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Lady Violette

The Romantic Lifestyle

What Happens When a Fur Coat Gets Wet?

March 13th, 2024 by violette

Years ago I was caught in a terrific sand and rainstorm while walking on the sand dunes in Florence, Oregon. It was in December and very cold out so I was wearing a seal fur coat to stay warm. When I set out on the walk with my friends it was sunny and clear out. The sand dunes were beautiful but while we were there, exploring, a sudden violent storm came up and we were pelted with blowing sand and drenched with penetrating rain. It was a terrific storm with waves crashing on the beach. It lasted a couple of hours. We were able to shelter on the side of a dune during the worst of it and we had a hard time making it a couple of miles back to our car. Fortunately, none of us were hurt. My seal fur coat, however, was destroyed! Much of the seal hair had been ripped from the leather and the leather was completely soaked. Sadly, I had to dispose of that beautiful soft coat. I have never forgotten the experience. Consequently, I now take precautions to protect my furs.

I asked professional furrier Rene Vogel and his wife Denise what would happen if a fur coat got really soaked – essentially drenched in a rainstorm or via some other unfortunate method and you were able to get the coat to a professional furrier right away. This is what Denise responded.

“Regarding drenched coats: The rare times we have come across a customer with a drenched coat was when they had brought it to us after the fact, when the garments were already dry. One lady had put her fur coat in a clothes dryer and it destroyed the coat, so it was not salvageable. If a customer would bring a drenched fur to us while still wet, we would have to first use a towel to remove the excess water and then hang it up on a rack with air circulation around it to allow it to dry naturally with no additional heat. Once dry, René would need to evaluate the leather to see if it would still be supple and if it retained its original shape. Depending on the age of the garment, it may become dry and brittle or lose its shape. When furriers create fur garments and when they remodel furs, they use water combined with a special leather softener to wet down the backside of the pelt which is the leather side of the fur. This process allows the pelts to be stretched and nailed to a board in the desired shape. Once it is dry, the furrier places the pattern on top of the leather-side, draws the desired outline on the leather, cuts it with a special furrier knife and then the seamstress takes over with her finishing work. The leather softener is a solution which helps to prevent the leather from drying out and becoming brittle and hard. If the water-damaged garment is too old or the leather too thin, the leather will not be salvageable. If it has become too hard and is no longer supple but deemed to be salvageable, the furrier could take it all apart and start all over again, like a remodel, wetting down the leather side of the fur with the leather softener/water solution, nailing it out to the former shape and putting it all together again. This would be an expensive job, because it would essentially be like remodeling the coat. The lining, if drenched, would most likely be damaged beyond repair, so a new lining would have to be used.”

It is best not to get your beautiful furs really wet, obviously!

The vintage fur and fur trimmed coats pictured in this post are in good condition happily safe and dry in my house! I always keep an umbrella in my car because I live in Seattle and it rains a lot here. I highly recommend carrying an umbrella & an alternative rainproof coat in your car as well just in case you are caught in a severe storm. I keep a Mycra-Pac Donatella Raincoat, pictured below, in my car in case I get caught in a severe rain – this coat is long and full and has a nice big hood so I could conceivably put it on over a fur coat or jacket to keep the fur dry. It also comes with a bag you can carry it in. It folds up into a small neat bundle which is essentially a small shoulder bag style purse – the Mycra-Pac – that you can keep it in when not in use. It is water proof and will keep you and your valuable fur dry in an emergency.

Another good coat raincoat of the same type is the UBU 39″ Reversible Parisian Style Pleated Raincoat. which comes in both knee and midi length versions. // This coat is also rainproof and full enough to fit over and protect a fur coat if necessary.

Of course we wear our furs in order to look beautiful and stay warm and we don’t want to cover them up unless we are caught in an emergency rainfall. I am sharing my own solutions for protecting my furs in downpours now after having lost a special seal fur coat in that dreadful Florence Sand Dunes storm. I happened to be walking recently in Discovery Park in Seattle when wearing one of my furs and it looked like it might rain, so I put on my Mycra-Pac Donatella over my fur and proceeded on my walk. I actually saw an owl in one of the tall trees and sure enough I was caught in a rain – but because I was prepared I stayed both cosy warm due to my fur and completely dry because I had put my waterproof raincoat on over it. Above is a picture of the rainbow I took at the end of my walk. Had I not had the raincoat with me to put on over my fur I might have missed seeing the both the wild owl and the rainbow!

You can reach professional Swiss furrier Rene Vogel via email  Rene’ Vogel <> or by phone at (425)322-9638 to schedule appointments for all your fur related needs. 

I want to make it clear to my readers that I chose to write about Rene Vogel to share information I have learned from him about furs and to provide them access to him as a reliable professional furrier should they wish to find one. Rene is not paying me to write about him.

Rare and beautiful historic clothing and accessories are for sale in my online shops. If you see something on this blog that you are interested in buying, but do not find it for sale in my shops message me on Etsy or Ebay and I will get back to you about availability. I check messages daily and can always prepare a special listing for you if you do not find it already listed in the shops. Some vintage furs and fur trimmed items are currently listed for sale in my shops and others will be listed as they are ready to sell. I also list fashionable and extremely practical raincoats such as the ones shown in this post when I can find them. The Black/Teal Parisienne shown in the above link is currently available in my shop.

Items are always in process of being readied for listing so all inventory is not already listed and photographed. Feel free to message me on Ebay or Etsy if you are seeking something in particular as I may have it or be able to find it for you. There are contact seller buttons on all listings in the stores which allow you to write me messages. 

Ebay: ladyviolettedecourcy

Etsy: LadyVioletteBoutique

Poshmark: cocoviolette 

Fashion Conservatory: Lady Violette Boutique


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