I’ve been in Alaska for 11 years, but only this year bought a real winter parka. The office I work for moved to campus and I needed something warm for the long hike between the parking lot and my office. No more sprinting from my vehicle to the office door. After researching brands I decided Fjallraven had the warmest, sturdiest options so I bought their Polar Guide style parka. Unfortunately, Fjallraven parkas aren’t sold with real fur ruffs, so I set off to make my own.
After a bit of research I learned that badger would be the warmest fur for a ruff but badger was pricey for my budget. Coyote would be the next warmest option and within my price range, so I bought a coyote at one of the local fur traders. Fast forward a few days and I started piecing and sewing the ruff together.
Selecting the Skin
Coyotes are small animals. I found it difficult to find one that was wide enough to cover the full length of the hood. I also discovered there is a difference between coyotes harvested in the summer versus the winter. The winter coats are, of course, warmer and more full. Piecing the skin together was necessary so the ruff would both be long enough to fit the hood, and so that the fur would lay in the proper direction.
Sewing the Skin
Skin sewing requires loose stitches. Over time the skin dries out and becomes more brittle. If stitches are large and loose, there will be less stress put on the delicate skin over time, so it will wear better over time. After sewing the skin together, I basted wide black cotton tape to the back. I then sewed the tape to the hood of the parka. By doing this I as able to sew tighter stitches, ensuring the ruff was well-secured to the hood.