and out. The plan was to make the cushions with one side fur and the other side fabric. After inspecting the coat liner and finding it in good condition, I decided to use it for the back of the cushions.
After cutting the tapered cuff off of each sleeve, I removed the seam to create the front of a rectangular pillow, then I cut the lining of the sleeve to match for the back of the pillow. I repeated this on the other sleeve.
The front panels of the jacket would each make a rectangular pillow and the back would make a large pillow. In trying to maximize the use of the jacket and reduce waste, as well as to reduce the amount of sewing, I decided to leave as much of the lining attached to the fur as possible.
I used my vintage Singer sewing machine for most of the stitching, being careful to push the fur away from the seam to ensure that the fibers did not become caught in the stitching and for a more polished look.
I left an opening large enough to get my hand through for stuffing. For the first two pillows that were made from the sleeves I used stuffing from an old pillow I had laying around. They look fine but they were not very soft. I switched over to feather pillows for stuffing the other three and they are much softer.
After stuffing the pillows I hand-stitched the opening with a regular needle. One of the smaller pillows, made from the coat sleeve, is shown below.
The largest pillow was made from the back of the jacket, and is pictured below. In both cases, I paired the new fur pillow with one I made from an old sweater with ribbed design and featured buttons (possibly featured in a future article…).