how to cut faux fur: 6 tips for success with scissors

The fabric used in this tutorial is from my Etsy shop, but these principles apply to almost any faux fur material.

Faux fur is great for adding texture and dimension to a variety of projects. But due to its 3-dimensional nature, cutting the fabric poses a unique set of challenges to crafters and sewists. Cutting long-pile fabrics like faux fur can take a bit of finesse, and there are a lot of techniques out there for getting the perfect cut with minimal shedding.

Razor blades are a popular choice for cutting faux fur, and they’re a good option when creating highly detailed work like miniature doll accessories or small jewelry items. But for clothing, décor, and craft projects, scissors have always been my go-to choice.

Fighting through faux fur backing with a razor sure feels rewarding, but it’s hard to beat the performance of everyday scissors or shears.
Here are my best tips for successfully using this technique.

1. start with the fur facing down

Always cut with the fur facing down. It’s easy to trace and pin pattern pieces onto the sturdy backing of a faux fur, and the shape of your cuts will be sharp and clear without the pile in the way. It’s the first step to minimizing fur loss.

Because strands of fur can move around freely, it’s extremely difficult to gauge the shape and direction of the cut if the fur is facing up. Fur is slippery too, making it extremely difficult to control the blades of the scissors. This can spell calamity for the unsuspecting sewist.

2. your scissors don’t need to be anything special

Although I wouldn’t recommend using garden pruners or your toddler’s safety scissors, any average set of household scissors will work well. The humble paper scissor, when used carefully, can get the job done just as well as a pair of sharp-tipped dressmaker’s shears. Most people keep around a pair of all-purpose scissors like the ones shown below. That’s what I’ll be using today. 

3. let the tip of the bottom blade lead the cut

When starting a cut, begin by sliding the tip of the bottom blade between the strands of fur. Keep it as close to the base of the strands as possible. Let the point of the blade lead throughout the entire cutting process, sliding through the base of the fur against the backing.

4. keep the bottom blade tilted up

As you make your way through each cut, keep the bottom blade of the scissors pointing upward. This will force the tip of the blade against the backing, allowing it to lead a precise cut.
It’s a little like parting hair with a comb. For an accurate part, the tooth of a comb has to slide along the scalp from one side to the other. The front of the blade acts like a comb, parting the fur so that only the backing is cut.

5. don’t let a small amount of fur loss worry you

It can be a bit dismaying to see strands of fur coming loose as you work, especially after carefully selecting a beautiful fabric for your project. 
A light amount of fur loss around a cut edge is totally normal; even razor cuts will cause a bit of lost fur due to the way that faux fur is constructed. A little bit of loose fiber is nothing to worry about, as long as you’re not seeing blunted edges or clumps of fur.

Despite this little hairball above coming loose at the edges, no fur is visibly missing from my fabric.

6. take it slow

It’s best to make some practice cuts before jumping into your work. If it’s your first time working with faux fur, or if you’re using a type of fur you’re unfamiliar with, this is especially important. I recommend cutting a small swatch off of your material for this. Try out both straight and curved cuts, slowing down and using shorter snips if needed.

Practicing with the fabric will allow you to adjust to how the fur reacts to your scissors. It’ll help you get a feel for maneuvering the blades and what speed you can cut with.

If several practice cuts don’t go well and you’re consistently seeing blunt edges and clumps of loose fur, It might be time to switch to a razor blade. Although scissors are practical for most fabrics, some ultra-dense furs with heavy undercoats will respond best to a razor. As always, do what works best for you!
It can take a bit of practice to get comfortable when working with long pile fabrics. With a few little tricks, you’ll feel like an expert in no time.

Come craft with me! Continue the pom-pom tutorial here.

What kind of crafts have you been making lately? Leave your comments and questions below!

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