Monday, September 4, 2017

Star Wars R2D2/BB8 Mickey Ears

It was time for me to make the first pair of Mickey ears for myself.  I planned to make myself a pair of Little Mermaid ears, but I still needed to track down the supplies.  I had all of the felt that I needed to create some adorable droid ears, so this became my next project.

Last year, Lucky and Rowdy were R2D2 and BB8, respectively, for Halloween.  These are the best costumes I've ever created, in my opinion, and I wanted to bring that essence into my ears.  My plan was to cut shapes out of felt, sew them down with invisible thread and then add a few more details with puffy paint.

I wanted to put a little more effort into this set and make the ears two sided.  They're not exactly reversible, but people should recognize who the ears represent from my back.  I also made the bow removable so that I could be more or less feminine depending on my mood.  (The bow obscures some of the cutest details, but I do love the black sparkles!)

Materials for R2D2/BB8 Mickey Mouse Ears

I used the patterns I created with my first sets of ears to cut out four pieces of thick white felt.  (I was in a Star Wars mood so I was also working on Keith's Boba Fett ears at the same time.)  The felt I used is the more expensive $1.99/large sheet felt at craft stores.  It has enough stability to stand up on headbands without additional reinforcement.  My plan was to decorate all 4 flat pieces with the sew-on felt sections, sew the ears together, add pufy paint, and then stuff and attach the ears to the dollar store headband with hot glue.

I looked around Pinterest for BB8 and R2D2 inspiration, and then took a deep breath and started cutting shapes.  I cut these pieces by eye and then adjusted them to be the size that I wanted.  Rather than cutting the shapes to fit the curves of the ear base, I let them overhang and would trim them after the ears had been assembled.  This gave me some allowance should the pieces slip during sewing.

You don't have to use Invisible Thread to sew down the felt embellishments, but I like not having to change out my thread colors as I switch felt colors.  I stitched around all of the shapes, including along the outside curved edge.  I knew that I would sew over this again when I attached the front and back pieces together, but I wanted to make sure that the colored felt pieces were secure.  

With wrong sides facing, I stitched around the outside of the ears and along the bottom notches.  I left the tabs section open so I would be able to stuff the ears before securing them to the headbands.

Once I trimmed the ears, you could really see the droids.  The hand cut shapes aren't perfectly matched, but I think that helps give R2D2 and BB8 a cartoonish vibe.  

I waited to add the puffy paint until after I had sewn the ears together because I remember how hard it is to sew over puffy paint when I made Rowdy's BB8 costume.  I used an air soluble marking pen to plan out where I wanted to add some of the white accents on BB8's face, and then freehanded the paint embellishments on the rest of the droids.  

When I started putting the puffy paint on the BB8 mickey ear, I wasn't sure if I ruined it.  The lines were so much cleaner before I tried to add the ridges.  I like how the ones on the back of the ear came out, and I think R2D2 looks AWESOME.  I know that I will wear this with pride no matter what.

To add some more dimension to the ears, I lightly stuffed them before attaching them to the headband.  After I added the stuffing, I placed a line of hot glue along the bottom edge to join the pieces of felt together and to secure the center point to the top of the headband.  Next, I glued down the back tab along the bottom of the headband.  Once that was secure, I glued down the front tab towards the back and trimmed off any extra.

The R2D2/BB8 Mickey Ears are the fourth set of ears  that I worked on, and the first that I wanted to have a bow.  The black fake sequin fabric is really drapey.  Initially, I wasn't sure if I should reinforce the bow with some felt triangles inside either side.  Ultimately I loved the drape of the fabric so I didn't reinforce the bow with any kind of stabilizer.

I got the idea to make a removable bow when I was testing out the bow size I wanted for these ears.  I secured the center of my prototype bow with a pipe cleaner and I loved the ears with and without the bow.  Unlike the other ears I plan to make for myself, in this case the bow really does cover up part of the droid faces. Why not sew the bow and then keep the pipe cleaner so I could wear the bow as needed?

For the bow, I cut two pieces of fabric; 9" x 10.5" for the main bow section and 0.75" x 9" as a ribbon for the center section.  I folded the fabric in half (4.5" x 10.5") with right sides facing and stitched a 1/4" seam.  I had never sewn through sequins, but it came out of the machine okay.

I turned the bow right side out, and then hand stitched the last edges together.  I could have machine stitched this but I wanted some control. After stitching this edge closed, I didn't cut the thread.  I centered this second seam in the back of the bow, and used the thread to wrap around the entire bow to cinch the middle together.  This gave me the chance to manipulate the shape o the bow and the gathers to the way I liked it.  I made a knot but kept the thread connected.

I sewed down one edge of the skinny piece I cut above and then wrapped this around the bow a few times and then trimmed the edge.  In retrospect, I wish that I had used a folded over piece with no raw edges.  I'll do this next time.  I tacked down the edges of some of the center piece to help keep it straight.  I finally tied a knot and cut the thread.

To make the finished bow removable,  I cut a pipe cleaner in half and inserted it into the back of the bow.  TIP: if you are having trouble feeding it through fold down one of the pointy edges so it doesn't catch on the fabric.  I twisted the pipe cleaner so it would be perpendicular to the bow and then twisted it around the top of my headband.  I tucked the remaining edges around the headband and my detachable bow was ready to go!

What do you think?  Do you like this headband better with the bow or without?

I think that this is the only set of Mickey Ears where I will want the bow to be removable.  I plan to glue the rest of the bows I make onto headbands.  I think that the other bows I have planned I will want to be attached.

When I was trying to photograph the Droid Mickey Ears, Rowdy want to get in the pictures, too.  (He climbed in my lap and said "CHEEEEE")  I decided to throw a pair of ears on him, too, and mix the worlds of Star Wars and Frozen.  I'm not sure he'll keep the ears on at Disney World, but he sure is adorable at home!

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