Muff: a fuzzy warm tube to warm your hands
I started this project wanting to incorporate a clear vinyl view screen into a muff so that the user could send text messages or otherwise use their smartphone/device while keeping their hands warm. I had seen some
thing like this at a sporting goods store over the holidays. I thought about what type of person might use such a muff and where they would take it and I decided it needed to have a carry strap and a zipper pouch for sundry items such as a phone charger or small wallet.
Initially, I had envisioned teen/tweens going to sporting events with a muff that allowed them texting dexterity while keeping their hands toasty warm. When opened to reveal the vinyl screen, the muff was going to read “Go Sports!” or something like that – a way for the wearer to cheer on their favorite team while texting the people next to them. 😊
The final design was somewhat uncertain as I went to the fabric store searching for my muse. Thankfully, my daughter was with me and when I saw her reaction to a pink/purple/blue faux fur, I knew what the outside had to be made of. A few days and two googly eyes later, the “Monster Muff” was born. Part muff, part purse – fashionable and functional.
Overall, I’d say this was a pretty easy project so long as your sewing machine is beefy enough to go through 2 layers of fleece and 2 more layers of faux fur simultaneously.
As a seamster in training, I can sew in a (mostly) straight line and can use a rolled hem to hide a fabric edge. If you find going through my version of this project that it could be improved with a simple technique or change in the order of operations, please share!
I’m a burgeoning ‘YouTuber’, so I made a video of the process and will share the links to the video in each section so you don’t have to watch the whole thing to find one small part. (feel free to like, comment, subscribe and share! ^_^ ) Please also consider voting for this project in the ‘Sew Warm’ contest on Instructables! Thank you!
The materials are straight forward – I list below what I used, but the overall design is just one way of doing it. Have fun and personalize it! Muffs can be as simple as a tube of rolled up fleece. They don’t need vinyl, or straps or elastic or anything else to keep your hands snug while making fashion statement.
The numbers behind the material correlate with the image showing the needed sizes
- Anti-pill fleece for the inner muff (1b, 2b, 3b, 5)
- Fleece for teeth (6)
- Faux fur for the outer muff (1a, 2a, 3a, 4a, 4b)
- Googly eyes
- Paracord (about 36 inches or 91.4 cm)
- Clear Vinyl (7)
- Elastic waistband material (approx. 2 strips of 10 inches or 25.4 cm – this will be determined by how big your wrist is)
- Zipper (7 inch or 17.8 cm)
- Thread to match your fur and fleece
- Sewing machine
- Cutting tool (Scissors, rotary cutter)
- Something to measure with
- Super glue
Measure twice, cut thrice (or something like that)
Cut out the materials to the dimensions shown.
Tips: When cutting the polar fleece, don’t pull it too tight, it stretches and does not have a straight edge when it relaxes.
When cutting faux fur, cut the material from the back and try to miss cutting the fur itself unless a trimmed look is desired. Carefully cutting the fur in this method cuts down on the mess. Have tape, or something handy to clean the fur mess as you go. I found a wig brush worked well to brush the cut hairs out of the fur.
When cutting the center section out of the pieces, use a paper template to guide your cuts, it’s much faster than measuring the fleece.
Making the Shoulder Strap
Sew the two strips of fur along the short edge such that the hair falls flat as you move away from the seam in either direction.
Sewing in the direction the fur lies (don’t sew against the fur, it jams the machine), make a seam of your choosing to encapsulate a piece of paracord inside the fur. This becomes the strap of the muff
Sew it inside out
As shown in my fantastic power-point diagrams, sew the polar fleece to the fur (fur side facing in) along the edges indicated. Then turn it right-side out. Section 6 needs to be sewn between sections 3a and 3b along the curved edge. When turned inside out, it will eventually become the Monster Muff’s toothy grin.
Attach the vinyl
Flatten the vinyl before cutting it – there will never be an easier step in the process to do it. To flatten wrinkled vinyl, I found it worked well to heat the vinyl using an iron on a low setting with a piece of parchment paper preventing the vinyl from sticking to the iron or backing surface. Using a flat surface, I applied pressure on the warm vinyl, pressing it flat until it cooled.
I found the polar fleece wanted to stretch and pull in the sewing machine whereas the vinyl would stick like mad to the smooth plastic of the sewing machine. To mitigate this, I placed bit of parchment paper under the vinyl. The parchment paper is easily removed when no longer needed.
From prior experience, I have discovered that if the stitching is too near together when sewing vinyl, the vinyl seam becomes like a perforated sheet of paper and is prone to ripping. Before attaching the vinyl, test your stitch pattern with a small piece of vinyl to ensure it is not prone to ripping.
Roll and hem the fleece edge
With the vinyl attached, now make a rolled hem along each short edge of the large polar fleece section (section 5). The rolled hem hides the edge of the fleece fabric and gives a more finished look. Allow for your hem/loop to be large enough to accept your elastic bands.
Join sections 1 and 2 at the bottom edge. This is easily done by placing fur faces together and sewing a straight line across the two sections.
Attach section 5 to the combined 1&2 sections as shown in the image. The edge of the vinyl should be sandwiched between section 5 and 1&2 so that your hands won’t rub on it when in the muff.
Sew the inner muff tube
The inner muff needs to be sewn together into a tube shape. Sew section 5 along it’s long edge to create a loop. The seam should be smooth on the inside of the muff and can be as ugly as you’d like on the outside, it will be hidden.
Attach the magnetic clasp to join section 2 and 3. I would recommend a smaller magnetic clasp than I used or reinforcing the polar fleece in section 3. The clasp does not feel very durable. Another layer of fleece backing the clasp may improve the result.
The zipper attaches to the top and middle of section 1 and section 2 and allows for opening into the gap between section 1 and the inner muff, section 5. This can be sewn inside out to make the seam easier. If I were going to do this again, I would incorporate section 3 into this step as shown in the figure.
Sew the inner muff to fur
Sew the inner muff along the outside of the fur. Don’t sew across the muff, just around the ends. This step also helps create the zipper pouch.
If you have not already attached the front flap, attach it now. It should allow the zipper to be accessible on the top of the muff/purse and cover the vinyl view screen when closed.
I found it easier to sew the shoulder strap onto the muff by hand than by machine. It only takes a few stitches. The strap goes between sections 1 and 2.
To add the elastic band, cut a slit in the rolled hem you created earlier. Using a skewer stick, pencil or similar long pointy object, push the elastic band through the cuff. Sew the elastic and trim to the desired length. The elastic should be long enough to go loosely around your wrist – so you can fit a finger between the elastic and your wrist without stretching the elastic.
Fluff and finish
The seams that are visible on the fur can be made invisible by picking the fur back out of the seams. This is easily done with something like a skewer stick or toothpick.
To attach the eyes, I used super glue. For the teeth, simply cut peaks into section 6. I trimmed some of the fur around the zipper and gave the purse a good combing.
That’s It, thanks for taking time to read my instructable. Please let me know if you have questions, I’d love to hear from you!