Rabbit Report #9
Ears, Take 3, 4 or 5
I'm really not sure, but it has taken quite a few tries to get the ears on the headpieces just right! There certainly have been some interesting problems along the way with these ears. The one nice thing is that this fur doesn't shred a whole lot, so there is very little fuzz in studio.
Problem one: the ears are thick. The original pattern has a two layer ear with an additional inner section (3 layers), which is folded to make an ear:
That's all good and cute until you start to count up the layers of fabric you're trying to sew through, especially with all those folds and then try to sandwich the ear in the seam on the headpiece. Let's see that's 3 layers x 2 because of the fold of the ears, so 6, plus the two layers of the headpiece, that's 8. Eight layers of furry felt. I don't think so! Neither did my machine. Trimming seam allowances does not help. Trust me, I tried!
I resorted to doing the whole inner ear in pink felt and the outer ear in furry felt. That helped tremendously.
Second problem: the ears were huge! Now, I realize these are rabbits and their ears are large in proportion to their bodies, but I've got children *acting* as rabbits and the ears just cannot be that large. After trying the headpiece on my son, we determined that the ears needed to be 2" shorter and 1/2" narrower, although I may make the smaller rabbit's ears even narrower.
The ear on the left is the original, the one on the right the new one. This isn't the final form of the rabbit headpiece, but you get the idea.
Third problem: the ears flopped. This might be just fine for a Halloween costume, but it does not work for a play. The ears need to create the look of a rabbit, but not be in the way of acting or speaking. This means that the ears need to stand up. Three things were needed to solve this problem.
One, the ears needed to be moved closer to the center of the head, as drafted the pattern places them closer to the sides of the head, thus not in a good position to stand up.
Two, the ears needed support. Serious support in the form of several layers of interfacing (a good way to use up all my cheap interfacing so I can buy nicer interfacing) and florist's wire. Yes, florist's wire! The wire is held in place on the seam allowances by a zigzag stitch. The bonus is that the ears are now bendable!
Third, the ears needed a better support base. Sewing those long ears in one narrow seam wasn't going to do. I fixed this by bending the ears forward and stitching 1" from the seam line. Now the ears have a good support base and by bending the ears forward, they do not pull the headpiece backward on the head.
I think I have the ears solved and that was the hardest part of the whole headpiece. It is amazing the engineering you must do to get things to look as you have envisioned them. If I can get the velcro on and the lining made, I think I'll have a rabbit headpiece!
Parting Shot: Faster? I've just turned the heel on the second sock, and I think this one is going faster than the first! I might get these done soon and then get to knit something else. I'm thinking maybe a sweater or another pair of socks.