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Animal Ears 101.

October 31, 2010

Making animal ears for your favourite shorty is actually a whole lot easier than I thought it would be! I made mouse ears for Ani’s halloween costume and was really pleased with how they came out and how easy they were.

What do I need?

* Cheap plastic hairband (I picked up a plain white one at Claire’s for $2).

* Scraps of fabric, appropriately coloured for the type of ears you want to make.

It’s a good idea to use fabric that has a bit of “body” to it – such as polar fleece, or felt – fabric that will stand up a little bit by itself. You definitely need to
use fabric that won’t fray.

* 2 pipecleaners (possibly 2 more if you are making something big, like rabbit ears).

* Glue.

And how do I do it?

1. Grab a piece of paper and your hairband.

Position the top of your hairband along the long edge of the paper. Either do a freehand sketch or use a household item to trace the shape of the ear you want to make. I used a coffee cup to get the round mouse ear shape! Having the hairband sitting right there on your paper will help you to keep things proportioned properly.

2. At the base of the “ear” piece, make fabric tabs that you can wrap around your hairband.

Pick two logical points at the base of your ear (roughly where they touch the hairband in your drawing) and extend them down far enough that it will wrap around your hairband and square it off. Make sure that your “tab” will wrap underneath your hairband, and that the width of the tab is wide enough to stabilize the ear on your hairband. Take a look at the next picture to see what I mean.

3. Pick the ear you like best and cut it out. You need to make sure it’s symmetrical, so fold it in half and do a little trimming to make sure!

4. Use your pattern piece to cut out four ear shapes from your main fabric.

I was making white mouse ears, so I used white fleece. Add a slight seam allowance as you cut! You can either add the seam allowance first to your pattern piece (by tracing your original pattern piece with a seam allowance onto a new piece of paper), or you can simply eyeball a little extra room as you cut out the ear. Since the mouse ears are pretty small, I opted to just eyeball a rough allowance as I cut. Note that you do not need to add an allowance at the bottom of the ear, since that will be left raw.

5. Cut contrasting “inner” ears (if applicable).

With mouse ears, I wanted smaller pink circles in the middle of my finished ears. All you need to do is cut a circle (or the right shape for your ear type) that is the size you want it to be. Test your size by sticking the circle in the middle of your pattern piece (or the one with no seam allowance). Then position your inner ear pieces onto two of the ear shapes you already cut.

6. Using a narrow zig zag or blanket stitch, sew the inner ears onto the outer ear pieces.

7.  Put your ear pieces right sides together (matching one piece that has an inner ear piece with a plain one), and stitch around the ear.

Start your seam about 1cm up from the bottom of your squared off tab, and stop in the same place on the other side of the ear, sewing around the curve. Leave the bottom of the tab open. Flip the ear right side out.

8. Grab your hairband and one of your pipecleaners.

Position the middle of the pipecleaner in the approximate location where you want one ear to sit. Wrap the pipecleaner around the hairband once, and shape the two ends of the pipecleaner into a loop (or appropriate shape for your ear type) that will fit inside your ear. Make sure the loop is not too small – you want it to fill the ear as much as possible, since that is what will give it some structure, but don’t go crazy trying to get the size exact. A rough shape is completely fine!

9. Wiggle your completed ear onto the pipecleaner, and move it right down so that the stitched part of the ear is sitting against the hairband and the tabs are hanging down below.

You can see in this picture how the stitched part of the ear starts about 1cm up from the bottom of the tab on either side – if you forgot to leave this gap and sewed right to the bottom of the tab (as I did the first time), don’t worry about it – just make tiny cuts into the seam with your scissors. As long as you used fabric like a fleece or a felt that won’t fray, you will be fine.

10. Make sure your ears are where you want them to be on your hairband, and then overlap your tabs underneath the hairband.

Fire up your glue gun and glue the front tab onto the back tab of each ear piece.

You’re done! Animal ears complete.

Email or post in the comments if you have any questions!

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