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In working with sherpa, fur or upholstery fabric, you will be challenged with three problems not normally faced when sewing. They are, thickness, a denser-tougher surface, and in the case of upholstery fabric, fraying. Anyone of these patterns are very simple to do, and will teach you the techniques used in sewing thicker fabric.
What you need
Denim or upholstery needle
Sharp pair of 8-12" fabric scissors
Chalk or remove-able fabric marker
Upholstery thread is available in limited colors, you can use heavy duty polyester which comes in more colors, but you will still need the denim or upholstery needle. I prefer the upholstery thread because it is made of nylon, and will not fade, wear or break.
Selecting your thread color may become your next problem since there are limited colors. I always go with the slightly darker thread to the fabric, if I have a choice. But, usually I just go with what is in the family tin. We have at home a very large tin, which has a variety of threads, quite literally passed down from grandmother to granddaughter. Would you believe some of the spools are actually made of wood-- and hold mercerized cotton thread. We throw nothing out. My grandmother, an accomplished home decorator and seamstress, divided her sewing world into black and white, only occasional venturing out into other colors, if top stitching was required. This may be a slight exaggeration, but if you cannot find the exact color of thread to your fabric, all is not lost, just go with the closest. If top stitching is required, go with a neutral color that develops the look of the clothing. For instance, with a white wool, you could use a brown or black to define the lines of the coat. Alternately, go with a color that blends with most of the clothes colors you wear. Do you wear a lot a green--blue?-- then, top stitch your white coat with green or blue thread. This is your project, your coat, unlike the mass produced items that have to conform to the majority's tastes and color tones.
Remember, the seams are not suppose to be seen, only if you are top stitching does thread color become anything of a real concern.
Upholstery or denim needle--The stronger needle is needed to work with the stronger thread, otherwise your stitches will go wonky, and the sewing machine will keep jamming. Also, the bonded sherpa has a skin, of sorts, which needs a strong needle to penetrate.
IMPORTANT: Before starting to sew, check through your sewing machine's manual regarding adjusting tension for a thicker thread. Since you probably don't sew with thick thread often, it is easy to forget things. For instance, I have a tension adjustment on my bobbin as well as the machine. More times than I care to count, I have started sewing, only to end up having to rip out a lump of matted thread that was suppose to be a seam.
ALSO IMPORTANT: You will want to raise the pressure foot because of the thickness. A pressure foot that is too tight against the fabric will slow and pucker the fabric as the feeder moves the fabric passed the needle.
Craft pins--I use craft pins for the heavier thicker fabrics. Craft pins are found along the notions wall, and are longer and thicker than the regular ones. Their ball ends come in multi colors which make them easier to find when you accidentally drop one on the floor. The longer pin can easily go through the thicker layers without bending, holding your fabric flat.
Long scissors--Again, because of the thickness of the fabric, you will want a sharp pair of longer scissors. In cutting the fabric, you will not be doing fine cutting, but volume cutting, so the long blade will allow you to cut further with each slice. Also, the heavier scissor will help you make a more stable cut straight up and down.
Calk--Having chalk available for most projects is good, but winter coats usually require marking pocket placement and buttons, etc.