How to Alter the Sleeves on Fur Coats

by Chuck Robert

Fur coats sometimes need alterations to lengthen or shorten the sleeves. Like any part of the coat, the sleeves might receive damage that forces you to replace part of the fur sleeve with another strip of fur. Also, you may want the coat reduced to cut back on the amount of fur in your outfit. If you cut the sleeves off, you can make a vest. Alternatively, you could trim down the sleeves to make them shorter, while still allowing the fur coat to keep you warm.

Items you will need

  • Seam ripper
  • Needle
  • Thread
  • Sewing machine
  • Scissors

Altering Hems

Step 1

Use a seam ripper to remove the hem from the fur coat.

Step 2

Put the fur coat on. While wearing it, determine where you want the hem to be by folding the end of the fur to create a hem. Have a friend put pins in the hem to hold it together before you sew it.

Step 3

Adjust the hem to make sure that it is even before adding the stitching.

Step 4

Straight-stitch along the hem edge, 1/4 of an inch from the edge. Straight stitches are the most simplistic stitches. Simply pinch the fabric on top and poke the needle through the pinched fabric, passing through both layers of the hem. Use the needle to pull the thread through the hole. Stitch on the side opposite of the fur.

Step 5

Use a sewing machine to create a zig-zag stitch to overcast the edge. The overcast stitch is along the edge of the hem, designed to protect the raw edge.

Loosening Seams

Step 1

Locate the seams. They are the part of the fabric that was stitched with thread.

Step 2

Remove the stitches from the seams with a seam ripper by digging into the thread and tugging at it.

Step 3

Stitch the seams back together closer to the raw edges of the fabric to make the sleeves more loose. You can also remove the entire sleeve by using a seam ripper, allowing you to create a vest version of the fur coat.

Cutting a Sleeve

Step 1

Pull the fur fibers apart where you intend to remove part of the sleeve

Step 2

Cut the fabric beneath the fur, instead of cutting the fur itself.

Step 3

Hem the rough edge where you cut the sleeve.


  • Taking in a fur coat can be easier than letting it out, since you can simply open up the seams and remove part of the edge of the fabric before sewing the seam back together. If the fur coat has long sleeves, cut new facing for the sleeve.


  • Do not take in all the seams at once, since this makes the sleeves uneven. Instead, perform alterations to tighten the sleeves, try the coat on and see how well it fits. Alter the sleeves again until you adjust the sleeves to your liking.

About the Author

Chuck Robert specializes in nutrition, marketing, nonprofit organizations and travel. He has been writing since 2007, serving as a ghostwriter and contributing to online publications. Robert holds a Master of Arts with a dual specialization in literature and composition from Purdue University.