Tag Archives: deer

96: Deer Ears

I’m not generally a costume person, but after getting (good-natured) grief at the Halloween parties last year, I knew I had to step up my game.  Of course, I also wanted to kill two birds with one stone and make it a blog project as well!

I had to use Ryan's favorite photo, right?
I had to use Ryan’s favorite photo, right? 

To still be “me” and keep my costs down, I decided a deer costume was the ticket.  I thrifted a brown skirt to pair with my white button up and brown sweater, and the makeup was from the college theater class.  To complete the look, I designed a pair of deer ears.

We cut the plush fuzzy side down.
We cut the plush fuzzy side down.

We cut felt really early in the blog run, way back during Week 4, Rock Band Drum Covers.  We learned the hard way the smell of laser cut wool was pervasive, so I used synthetic felt to construct the ears. Jo-Ann’s has a plush felt that was perfect, and at less than $6 a yard.  We needed less than 1/8 of a yard for the project.

Paper attempts - I decided to ditch the bottom fold on the bottom ear for simplicity.
Paper attempts – I decided to ditch the bottom fold on the bottom ear for simplicity.

I knew I wanted something more realistic looking than “Cut a petal shape and pinch at base.”  I consulted Google for deer ear shape images and I did a practice run in paper.  I’ve never really drafted a pattern before, so the paper was to test where folds would go and what the fabric to look like before folding and gathering to give it the appropriate shape.

Full ear shape
Full ear shape
All the little parts, before I cleaned up the fuzzy extra bits of felt.
All the little parts, loose on the right and in place on the left, before I cleaned up the fuzzy extra bits of felt.

Deer ears are brown with white inside, and than get brown again near the inside base.  To really get full use of the laser, I did decorative swirls on the inside of the ears.  We found that while the laser cut the material nicely, the inner swirls were too tight of a cut and got a little melty and stuck to the “plush” part of the felt.  Not a big deal, but they had to be trimmed out later by hand.

First fold
To get the ear shape, my first fold was straight down.  You can see where it’s going, but the curve at the base isn’t right.  On the final run, the inner swirls would already in in place in the ear.
Second fold, which I think technically makes a dart. This care the ear a more natural curve and created fullness
Second fold, which I think technically makes a dart. This gave the ear a more natural curve and created fullness.
I basically whip stitched the folded end, making sure all three layers got sewn together. The top of the swirl isn't sewn down, though I did end up tacking it with superglue.
I basically whip stitched the base, making sure all three layers got sewn together. The top end of the swirl isn’t sewn down, though, because I didn’t want brown thread to be shown on the front, or white thread on the back.  I ended up tacking it with superglue.
I had the perfect shade of embroidery floss to attachh the ear to the clear com. I tried to cover as much of the comb as possible, just in case my hair didn't cover it. I chose the comb over a headband because I could blend it into my hair better.
I had the perfect shade of embroidery floss to attach the ear to the clear comb. I tried to cover as much of the comb as possible, just in case my hair didn’t give full coverage. I chose the comb over a headband because I could blend it into my hair better.
Detail of how they are attached to the comb
Detail of how they are attached to the comb
Completed ears!
Completed ears!
Closeup of the hair - I did end up taking out the top bobby pin when I was sure it was all set.
Closeup of the hair – My hair is fine, so I didn’t have enough to volume to cover my ears and keep the combs in place and covered.  I compromised with a low drape under the fake ear that I held up with a barrette – partially covering the ear and holding up the felt ear in case gravity became too much!  I did end up taking out the top bobby pin when I was sure it was all set.
Eyes shut version so you can see the makeup.
Eyes shut version so you can see the makeup.

The makeup was a lot of fun to do.  I used the brown and white pots of my Ben Nye creme make up kit, and everything else is black eyeliner and mascara.  There are a ton of you tube videos for the deer look (It’s really quite in right now) but they were a little too over the top for me and involved too many fake eyelashes.  I took my inspiration from this image (unfortunately I can’t track down the original source), but I pulled back on the fawn spots, added a black lip and white to the nose which is seen on some deer – like this great photo of a mule deer by Anthony Dunn.

The costume was a hit, and just my speed.  The makeup and hair, shockingly, lasted all night, and I’ll have the ears for years to come!

Save the best for last - I had to make a tail too!
Saved the best for last – I made a matching tail too 🙂