Hello I’m new to this forum and to furs!

Discussion in 'PUBLIC Information Center - Welcome to the Forums' started by TreeNguyen, Dec 21, 2017.

  1. TreeNguyen

    TreeNguyen Registered Guest

    I’m thrilled to find this wealth of information! My name is Teresa and I collect vintage and antique clothing, and I am a historical costumer. I recently bought these furs (very cheap) at an estate sale and I am repairing them so they can hopefully be worn without further damage.

    During my research I read about muskrat and mink, but I am not experienced enough to tell the difference. I don’t care which fur they are, as I love them and think they’re gorgeous. I just want to learn. Can someone help?

    The first one had a ruined lining so I removed it. I believe it to be 40s-50s because of the balloon sleeves and puffed shoulders. I plan to repair the tears in the fur and replace the lining.

    The second one is in much better shape, the lining fully in tact, so it is probably more modern. I have already made the repairs to this one. It had seam separation at the shoulders and neck.

    Any help and advice is much appreciated!

    Thank you!

    Photos resized by Admin.




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    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 21, 2017
  2. Linn

    Linn Trade Member

    Welcome to the Forums!
    I'm sure Caryn, our fur expert will be along, but I think the first one is '30's - early '40s and is muskrat. The second one looks like mink and looks '50s to possibly early '60's to me. It's great that you have the skills to repair these yourself.
  3. amandainvermont

    amandainvermont Trade Member

    Did you happen to see our Fur resource ? https://vintagefashionguild.org/fur-resource/ That might help. I agree with Linn - I see early 40's with the first one and late 50s with the second one, but I am no expert. Caryn and others are!
  4. TreeNguyen

    TreeNguyen Registered Guest

    Yes, that was the first thing I read. I still do not have enough experience with fur to tell the difference between mink and muskrat... but if these coats can be positively IDed then I can compare them to other furs in the future, and hopefully become better at identifying fur with practice. I do have some other "mink" pieces in my collection that I will need to dig out of storage to compare!
  5. Furwise

    Furwise Administrator Staff Member

    Hi there, I apologize for my delayed reply.

    The first one is wild female mink and dates to the mid 40s, probably 44-46, could be a little later but not much. It's beautiful. Sorry about the damage.
    Out of curiosity is that hemline a line a little longer in the back than the front?

    The second is dyed muskrat that was intended to look like mink and it dates somewhere between the later 40s to early 50s.
  6. TreeNguyen

    TreeNguyen Registered Guest

    Thank you so much! I’m thrilled to know what I’m restoring. To answer your question, the hemline in back is two inches longer than the front.
    Furwise likes this.
  7. Furwise

    Furwise Administrator Staff Member

    Thank you for that information.

    Both the absence of the collar and the hemline being longer in the back were common for fur capes and cape style jackets like this in the 40s.

    The extra long length of the fur stole hanging over the front was also very common in the 40s to early 50s.
    TreeNguyen likes this.
  8. Vinclothes

    Vinclothes Alumni +

    I am curious about how, where you learned how to repair and restore fur garments. I sort of taught myself. This was before you-tube. I found one brief article in Terry McCormick's pioneering vintage newsletter. I remember asking in a local fabric store for glover's needles (hand sewing needles for leather and fur) and the manager looked for supplier named Glover. Some of the online information I now find is rather dubious.
    I still have some supplies that need a home.
  9. TreeNguyen

    TreeNguyen Registered Guest

    Hi Marian! To be honest these are the first fur coats with damage to the actual pelts that I have attempted to fix. I have much more experience restoring non fur clothing, and I have replaced linings on garments that are well over 100 years old. I bought these two damaged furs at a garage sale for $10 each thinking welp...if I screw it up I'm only out $20, haha! This is mainly how I learn. By doing.

    I read many many articles online and watched several video tutorials (many contradictory). Also I have taken the lining out of the 1940s mink pictured above and there are some previous repairs, (I think done professionally) with leather patches. The mink is actually in very good shape pelt-wise; it really just needs a new lining, and it has a few small seam separations at the hem.

    The muskrat had some sizable splits in the pelts. I read a few tutorials that suggested duct tape is a good substitute for leather patches. I can't say what works one way or the other, because this is my first try. For the muskrat I stitched the rips closed, and they seem to be holding. There was one place where I backed my stitched with a small strip of duct tape, even though inside I was thinking "what am I DOING fixing this beautiful antique with duct tape????" I'm wearing it out next week in Vegas, so I will report back on how my repairs hold up!

    If you have supplies that need a home I would be very interested!
  10. Vinclothes

    Vinclothes Alumni +

    Hi Tree,
    I found a source for professional fur repair supplies by blind phoning furriers whose advertisements or web pages mentioned that they did repairs. There is an adhesive back furriers repair fabric that can be used the way you did with duct tape. (I am so glad that you didn't call it "duck" tape.) I'm not sure what chemicals might be in duct tape. When I can get to my storage area to see what I have, I will contact you. You are brave. I found getting the linings back in harder than the actual fur repairs. Do you mind giving me your email through the VFG conversation system?
  11. TreeNguyen

    TreeNguyen Registered Guest

    So true about the linings! It took me MANY tries and fails to figure out how to properly line a garment. Now I know why so many of the older garments didn't have linings. They are a pain and take so much practice. And even then things tend to go wrong often haha!
  12. Furwise

    Furwise Administrator Staff Member

    Furriers generally repair separations by using furrier tape alone. It feels similar to grosgrain in my opinion but thinner with adhesive on one side. Down the road the adhesive wears off of that tape and the separations starts to come apart again.
    Some use the furrier tape and then sew a separation together on top and through the tape an effort to prevent that from happening again and then sometimes the skin where the separation is is weak and a strong backing like leather is placed there and then sewn together to make it stronger.
    TreeNguyen likes this.

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