|Reproduction embroidered silk dupioni 18th (or 19th) century muff|
|Example silk taffeta muff by TheLadyDetalle|
Here is an extant example:
Silk muff cover 1785-1810, Museum of Fine Arts Boston.
And a link to my Pinterest board for Muffs of all types and period (up through Edwardian).
Muffs came in many different shapes & sizes, made of all different kinds of material, including fur, peacock feathers, goose feathers, wool, silk satin & silk taffeta, etc. The warm insides were comprised of wool, goose & duck down, feathers, and other material that would warm the hands (and was readily available during these eras). This particular muff is based on widely seen extant examples from the late 18th & early 19th centuries, comprised of silk taffeta, silk satin ribbon and 100% white goose down, for wonderful hand warming!
I first became enthralled by the idea of 100% white goose down,when I came across extant examples of muffs from museums, that contained down or a down feather blend. Then I found an extant example of late 19th century muff in an antique store: the black silk taffeta was shot, and peeping through was a lovely, luxurious white & grey goose down & feather blend! I was hooked from there!
Down is actually the soft cluster that comes from underneath a goose, and contains no hard quills like feathers do. I spent ages searching until I found a reputable down supplier, spent time vetting the company & talking to them to learn about down, and then off I went on my first down adventure!
|Luxurious 100% white goose down|
You'll need one piece of fashion fabric for the outside, muff cover, 16" X 20" ~ I suggest a high quality silk taffeta (if you have a thin silk taffeta, you may want to double the fabric together in two layers), but you can also use silk dupioni, silk satin, silk velvet, cotton velvet, wool, cotton, etc.
You'll also need about 1 1/2-2 yards of ribbon, anywhere from 1/2"-1 1/2" wide (I use 1" silk satin) for the two side ties, and if you want to trim the muff, you'll need additional ribbon (or self fabric) for that, approximately 3 yards of ribbon for pleated trim that goes around the muff cover 2 times.
You'll need two pieces of non-fashion fabric for the inside, muff pillow, 12" X 20" ~ I suggest a fine, very tight weave natural fabric with some satin/sheen, like a fine pima cotton or sateen. Note that down or feathers will push through the fabric if the weave is too loose, so getting a very tight weave fabric is very important.
1) With the muff cover fashion fabric, find the wrong side of the fabric and fold over the ends of the 2 short sides two times each, first 1/4" then 1/2" creating a finished hem. Iron, then sew hem in place (hand or machine).
3) Insert a 28-30" long ribbon tie into one of the hem channels, pulling through until it comes out both sides about 3-4". Repeat for the second side. Tip*: I like to add an extra inch or two to the ribbon ties, so that I can pull them through quickly and easily with a round-ball-end bodkin (or alternately, you can use a safety pin and work it through by hand), so that when the ribbon is through, you can simply snip off the end or any uneven bits to 'finish' the ribbon SIDE ties.
|Silk muff in progress - laying out the ribbon trim|
5) Match right sides together of short sides, and sew a seam, being sure to catch all trim ends and the like INSIDE your finished seam. I suggest a 3/8-1/2" seam. Iron seam open and turn muff cover inside out.
6) Creating the finished muff: Insert muff pillow insides, drawing up one side using the two ribbon ties, until a big enough opening for your hand to go in and out smoothly, then tie a bow with the ribbon ends. Repeat for the opposite side. Voila, a completed 18th century reproduction silk muff!
The finished muff should be approximately 8 1/2" X 13" for the muff cover (tube shape) and approximately 11" by 19" for the muff pillow insides.
HOW TO, MUFF INSIDES:
The muff insides are basically a pillow made of tight weave fabric, then filled with 100% white goose down, down alternative, cotton batting, wool, feathers, etc.
|Luxurious 100% white goose down pillow by TheLadyDetalle|
2) Place the two wrong sides facing together and pin all edges, leaving a 3-4 inch opening.
3) Sew a ½” seam allowance along the whole side
4) Clip corners to remove excess fabric, but leave seam intact – turn inside out and push corners out, creating a pillow to fill.
5) Fill pillow thru the 3-4” opening with white goose down, goose down/feather blend, polyester fill or bamboo/polyester blend until sufficiently filled, light to medium firmness not stuffed (remember the pillow will be folded up on itself, so will end up being plenty ‘full.’
6) Pin 3-4” opening closed, folding back finished edges to create a finished edge. Roll up pillow and test inside muff cover for thickness (do this BEFORE sewing together the opening, in case you need to add more stuffing or take some out).
7) Sew 3-4” opening closed. Optional – match 12” sides together, right sides together and sew ¼” or less seam allowance, to create a cylindrical pillow. Note: this is not necessary to complete the muff insides, but is optional. Insert muff insides into silk taffeta muff cover.
|Luxurious 100% white goose down muff insides!|
I also have a muff pattern instructions available (digital download or physical pattern) available in my Etsy store.
I hope you enjoyed this little blog 'tutorial' on how to make your own 18th (or 19th) century reproduction muffs!!
|TheLadyDetalle with late 18th century reproduction muff and hooded cape|