Saturday, July 16, 2016

All the ears!

Side project--a coworker loves the disney/disneyland mickey ears, and was wanting some of her own customized pairs--like the ones that get sold on etsy for upwards of $40.  Now no offense to said Etsy makers--you've found a niche and more power to you.  But I'm not willing to spend $40 on something I can make for myself with a little work.  So.

First step: cut out the things

  • 4 round circles for the ears. Size up to you. Customize the front ones any which way desired.  (I appliqued on some 'U' letters for the University of Utah)
  • 2 strips somewhat close in size to the size of the headband.  In length, add a seam allowance to the length of the headband.  In making a couple of these--protip: make them a little wider than you think you need.  This will help in later steps.
  • (optional) Rectangle piece for a bow (depends on how fluffy you want it, and how big), as well as a smaller rectangle for the bow center.

Step 2: Make the ears
With right sides together, take 1 pair of ears and sew almost all the way around, leaving a small hole in one side that you can turn these inside out.  Protip: if you have something that needs to be oriented a particular way (aka, the U of U letters), pay close attention to what side you're doing them on.  Orient the opening to where it will touch the headband on the sides. Turn the ears inside out, and stuff.  You can stuff them pretty full, just leave a little room so that you can get a presser foot in the gap between the stuffing and the opening.  Or, overfill it a bit and shove the extra tight up in the pocket, then once it's been sewn together, fluff it out a bit.

Step 3: Determine ear placement
Figure out on the headband where you want the ears to sit.  Personal choice on this one, but leave room for whatever sized bow you want. Pin the opening onto one of the strips about where the ears will sit.  Protip: it can help to sew the opening shut at this point--just make sure to do it at the very tip.  It's mostly so that you don't have to maneuver stuffing and try to keep it closed while you sew it on to the band strip.

Step 4: Sew the ears on
This one is hard.  The trick is to get as close to the ears as you can; sometimes you have to sew in a semicircle into the ears.  You may have to go over this a time or two.

Step 5: Sew the other band on
Also a hard one.  Pin the other band strip (right sides together) so that the ears are sitting inbetween the strips.  You want to sew so that as little of the seams from step 4 are showing--again, you may have to go over this a time or two to get closer each time.

Step 6:  Band straps pocket
Sew the ends of the straps together up a few inches on each side, right sides together, creating a pocket that the ends of the headband can slip into.  Measure the headband ends (sometimes they'll be narrower than the middle) and work off of those measurements.  Trim the edges once you've got a secure pocket, then turn inside out (a pencil works great for this).

Step 7: Finishing the band strips
Slip the headband into the pockets, and ease the rest of the fabric over the headband.  It should be a relatively tight fit.  Next, pull out the needle and thread.  You'll handsew the edge going all along the inside of the headband--a whipstitch will work, just make sure that you make the seam tight, and fold over one side of the fabric (this is why making the strips a little wide is a helpful thing).

Step 8: Tacking down the ears
This one is important.  At this point, the ears are likely flopping around a bit.  Again pull out the needle and thread and with a few stitches on either side of the ears, tack them down to the headband.  Try to make them as inconspicuous as possible.

Step 9: (optional) Bow
Lots of different ways to make a bow, but I like the one where you make a pocket out of rectangle, turn it inside out, sew up the opening, then fold it back and forth accordion style to get the bow look.  Sew the middle together with a few stitches so it doesn't move.  Then take another rectangle (usually of contrasting material) and make a tube, pull it inside out, then use it as the center bow.  You can slip it around the middle of the headband, or make the bow complete, then sew the whole thing on.

Step 10: Try on the ears.

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