How to Repair Vintage Fur Yourself

A mahogany mink stole. If there is some damage, don’t fret; you might be able to repair it yourself.

Vintage fur can be fragile. Air, light, heat, insects and accidents all contribute to causing damage to your precious garment. Generally, most people will take their fur to a professional to be repaired. However, in my experience, I have not always been pleased with the “professional” results, even after paying quite a lot of money for it as well.

Being the type of person who thinks “if you want something done right, do it yourself,” I searched the Internet for any information at all on repairing/sewing furs. I could find absolutely nothing on the subject and couldn’t even find a book on fur manufacturing. The best I could do was buy a package of leather needles at the sewing store, which I figured would be effective when sewing through a very thick fur. I examined many furs to try to understand the construction, as well as studied the way they were stitched, from the seams, to attaching the collars, to the way the linings were hand-sewn into the garment. I also scrutinized the actual repairs that were done on my minks, noting how they were done and taking special notice of the things I thought could have been done more neatly. I really believed that I could do it better than a professional furrier, so I took a deep breath and plunged into the world of fur repair.

To attach sable pelts to a coat, I threaded a huge leather needle with quadruple thread and, my fingers aching, I kept sewing until the job was done.

What I Did

My first project was to re-do a repair that was done by my furrier. He was supposed to have re-attached the dangling fur pelts that were hanging from the ends of a Sable stole. He had sewn them on so loosely and unevenly that I was very displeased. I nervously cut out his stitches, leaving me with four Sable pelts on the table, completely separated from the main body of the stole. I threaded the huge leather needle with quadruple thread, since I had seen that the thread the furrier used was a thick cord type, rather than the usual sewing thread. I began sewing the first pelt to the end of the stole, blowing on the fur to get it out of the way of the thread as I pulled it tight.

I seemed to have some kind of instinct as to what to do to make the stitches invisible. It was very difficult, as the pelts were doubled and had some kind of batting inside them. The needle had to pass through four thicknesses of fur and batting in order to be attached. My fingers aching, I kept sewing until the job was done and was rewarded with a perfectly sewn stole with pelts so tight that no amount of pulling would loosen them. I was tempted to show the furrier but thought better of it, as I didn’t want to insult him or seem arrogant. However, I was extremely proud of my accomplishment, which gave me courage to attack other repairs on my furs.

I was rewarded with a perfectly sewn stole with pelts so tight that no amount of pulling would loosen them.

What You Can Do

When sewing a fur, here is how to proceed: Use a special leather needle, available at any sewing store. You will need a needle-nose pliers, thimble, thread and scissors. To attach one piece of fur to another, pin it in place to hold it while you sew. Insert needle and thread, pushing the needle through the pelts with the thimble. When you have enough of the needle to grab on the other side, take the pliers and pull it though. Before you completely pull the thread tight, blow and brush the fur out of the way of the thread so it does not get caught. If it does, use the needle to pick it out of the stitch, flicking the fur back and forth with the needle. Brushing the fur with the fingers will smooth it over and hide the stitches. Continue until you are finished and tie off the thread, again pushing on the fur and blowing it out of the way. You want the stitches to be buried deep in the fur so you will never see them. Cut the thread, leaving it long so you can separate the strands and tie them several times, then carefully cut it deep within the fur, but be careful not to cut the fur. Better to leave the thread a little too long than to cut the guard hairs because they won’t grow back!

If you need to sew a seam or tear, use a thin needle, as the torn skin is delicate and a thick needle will damage it further. Using a double thread, gently put the needle into the skin, but not too close to the edge or it will likely tear out and you will not be able to repair it at all. When you pull the thread, do so gently and very slowly to see if it’s holding. If the repair is in a spot that will have a great deal of stress, you can sew it lightly, then glue a leather patch on the reverse side of the pelt (which will require you to open the lining). Then you must re-sew the lining, copying the original method you will see when you examine the lining edges. The stitches of the lining are taken from inside the lining and attached to the fabric strip which you will see is sewn to the edge of the pelt. The lining is not sewn to the skin itself, but to the fabric strip. Make the stitches as tiny as you can and you should have an invisible repair.

If you are repairing Broadtail lamb, you should open the lining and sew it in from the back to hide the seams, and then close the lining back up.

Easy Fixes

Another type of damage you can easily repair is the wear on the edges of a Persian lamb. Very often there is fur worn off, resulting in the ivory-colored skin showing through. Simply get a bottle of leather/shoe dye in the correct color at your local shoe repair shop or shoe polish section of the supermarket. If there is no dauber in the bottle, use a cotton swab to dab the color on the ivory skin. Use it sparingly and let it dry completely before wearing. You will be surprised and pleased at how the damage blends in and it makes the piece completely wearable.

Persian lamb very often has little splits where the curls peel back from the skin. You can correct this by using glue. This is the only time I will recommend gluing a fur, since in most cases, it will show and you will permanently damage the hair if the glue gets on the fur. To repair the loose Persian lamb curls, use tweezers to hold back the curl from the skin. Take a dot of white glue on a toothpick and put a tiny amount on the skin. With the tweezers, gently press the curl back onto the skin. Voila! You have done another invisible fix. Persian lamb is one of the easiest furs to patch as well. If you find yourself with an actual hole in the fur, you can cut a piece from an old damaged garment made of Persian Lamb. These are easy to find on online auction sites and are usually titled “craft cutters”. Cut a piece a little larger than the hole, place it in the opening and sew it to the perimeter of the hole. The curls will hide the stitches. If you are repairing the flatter type of Broadtail lamb, you should open the lining and sew it in from the back to hide the seams, and then close the lining back up. Persian lamb is the most forgiving fur when it comes to repairs!

Yet another type of damage is something being stuck in the fur, like a spill or something sticky. Using a pet brush will usually correct this. Very gently brush the substance from the stuck-together fur and you will have a uniform nap once more.

This fur had a monogram that had been horribly chopped out of the lining, leaving a huge, gaping hole. I used black satin blanket binding from the sewing store to make a patch and put my own monogram on it.

Use Your Imagination

There are other types of damage I have fixed simply by using my imagination, like opening a lining, rolling the damaged edge of a mink stole inward and re-sewing the lining to the shortened fur edge. It totally hid the damage and no one would ever notice anything had been done. Another time, I had a fur from which the monogram had been horribly chopped out of the lining, leaving a huge, gaping hole. I used black satin blanket binding from the sewing store to make a patch (the edges were already finished on two sides), or you could cut a piece of pretty fabric to cover the hole. Machine hem the edges into a neat square or rectangle. You can decorate the edges by sewing on a fancy trim or brocade ribbon, as I did. You can then use iron-on initials to make your own monogram, then you can either hand or machine-sew the “patch” into the lining. Again, nobody would ever know there was a hole there before you did your magic! Make the patch as pretty as you can, embellishing with trims and pearls and it will become a really special part of the garment, one which you will actually want to show off rather than hide. If you are really into details, stencil your initials onto the patch, and then sew tiny pearls to the outline to actually make a pearl monogram! Talk about unique!

When you have a special fur that you love, find ways to make it wearable by repairing it yourself. You will have the satisfaction of saving money, acquiring a new skill, using your imagination and saving your prized fur in the process.

Sharon Maxwell-Yamamoto is a Worthologist who specializes in vintage clothing and accessories.

WorthPoint: Get the Most from Your Antiques and Collectibles

  • Alba

    Thanks guys.

    I was worried about the vacuum, which was why I waited to get home to use the Miele. It can be so gentle for dusting and such. I definitely had no problem, but I wouldn’t have used any other vacuum I’d owned :p

    For me the whole point is that I did not intend to pay for a furrier to do anything for this coat. It was worth experimenting, to me. My good mink will always go to the furrier, but this was different and money tight.

    There is a site, Vintage Sewing, which I like, and I remembered to look there about furs. They have laundering methods, and a lot on fur:

    The gasoline thing is frightening, but I am reassured about the powdering. Next time I might try the bran method!

    Anyway, I finally checked on the coat today, and it turned out wonderfully (the skins.) I still plan to do a better job of it, but the conditioning made such a difference already.

    • Peter White

      I found the missing Vintage sewing info link on furs, fine leather and feather cleaning too from the 1930’s, great stuff and thanks for all the info from this site.

      1931 – Laundering and Dry Cleaning
      Woman’s Institute of Domestic Arts & Sciences, by Mary Brooks Picken
      Cleaning Special Articles

      85. Although silk and wool materials may be thoroughly washed by putting them through several cleaning baths and rubbing the spots as the work is proceeded with, it will be found that some very delicate fabrics might be injured by such handling. Again, it would not be practical to immerse some articles, such as furs, heavy coats, or mattresses, in a cleaning fluid, Such things may be surface cleaned very satisfactorily.

      86. Cleaning White Plush and Fur.—A thin paste of gasoline and common wheat flour can be used for washing white beaver, white plush, and white fur. To make the paste, pour a pint of gasoline into a clean china bowl and put into it 2 tablespoonfuls of white flour. Stir the mixture until a thin, even paste is formed and then wash in it the materials that are to be cleaned. An oblong, shallow pan, such as a roasting or baking pan, makes the best container.

      When the washing is finished, dry the materials thoroughly, first squeezing out as much as possible of the gasoline. Then brush the white fur or white plush with a stiff-bristle brush. However, if the fur is of the long-hair variety, it should be combed.

      87. Cleaning Colored Furs With Bran.—Fur of any color may be cleaned with dry bran. Purchase a pound of clean bran at any feed store. Put it in a dry pan and set it inside the oven until it becomes heated to such a temperature that the hand cannot be held in it with comfort, as this insures its being thoroughly dry. Stretch the fur on an ironing board and hold it in place by pins set fairly close together, so that it is firmly fastened to the board. Brush the fur with a stiff-bristle brush, rub in thoroughly the heated bran, and brush again to remove the surplus bran. Then unpin the fur and shake it well to remove all evidences of the bran.

      This method not only cleans the fur but makes it glossy. It can be applied to plush also, but plush requires an additional steaming process before the nap is sufficiently freshened.

      88. Cleaning Furs With Corn-Meal.—Furs may be cleaned with corn-meal in the same way as with bran. Use white corn-meal for white or light furs; for darker furs, yellow is satisfactory. Heat the meal so that it is thoroughly dried and cover the fur with it. Let it stand 10 or 15 minutes and then take it out by brushing and shaking the fur thoroughly. Then put the fur out in the air.

      89. Cleaning Furs With Fullers’ Earth.—Fullers’ earth is often used for cleaning furs, especially when they are very soiled. Use the fullers’ earth as any of the other absorbents.

      90. Cleaning Furs With Cleaning Oils.—If absorbents are not effective, furs may first be put through the cleaning baths and then, after drying, treated with corn-meal. It must be remembered that furs put in cleansers must be subjected to heat after evaporation for a greater length of time than fabrics in order to deodorize them thoroughly.

      91. Cleaning Furs With Commercial Preparations.—Besides the simple, home methods that have been described, there are commercial preparations that may be bought from any drug store and used successfully according to the directions that accompany them.

      It then goes on to Gloves and feathers etc.

  • Diane Lockhart

    i found somw interesting ideas on your site- this weekend i found an adorable vintage short “swing” mink coat at a flea market.
    The body of the coat is beautiful however the arms and collar are badly ripped.
    It looks to me like the coat was not stored correctly and creased. I ave done alot of searching and cannot seem to find the best way to attemp to repair it.
    The woman that i bough tit from told me to sew it however i think it will tear the hide more. My mother suggested i use some type of glue.i am thinking this would be a better solution.
    Do you have any ideas?
    Thank you!

    • bernd

      Hi Diane,

      I thought to perhaps if the skin is very brittle and one cannot sew, to use a cotton band or similar and glue it on to the skin.

      But I am at a loss of which glue one could take. Also glue tends to become harder with time.

      I just send this idea to you re : a band or tape of cotton.

      If you have received any worthwile answers ( not like mine….) could you please send them to me ?

      I have a chinchilla bolero I have bought. It is vintage from the 60 ies.
      Although in good condition, the woman who tried it on before I could have a look at it was hasty and ripped a 5 inch tear into the fur…

      But I bought it anyway to eventually surprise my wife, as she has always liked to have tp have one.

      So here I am with a wonderful chinchilla bolero, and a rip in it.

      The fur stores I showed it to will not bother but want to sell me a new one …

      I do have champagne taste but beer money I must admit.

      Could you help me perhaps ?

      I am in Brussels, Belgium

      Thank you so very much in advance for anything you could come across


    • Thu

      How badly is the collar torn? I found a steal of a rabbit fur jacket at the thrift store. I bought it for a couple dollars and proceeded to flip the coat inside out (someone had used the sleeves for a craft project so they it was poorly cut open). I was somewhat lucky in this respect since I didnt have to seam rip the jacket open. Typically, you will see the seam on the inside of one of the sleeves. I used a sort of muslin type material (fur coats I’ve opened up before have used this material to secure repairs). I happen to have muslin like lace that I just used instead because I didn’t want to spend money going out to the store. I then proceeded to sew the hole on the back of the jacket closed by using the additional muslin for backing to support the delicate fur. I found this to be a great solution. Just make sure you use a sharp leather needle to do the work by hand. Let me know if this helps. Fur is very delicate after it has been poorly stored. There is no guarantee that you can fix the collar. I was thinking you could buy an old leather skirt and sew a leather collar? 🙂 That’s another idea as well!

  • fatma ismail

    I ironed my Estrakhan coat from the linning side, it shrunk in the ironed area
    Is there any suggestions?Can the nature of the fur return back to its original state?

  • These are some great tips!I loved the patch repair – very creative. I do have one concern though..It can be very difficult maintain fur coats so I would recommend not taking even a pet brush to them. It can easily create even more of a problem than what you already have and thus forcing you to either toss it or bring it to a furrier for repair or fur remodeling. In all though, great post. Impressive job outdoing your furrier! 🙂

  • Liz

    I have a Cigarette burn mark,what can I do to repair it
    Thank you

  • how you c an pressed fur….?

  • I got a mink from a friend and well it is dried out and needs to be repaired! it’s split all over and I love the coat and it has value only because of family,
    is there a stick or glue or something I can use to bring it togethera? the liner is fine just the fur!

  • Georgi

    The best way I have found to repair a vintage fur thats not worth spending money at the furrier is to cut a patch of fabric – best from a cotton shirt, place it under the rip in between the lining and the pelts – then with a hot glue gun glue one side of the rip to it, let it dry, then glue the other side to it, you would never know and its still flexible!

    : )

    • tatiana

      the WORST THING you can do yo a fur is use GLUE to repair itt… hoever says it is clueless about repairing furs. glue will dry out and crack and there goes your fur. people dont give advice if you dont have a clue..

      • Sharon Maxwell-Yamamoto

        I must agree…as I said in the article, the ONLY time I use glue is a TINY dot of it on a toothpick to fasten a Persian lamb curl back into place.

        I appreciate your knowledge, but please don’t be nasty to people who post here. Thank you.


  • anj

    I tried to repair my just purchased vintage fur, apologies but unsure what the fur is possibly able, it is made from lets running down in lines and had a 3 inch split at the back close to the shoulder, I opened the lining and using an iron on invisible mending patch from behind tried to repair. What an idiot I was, I now have glue on the coat, a 2nd split and still the original split although it is larger, I will sew the splits now having read the advice given, but does anyone have any idea how I can remove a patch of glue about 2 ins square please as if I cant sort this out I might as well throw the coat, which was lovely. Anj

    • Dears,
      I am no furrier but a dressmaker/designer form Steamboat Springs Colorado.

      I was asked to remodel my first fur about 10 years ago. I spent a month gathering all the information I could find (one of my best resources was an OLD book about furriering that I got through a library lone from a college in Ft Collins) and study the how tos of working with fur.

      My greatest screw up was to touch the hide side of a fur with my iron with the steam on. I immediately shrank an iron sized portion. Thank goodness My project was to make a vest from a coat, so I had spare fur to use. A man in St Louis MO at a fur storage place did tell me that he can repair this kind of damage.

      A few tips from my decade of self taught fur repair and remodeling

      * Check the pelt. If it is hard, papery, stiff or papery your work will be in vain as the stretchy give of a well maintained pelt is needed to hold up to the movement of the fur fabric in response to putting it on and taking it off, the general movement of the body in wearing, reaching, arm movement etc.

      * I did find a post on reconditioning the leather of the fur using 2 parts olive oil and 1 part white vinegar sponged on and left for a week or so to soak in. Do nt take the oil too near the edges of the leather as it will naturally spread there (like a drop of water on a paper towel) and you want to avoid oiling the hair. I made a batch of this and was successful in returning “give” to the pelt though I do have some oil residue remaining which I need to figure out how to get rid of as it will stain the lining with oil otherwise.

      * You can use iron on interfacing to support the leather ( I first saw this in an inexpensive coat that I repaired and since quite often in furs of many qualities which are new enough for fusibles to be available) ALWAYS use a dry iron, test on an inconspicuous spot and use a low a setting as possible to melt the “glue”

      * As most of us do not have a furrier-ing serger I have been using my sewing machine and have done excellently with it.

      – Work from the hide side of your fur to do repairs.
      – CAREFULLY trim the hair from the edges of the tear you are needing to repair (1/8″ – 1/4″ of clipped hair works well)
      – Match the torn edges (trim the edges as needed if they are raggedy) and carefully stitch the edges together with a narrow seam 18″-3/16″ wide.
      I do not backstitch at the ends of my stitching, but tie the thread ends.
      I use a stitch approximately 9 stitches per inch.
      Carefully pick any hairs caught in your stitching out of the seam from the fur side. I usually use a tapestry (blunt point) or a pencil sharpened chop stick as my fur picker.

      It is possible to pepair holes (the mouse or dog ate at your fur) but it is more complex than just repairing a tear.

      Blessings, Gale

      • samantha anastasiou

        Hi Gale,
        Thank you for so much information! I am wondering about the reconditioning, the olive oil and white vinegar… I am wondering why not a leather conditioner such as Bick or a good one like it? How did your fur turn out with the olive oil and vinegar? I noticed that you posted this almost a year ago. Many thanks!

      • Oh, also how do you repair holes, and bald or patchy areas? I have one that is very visible due to my furs being stored improperly for too long, much longer than I anticipated, they came out wrinkled, starting to feel stiff and one mink having the patchy area.. =(

    • anj

      Also about the glue. It if is glue from a fusible fabric (a iron patch or hem tape try ironing it with a dry iron with a piece of paper between the iron and the hide. It is like ly the glue when it remelts will stick to the paper (this glue tends to migrate toward the heat source)

      If the glue is glue gun or some other thing I am not sure what to try.

      Blessings, Gale

  • Sioban

    Per a furrier if you are not going to wear the coat a lot or are making something like a blanket out of an old coat you can use duct tape on the tear. She said to pull the rip together, tape from the back and then hold the hair dryer on it. Please be aware that once you do this the duct tape will not come off without ripping the skin.

  • Cheryl

    I purchased a vintage fur that has no visable flaws except that it is kind of stiff. I was wondering if I could open the lining and use some kind of leather oil, mink oil, lexol, etc. on the hide side to soften it. Any other “do it yourself” suggestions so that I don’t have to pay a furrier?

  • Y’all can send me your fur fiascoes!! Even if you think they are too small or awkwardly shaped.

    If you can’t pay for shipping, I may be able to, it just depends.



  • Natassia

    I have this old fur coat and it has an approx 5 inch long rip on the arm sleeve.
    i’m not sure what type of fur it is.. it’s a bit course, it’s dark brown with lines on it..
    mink? but.. i dont know how to repair it.. should i add fur, or should i try and sew it back together. the rip is right on line.. i’m sorry i don’t really know fur lingo
    i need help 🙁 i really want to repair it and wear it this winter.

    • Hi Natassia,
      From your description, and what I know is commonly available out there, I would bet this is muskrat. Dyed with stripes to make it look more like mink, muskrat is a very versatile and relatively inexpensive fur that was popular (dyed like thta) in the 1930’s and ’40’s. If there is a tear that large, it really depends on the condition of the skin itself, not the fur, as to whether it can be sewn back up. Open the lining and see how stiff the skin feels. Use my directions from the article to sew it and possibly reinforce it with a leather patch from behind, after you finish sewing it. And wear it with extreme care, meaning, take it off before getting into a car, and just be very aware of the way you’re stressing it. No shoulder bags, nothing that will grab the fur in any way.

      Good luck!

    • It sounds like Marmot. =)

      • Marmot looks more like squirrel, while the fur she described had stripes of some sort. Marmot is also soft, not coarse like Muskrat..


  • Carrie

    Thank you for your site!!! I have a couple old coats that I haven’t been able to part yet but they’re really aren’t wearable either with the rips and tears in the pelts.

    I’m going to try the duct tape mentioned above in one of the comments on the sleeve of my Persian lamb. I’m guessing the pelts have dried out and at the point of the shoulder both sleeves have tears right where the pointy end of the hanger would be. (they must not of seen the movie ‘Mommy Dearest’ or else they’d of known better! “No wire hangers ever!!!” ha)

    The tears are really jagged leaving very thin, frayed edges that would tear again if I tried sewing them directly. But I’m thinking that if I used small pieces of duct tape on the underside and stitched them together it might work plus it’d help prevent more tears.

  • Warna

    I have fur jacket acquired from a reputable furrier about 1980. The large collar is curly lamb. Due to the way the jacket was stored, the collar has developed what can best be described as “bed hair.” The curls near the outer edge of the collar lie awkwardly because of pressure over time. I’ve tried combing lightly with a hair pick, which helps, but the problem lingers. Can this be fixed?

  • Barbara Bishop

    I have bought a fox fur stole but the head has bent and is too stiff to reposition. Does anyone have any ideas on how to soften the head to position it correctly so it lies flat?

  • Amanda

    Hi I was wondering if anybody knows how it fix a fur coat that has gone stiff, it is very old.

  • I have several ventage furs. I would like to glaze and restore the leather myself. Any ideas?

  • meme

    I have gain some waight and I can’t button my shierling jacket. It was to hot for our winter
    Thanks anyway.
    Haw can I trim the fur and make it shorter?

  • Lita

    I recently obtained a vintage sheared mink stole that has an odor. Not worth it to me to pay for professional cleaning. Does anyone have any tips on getting odor out of fur AND lining. Thinking about using Febreeze extra strength, but not sure.


    • Michele

      As per musty odor, I got a fox coat in perfect shape but it had been stored for years. I took my favorite dryer sheets with a nice light scent and put it in the dryer on delicate for 7 minutes. It came out odor free and I hung it in an open area inside my house. Worked great. The skins were not dried out at all from the start.

  • MARK B.

    Hello ppl, I came across several chinchilla pelts that I’d like to color to match a vest. Does anyone know of a process to dye the skins?

  • BJ

    For all you guys and gals that want to fix up your furs. I’ve got a great website you can go to.
    She has product for glazing your fur, and now she has a product that is for
    fixing the dried out skin of your fur. But that means you have to remove your lining and use the product right on the skins. I’m a guy that likes his fur coat in the middle of winter. They keep me very warm. I buy pre-owned furs. Mostly Bomber style in Long hair Beaver.
    I actually take them to a local furrier here in town, and he replaces the lining and the zipper.
    What most people don’t think about, is how heavy their lining is. If its too thin, more of the weight of the coat will be on the seams. but if you get a heavier lining, it will take more of the weight off the coat and the lining will carry more of the stress. Plus it will also add to the
    warmth of the coat. I hope you all find this information helpful!
    best regards, BJ.

  • Renee Ray

    This is such a helpful post. Thank you!!!

  • Molly

    You can too use glue, just use something flexible which means with silicones in, and do it from the back. Try any silicone glue, and let it dry thoroughly. Shattered furs can sometimes be fixed this way, by gluing to a backing. You can even glue each side of a tear to a separate fabric backing and then after it dries stitch it together as usual. Don’t go overboard on the glue, use as little as possible to get the job done. It’s difficult to get through the glue, use a fine needle and a thimble. Success depends on how far gone the skin really is.

    I hand repair all my furs when it comes to re-stitching linings or split seams. A fine #10 or #11 beading needle and either Nymo or Silamide beading thread works well – these are durable yet thin threads.

    Furriers tumble furs in a huge drum to clean. The furs are placed in a bag with either sawdust or ground corncobs that has been mixed with solvent, then they are tumbled. The sawdust gets into the fur, the solvent removed dirt. Coarse cornmeal also works well. Not all furriers use a bag, but I would, cuts down on wear and tear on the furs.

    Furriers also use a mixture of stuff including silicones to glaze furs. On something you don’t mind experimenting on, you could try spray silicone. You can also try it for softening a stiff skin instead of oil. I haven’t tried either of these yet, just read about them.
    Best Wishes,
    ~ Molly

  • what do i use to condition the hyde?

  • Alex


    My mother’s mink, rarely worn now, but with no repairs required and still very warming, has been well treated but has not been properly stored for some time. As a result, whereas before it used to be extremely light and had a wonderfully slinky sheen, it now looks rather dull and feels very, very heavy (building up of humidity etc?). Would sending to to a furrier restore it to something like its former condition? If so, could you recommend any in the UK?

    Many thanks, in advance, for any advice you can give.


  • Molly

    If you google lanasfur dot com you will find all sorts of do it yourself stuff, from fur cleaning and glazing to restoring dried pelts to odor removers. I have not tried any of these yet, but they look good.

    It may have been mentioned already, but furs like to be kept cool and a bit humid to prevent dryness. Fur vaults are generally set at between 40 – 50 degrees with humidity at 45 – 55%. At home, use the coolest room or closet in your house.
    ~ Molly

    • Yes, I have seen Lana’s Fur website and asked them a long time ago to send me some products to test, but they never did. I can’t recommend them for this reason.

      I am going to bring some of my best furs to storage by the end of this month, so yes, it has been discussed to keep it in a cool vault or at least a very cool room.

      • zeebaneighba

        I’ve not had good luck with Lana’s. Her cleaning and glazing product smells of straight vinegar and didn’t remove the musty odor from my vintage fur. It made no dicsernable difference in the shine or touchablity of the fur, either. For the price I paid I don’t reccommend her products.

  • Hello,
    Thank you so much for the information! Your job was amazing, I can’t even make out what the furrier did in the first picture?? What you did is amazing! Good for you! My question is, I have a spot where the hair is balding a bit, as it was stored improperly. When I got my coats out of storage (they were there much, much longer than I expected) they were wrinkled horribly, showing stiffness, and baldy patches where the hairs where shorter or falling out, or broken in one spot making a noticeable spot or patch on the coat. It’s also right in front of the coat, too in a very visible place. What do you suggest for this? Also, there have been comments about conditioning the skins, one mentioned an olive oil/white vinegar combination. What do you think of this and have you or has anyone you know tried it with good results? I was just wondering why a cooking/food oil would be used instead of a leather oil.
    Thanks so much for the wonderful blog, it is great information, and fun to read.
    Kind Regards,

  • Alex

    Dear Molly,

    Thank you for your advice.



  • Hello readers,

    I wrote this article several years ago and while I appreciate knowing that it’s still being read, I think it’s gotten a tiny bit out of control as far as becoming a blog of sorts for the public. I need to say here that the advice given by readers in the comments section, unless I answer it and say I agree with it, does not reflect my views and I do not take any responsibility for its accuracy or advisability.

    Regarding the links that were posted today describing cleaning with a paste of gasoline and such for furs, I ABSOLUTELY DO NOT RECOMMEND TRYING THIS AT HOME. The old books often gave instructions on cleaning and cooking, and left out some vital information about how to do it. If you’ll notice, there is no information about how to REMOVE said paste from the white fur or plush. DISCLAIMER: I AM NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY DAMAGE TO ANYBODY’S FURS DUE TO THEIR FOLLOWING SOME ADVICE POSTED BY OTHERS. I personally bring mine to a furrier. This article is on how to repair fur yourself, not clean it.

    Thank you for reading my articles and thank you for visiting Worthpoint!

    Sharon Maxwell-Yamamoto

    • patricia

      Greetings Sharon. Thanks everso for the info on EZ Persian lamb fixes. I am on a very fixed income and appreciate anything I can do myself.

      I have a couple quarter-size patches of curls pulling up on my gorgeous 40s Persian raglan. Skin seems too fragile to attempt sewing.

      What do you think of the suggestions of using silicone glue? And what about the silicone spray in place where the sheen is gone? Or using silicon spray on the dry skin??

      Again, many thanks. patricia

  • Hello Sharon,
    I was an antique dealer that collected vintage furs for twenty plus years, I’m now a professional photographer and want to use some of the furs as props with the models. The problem is I have over 20 furs many dating as early as the 1900’s from Hudson seal to Ocelot, and monkey fur, even wolf that I brought back from my tour in Germany in the 1980’s.
    Some of the furs now need seam repairs, I live in Ca, and furriers are not common. I’ve always stored the furs at my home with little problems, but putting them to work makes me concerned…any suggestions?
    Thank you,
    Jeanette Burton

  • Hi I have an old Musquash fur coat was my grans, can I repair it just with normal threads and needles its come undone under arms and some of the fur a bit thiner on back


  • Rachael

    Hi, a friend has lent me a beautiful vintage fur wrap for a special occasion. I think it’s silver fox. The fur seems OK but the lining is quite grubby. Please can anyone advise on the best way to clean it up? Professional dry cleaners??

    • Molly Malone

      Not unless your dry cleaner knows how to remove the lining, clean it, and replace it. That’s what a furrier does, the lining is cleaned separately if it is dirty, and in order to do this it must first be removed altogether. Dry cleaners do not deal with furs, they don’t know how so they can totally ruin it, as some people have posted elsewhere.

      I think it could be spot cleaned using some sort of cleaning fluid, but I don’t do this so I don’t really know what is available.

      If there is a furrier in your area, that is where you should go. If there is a fur salon or shop near you they may be able to advise you on where to go as well.
      Good Luck!

  • Gina Marie

    Thanks so much for this information. Just today I got an amazing vintage Birger Christensen Saks Fifth Avenue mink coat at the NJ Far Hills Rummage sale. It has about 7 tears but I’m hoping to fix them. You will not believe the price. Ready? I got it for $5.00. Yup that’s right. I even brought it to a furrier and they couldn’t believe the deal. So excited

  • Peggy

    I haven’t seen anything like this in all the comments I have read so here’s hoping someone knows what I am dealing with.
    I was given a fur stole, beige color with darker stripes, soft fur. supposed to be mink?
    I left it hanging in the sewing room as it needed repair and was considering remodeling it. It was near a window.
    when I looked at today the color is bleached out in the area exposed to the sunlight.
    any ideas on how to restore the color?

    • Hello Peggy,

      I’m sorry to hear about the fading of your fur. Furs should always be hung away from sunlight. I’m sorry to tell you that there is no way to restore the color.

      Take care,

      • Peggy

        Well then looks like I will have to fashion it into a jacket liner. which would be nice and cozy for northeast winters

  • Debra Johnson

    I have a fox tail boa, very long a plush, that got caught in a closet door and broke off. I was showing it to my husband, and another small piece fell off! I am heartbroken! I just got it last year. Is there any way to fix this myself? It is mostly black with little splashes of white. I read somewhere about taking it to a taxidermist. I would just rather do it myself if possible.

  • Hi Debra,
    When you bought the fox tail boa, was it new at the time, or vintage? When you look inside the pieces, can you see any skin at all into which a needle could be inserted for sewing it back together? If so, then sewing it would not be too difficult, but if it’s just dried out fur that you can see, I can’t think of a very good way to repair it properly…and in this case, since you have nothing to lose, I suppose glue could work, but this is only if the only other alternative is to throw it away.

    Thinking creatively, if there is a hollow space inside the tail, one might insert a thin base of some kind, like a rolled up cylinder of fabric, onto which the fur could be glued. I would poke it inside the fur with something like a chopstick and see if it stays. IF so, you could then remove it and put a little glue inside the hollow of the tail, and then poke the fabric back in. It just may dry and hold onto the fur. That would be my best guess and I would try it, if there is nothing else to be done.

    Otherwise, please remember that I do not recommend glue to repair fur. this is just in case it will go in the trash otherwise!

    Thanks for reading my article and for visiting Worthpoint!

    • cindy

      you are knowledgeable in vintage and fur and seem to have the clientele that can afford such luxuries. I have inherited a 1920s vintage hand tailored Vicuna coat from m y great grandmother. She was the welter weight champion of the world’s wife and had great style. I love in Florida and furriers are hard to find. Can you help me sell this?


    I have a mink short jacket that’s 35 years old. I kept it covered in my closet all these years. Wore my jacket on special occasions. Last week I put it on an my husband said it looked discolored in spots. I also notice that very few are falling out. Is there anyone that could advise me what to do.

    Thank you,

  • John Yingling

    How to deodorize a smelly fur.

    I bought a fur jacket and it had a musty odor. I called a furrier about cleaning it, and he suggested simply hanging it outdoors for a few days and see if that would work. I hung it just outside my back porch sliding glass door for two days, and I couldn’t believe the smell was gone!

    Dried and frail skins.

    Furrier supply stores sell adhesive backed fabric that you can apply to the back of dried, fragile, or damaged skins. Once applied, you can make necessary repairs if there are small tears or holes. I would use this sticky fabric on pelts being used for pillows and Teddy Bears, especially on extremely thin but expensive mink pelts.

    Just a few hints to try… Good Luck!

  • Bobbe Robertson

    I have a vicuna bed size throw that my father got in Bolivia or Peru in the late 40’s . It has come apart at the seams. I hope I can bring it to new life. The fur pelts seem to be in good shape

    • cindy

      Did you ever sell the blanket? I have a gorgeous 1920s vintage hand tailored coat I inherited and would like to sell

  • Judy B.

    Thanks Sharon for advice on sewing fur. Mine is a (Bambergers- i.e, now Macy’s) fur beanie/ hat which shows how old it is. I’m glad you added to use a regular thin needle (not leather needle) for thinner, smaller repairs. Honestly, wasn’t sure if I was to use dabs of glue as well. The mink fur is literally in thin, tiny strips- which has come apart in a few areas. I see I’m much like you- want perfection & happy to take a week to repair as long as done correctly. Thank you again, I’m ready to begin ‘my fix.’ 🙂


    Fur odors, leave in very cold conditions, a freezer, if you do not have a large freezer, the trunk of your car in winter will do. i would wrap loosely in a clean white cotton sheet, definitely never plastic, Have a little patience it may take a week maybe longer. This odor is being caused by an infestation of carpet mites, the cold will kill them and their eggs and the odor will magically disappear with them. All of these Febrezey thoughts will only damage the coat further eventually, you are masking the problem not eliminating it. You can remove dirt and oils with a little sawdust, I would suggest cedar sawdust as it smells nice and has the added benefit of deterring insects in the summer. But you may omit this step it is optional. Then comb gently with a fine tooth comb, ivory or tortoise if you have it, from the tips out until you can comb from the roots out without hitting a snag. I comb my furs at least weekly if they have been worn, if not as soon as I take them off. A good airing out on a very windy cold days is awesome for your fur, or a quick blast on the COLD setting of your hair dryer on a troublesome spot. KuKui nut oil from Paul Brown, diamond heads not the less expense gold oil, for glazing and sofening, trust me my furrier asked me what I used at home. I have used other hair oils, the thick clear type and have had no damage. Very very light on your hands, use the back of your hand as much as possible, then only touch the tips and then comb. Emergency spills, spray from a distance with KiWI suede cleaner, leave on a few minutes and brush, repeat if necessary. And these stripped furs questions, yes it could be undyed muskrat, shorter than mink, no guard hairs and softer like rabbit. But then again, that is how you tell a true sable from an ordinary mink, longer hair than mink, guard hairs, and heavier undercoat, more variability in length. That is worth asking a furrier. And yes use very fine regualr sewing needles, and as with all vintage repair use cotton, silk or another natural fiber thread, polyester thread will cut and split your pelt as well as fine fabrics. AND DO NOT EVER EVER EVER come anywhere near a fur with any type of GLUE or HEAT. I cannot believe I read that. Always try to keep your hands off your fur, the is the best way to damage it, the oil is our hands is deadly to a fur, put your gloves on first, then fasten. When you take it off turn if inside out and then hang over your chair of place beside you, the simplest way to avoid spills onto the fur, and lots of unneccessary touching. Avoid plastic for furs or leathers, the plaque to them. Happy furring, and always buy vintage if you can right ?? About that Chinchilla very delicate you can sometimes use mole skin, like you buy in the foot things for ballet slippers, just remove the glue first, just stick to something and the glue will come off, it is very stretchy and delicate but durable,and you can sometimes use it for a small patch of fur to fur, or you can purchase a craft cutter fur piece, a pelt of rex chinchilla is actually rabbit but very inexpensive if you just need to patch a small area. Hope I have helped someone to save a precious memory…

  • KM

    Thank you for this valuable discussion Sharon and readers. Regarding repairing furs, my fur has lost it’s hair on the leading edge down the front. Any ideas on how or what to do? I “painted” the white pelt with brown crayon to hide the damage and wonder what else might be done. Thank you! The rest of the fur is in excellent condition and I wear it every day in the winter so it’s not surprising that this has happened.

  • Abundant Life

    I think the author of this good article is no longer active on the site. The instructions here are very helpful and good to know a vintage fur can be diy repaired with some imagination. My mother (RIP) always joked about owning a mink stole so in her memory I made an impulse purchase of a stole with a collar for $30 but it arrived in lesser condition than described. There appears to have been some previous alterations and the collar has tearing in the fur at the collar, separating it from the lining. I would love to replace the lining myself or at least reinforce the edges which are frayed (significantly frayed at the collar, but have no experience with this. So if anyone has replaced lining and would like to share some tips – thanks.

    • Sharon Maxwell-Yamamoto

      I do come back here from time to time and do read some comments, but this article was not meant to be a place for me to appraise furs or give explicit instructions on fur care, which it seems it has sort of become. It has gotten a bit out of hand with people posting their own instructions, so I pretty much leave it alone now. Worthpoint has a venue for having things appraised, for which they do charge a nominal fee, so I don’t feel comfortable undermining that. Please understand that I am glad to have been of help to people, but I can’t offer more than what this article conveys through this website. Worthpoint is a wonderful resource and thank you for coming here.

  • Mari

    I have 2 fur collars from coats that I want to make into capes for my granddaughters–my problem is they seem to bee shedding some. What can I do to stop or at least slow down the shedding?
    Thanks for your help

  • Rachel Goldblatt

    Thank you very much. I just fix a tare in a fur coat that my wife had. And to make sure if i did it right and maybe fone some kind of glue that i could put over the inside of the coat. And i found your site.
    Thanks again
    Rachel G

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