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The Fabulous Fleece Company Blog

The making of a Decto sheepskin

We always love it when a customer asks us to help them create their ideal bespoke sheepskin and so we were very happy to help when Allyson got in touch requesting a particularly large Rare Breed sheepskin.

Doubles and Quads are our most commonly requested bespoke sheepskin, with some Octos where 8 sheepskins are stitched together. However, to fill Allyson's generously sized living room floor, she needed a Decto sheepskin comprising 10 skins - one of the largest sheepskins we've made to date!

So we decided to document the process from start to finish to explain how we make our large bespoke sheepskins in more detail and show how much effort and skill is involved in creating them.

Selecting the right sheepskins

We start off with an initial phone conversation to understand your individual requirements in terms of size but also type of rug. Everyone's tastes are different and you may want your bespoke rug to an have even colour tone throughout - whether that's pale, mid or dark tones, and in greys, browns, blacks or creams. You might want some subtle variations to show the markings and natural qualities of the fleeces. Alternatively, you request a completely eclectic look, with a contrasting mix of skins combined to create a patchwork effect.

In selecting the skins to go together, It's not only colours that needs to match up. The composite fleeces need to be the same type and texture - whether that's silky or more woolly. The length of the fleece hair also needs to be consistent between them, as does the weight, or the sheepskins won't lay well together.

Given all this, picking out the different skins to work together as one item is one of the most time consuming parts of the bespoke rug-making process. We go through stock of hundreds of different skins to find compatible ones, as they have to match in many different ways.

Depending on how our current stock meets the brief, we may need to wait for another delivery to arrive from the tannery so this may process take some time and be determined by the culling time of the specific breed.

Once we have found enough compatible rugs, we start laying the skins out next to each other and photographing the combinations to email over to you and there's often quite few emails back and forth before finding the right one. being a bespoke service, we want you to be completely happy with the finished article.

In doing this, you may spot something that stands out to you that we've haven't seen. Sometimes, we need to leave a shortlisted selection overnight and view them again afresh the next day because we start getting what we call 'rug eye' from assessing so many!

Cutting the sheepskins

With the rugs decided upon, we then need to get them cut before sewing. We maintain that natural curvy sheepskin shape on the outer edges, but on the inside edges where the skins meet, some sheepskin is cut away to make two straight edges to sew together. The way we do this minimises the amount cut away though.

Having taking so long to select the perfect ones, we really don't want to go wrong and return to the drawing board again now so this needs doing carefully. Donna, our expert sheepskin and leather seamstress with over 25 years' experience sewing fleeces, will measure very precisely at this point before cutting.

This is because sheepskins are a natural product - they are rarely symmetrical and may come with a wonky shaped leg for example! So we need to even out these quirks to make sure the various sheepskins align in the right way.

Stitching multiple sheepskins together

With the skins cut, it's time to sew. For this we use an interlocker, a heavy-duty beast of a sewing machine that we call 'R2 D2' as its nickname!

Naturally, given the thickness and weight of the sheepskins, we need to use very strong thread to hold everything together.

Donna starts by stitching together two skins into doubles and then sews two doubles together, so you can see how the rug grows from there. As you can imagine, the rug gets heavier and are tricky to manoeuvre through the machine as it gets larger. You need strong arm muscles for this work!

Delivering the final rug

Once sewn and ready to dispatch, your rug gets bagged for protection first then and boxed with the most durable, heavy-duty boxes we can source! Given the weight of the final item, this is another good workout for us! We also mark it with fragile tape to ensure our couriers take care of the heavy package. From notice of dispatch, you have just 24 hours to wait for your finished rug to arrive.

We're thrilled to hear that Allyson was very pleased with her finished Decto rug and thinks it looks super. She kindly sent us a pic of her new extra-large Rare Breed rug in situ above. Ta-da! Seeing our bespoke rugs looking great in customers' own homes makes this whole process very satisfying.

If you're interested in creating your own bespoke sheepskin rug, call Lucy on 07796 801818 to find out more and get the ball - or should we say rug? - rolling!

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