Knit Fur
Every garment manufactured at Paula Lishman International is fabricated by experienced artisans using Paula’s exclusive methods to create fur yarn and turn it into designs of the highest quality. The Lishman collection includes full-length coats, strollers, jackets, shawls, blankets, and accessories. Sheared beaver is the fur of choice for most of Paula's knits due to its silky softness. Furs such as mink, ranched fox, red fox, muskrat, and raccoon supplement as trims. Each piece has luxurious fur inside and out. The Paula Lishman look combines elegance and flair with functionality.

Purchasing, Pelts and Processing

The trapping of wild animals is beneficial to the future of our wildlife because it maintains a balance between the animal populations and their habitat, ensuring enough resources for the species to thrive in future generations. The fur trade enables many Canadian families to preserve their traditional lifestyles and culture, earning a living in harmony with the land.

Less than 20% of all beaver pelts available meet Lishman's criteria. The company must buy only the pelts gathered at the optimum time of the year, to ensure prime mature pelts with dense, heavy fur. The size and condition of the pelt determine the quality of the fur, only the top quality pelts are suitable for use in the knit fur process.

Pelts are purchased from several sources. Beaver, muskrat, red fox, and raccoon are wild furs and they are sorted by trappers, country collectors, and brokers. The mink and fox Paula uses are farm-raised and they are purchased dressed from various suppliers.

These carefully selected pelts are shipped to a fur dresser where they are processed through several stages of preparation such as soaking, sweating, plucking, and cleaning. As much of this is done by hand, this process can take up to four weeks.

The pelts are returned to Lishmans for further grading to ensure that, once again, only the best fur is used. The dressed pelts are forwarded to a fur dyer where they are graded for colour and quality, and once dyed, are returned to our production house. Although the company buys only the best fur, with all of these quality measures in place, 25% to 35% of the fur is still unusable for Paula Lishman garments.

Nature of Fur and Nature of Knit
Because fur is a natural product, no two pelts are the same. Each is unique and varies in thickness of skin, fur density, natural colour, and size. All of these factors affect the dying, grading, and production processes. It is important to note that maintaining consistency within styles and garments is difficult, and there will always be minor variances in the thickness and colour of the fur. The variances in thickness of the skin can also affect the tension of the knit and the weight of the garment, thereby affecting the size and measurement.

Fabrication of Fur Yarn
Each pelt is cased, then hand blocked - the backing dyed to match the colour of fur. This is a necessary process for knit furs and is not required in traditional fur garments. The pelts are dried for 18 hours. Any unusable fur (scars, guard hairs not removed in dressing) is removed. Pelts are hand cut into one continuous strip by trained cutters. This process is unique to Paula Lishman International, producing a strong fur yarn with very few sewing joins. This increases the durability and smooth surface of the fabric. The strips of fur are then transformed into fur yarn, using Paula's unique process patented in 1979.

Development and Design
After the initial research and development of new fur fabric swatches and style trends, ideas are sketched and pattern drafting begins. The first pattern in this process is on paper, from which a canvas is cut. Once the design is approved to be included in the line, a written knitting pattern is translated from the paper shape. For each style, for each style detailed instructions are followed by the knitting, assembly, pelting, and finishing departments to ensure garments meet the required specifications.

Handmade in Canada

Each garment at Paula Lishman International passes through many hands before it is delivered to the customer. Within each stage of production, there are quality control measures in place starting with the fur yarn.

Order information is forwarded to our “Lotting” department where the material required for the garment is selected, paying close attention to the specific dye lot and grade of fur. The materials are forwarded to one of our home-based skilled knitters. After knitting the pieces, these are inspected for quality workmanship, washed, blocked, air-dried for 12 hours and cleaned in one of our custom made drums.

The next step in production is assembly, where the pieces are skillfully hand stitched into a garment and inspected once again for quality of workmanship. The garment is then sent for final cleaning and glazing and returned to our finishing department for “finishing touches”: buttons, hook and eye closures, shoulder pads, drawstrings, and tags.

Finally, one more quality control check takes place, and the garment is sent to the customer. Each cutter, knitter, assembler, finisher, and quality control checker proudly displays her name on the garment tag sewn into each garment.

Custom Orders
Paula Lishman International wants to ensure customers' needs are met. Although each garment manufactured is unique, from the pelt used to produce the fur yarn to the individual who finishes the garment, the team prides itself on the ability to further customize knit furs. From increasing or decreasing sleeve and body lengths to changing collars, no customer request is too big or too small.


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