Yankle Levy’s granddaughter does fur repair
My grandfather, Yankle was a furrier. He stitched pelts into yardage that other furriers turned into fur coats. My mother always wore a fur coat as a kid. One winter she begged her parents for a cloth coat. Her parents relented and my mother was cold.
When I was growing up there were two types of fur coats. There were utilitarian warm ones and there were glamorous ones that were worn for style. My mother had a muskrat or marmot coat that she wore the way most of us would wear a down coat today. it was a utilitarian fur.
In addition to the work-a day fur coat my mother also had a fur lined coat that she would wear to go to the symphony. I think she bought it in the late 1950’s. The coat had bracelet sleeves that were unlined. the coat and the platter collar were lined in nutria. I always loved that coat. My mother used to complain about the short unlined sleeves I thought it was just the greatest coat ever.
After my father died, and my mother moved into an apartment I inherited the coat. I’m quite a bit taller than my mother so the coat just hits my knees. I wear it to synagogue during most of the winter.
Last night I wore the coat to the theatre ( We saw the excellent The 27th Man). As I pulled on the coat I noticed that the fur had ripped at one of the armpits.
When I got out of the subway, the large corded button popped off and disappeared. Clearly the coat needed a bit of help.
An overcast stich did the trick.
For the button, I stitched a brooch to a strip of grosgrain and stitched the grosgrain to the wool fleece.
The brooch and the grosgrain can be slipped through the button hole securing the coat.
I’m not someone who dreamed of one day owning a fur. We used to shovel the snow in furs. After all, they were warm.
Because I so often am the keeper of the textiles, fur coats tend to come our way. The furs are old. Often they are older than I am. Tossing out the fur seems like a real desecration of the lives of the animals who make up the coats.
We most often wear the coats when we are sick. That stage of the flu or cold when your bones are cold, finds the members of our family on the couch huddled under a fur. It works.
I also took the opportunity to sew up the split seams on a fox fur that had come my way as well. The long hairs of the fox hides all less than beautiful stitching. I am grateful to my friend Jocelyn who had inherited a closet full of furs from relatives who moved to Florida for explaining how one sews up a fur.