If you are a cosplay kitty like me, you’ve bought and made dozens, if not hundreds, of Kitty ears over the years.
I’ve been a sucker to purchase every kitty ear headband from hot topic and Claire’s boutique over the years; and hated every one of them. Headbands give me a headache, or they pinch. NEXT!
I’m a barrette kitty.
I’ve never found perfect ears until I learned to make them myself; and my preferred attachment is snap style barrettes (see example below). But how do you attach the ears to a barrette in a way that lasts over time? hot glue? meh. marine glue? Better, but you’ll get a contact high while they dry, and they still eventually come undone as the barrette bends to open & close. I’ve even painstakingly wrapped the ear base and barrette in thread, but it just looks messy and takes so long.
So I designed a sleeve to slide the barrette into, with the curved edge to correctly attach a concave ear. And it worked AMAZEBALLS.
Rather than looping thread over and over the barrette, I sew or rivet seams. No glue either.
Now that my prototype showed proof of concept, time to perfect the pattern.
What fabric to use? I settled on leather & vinyl. You can see in my canvas prototype example, the edges on fabric ears fray easily. Yes, you could take the time to serge or finish the seams if you choose canvas, but OMG I don’t have that kind of patience, do you? Plus canvas is kinda flimsy and I tend to abuse my ears, wearing them often.
Laying the barrette over the leather and drawing the pattern worked for prototyping, but to make these consistently I got out the calipers and made an actual pattern that fits a 70mm barrette perfectly, holding the ears at just the perfect angle; turning them inward just enough. It’s the little details that makes true “Kawaii desu ne
that includes the correct size ear cutout to fit the curve of the barrette sleeve pattern.
I happen to have a super talented husband who laser cut this pattern for me in clear acrylic for regular reuse.
I loved the clear acrylic for making my Louis Vuitton kitty ears because it helped me make sure I got the LV logo in exactly the right spot for the finished product.
Cut 2 rectangles (front and back of the handbag) in baby blue fleece: 8.5″ x 11″
Cut 2 rectangles (for inside liner) in contrasting fleece: 8.5″ x 11″
Why did I choose 8.5″ x 11″? because it was easy. I could use a plain sheet of paper for my template size. and it seemed like a good size to make a nice big face using my 5×7 embroidery loom. you can go smaller or larger if you want. there really are no rules here. Just make sure you change the sizing of the bottom & side panels accordingly.
Using the pattern pdf, cut arms, feet, and side panels.
Feet (Cut 4)
Arms (Cut 4)
Side (cut 2 outside fabric) (cut 2 liner fabric)
The side panels are simply trapezoids. the bottom is 3″ wide and the top is 1.5″ wide. the height is 8.5″ . You can change these dimensions to be wider or just 3″ wide rectangles. Whatever works best for you.
*Note how un-perfect my shapes are. This project should not be stressful; you don’t have to be perfect in any way. Your sewing machine will round out corners for you, and extra fleece when you match up edges is easily trimmed.
Cut a blue bottom panel: 3″ wide by 11″ long
Cut a contrasting liner bottom panel: 3″wide by 11″ long
Cut a piece of pink scrap in the shape of a bow. Give the bow a longer center – that’s to let you tie a knot in the middle to make it more 3 dimensional.
Get ready to make your “pearl” handle by cutting a long strip of white polar fleece, about 4″ wide and 19″ long
Step 2: adding the face
Embroider the face on one light blue panel using this embroidery pattern. (this tutorial uses the 5″x7″ version) Giggle at how cute. set aside for now.
Step 3: put it together
You are basically sewing a box shape. If this kind of project is new to you, it will be easier to do the liner first.
Lay your side panels along the back liner box & sew along the red lines.
Open your side panels. lay the front panel face down along the edge. Sew both sides.
Now pin your bottom piece. (note this is the first time I bothered to pin anything) and sew around bottom, leaving open part. We will use that opening later.
Turn right side out to admire your handiwork. Pat yourself on the back, maybe pour a drink. Set aside for now.
Now the Handle
You’ll notice in this picture of Handbag Harriet, she has what looks to be a pearl handle. How to get that effect while still keeping this soft for little ones and not using anything expensive? Here’s my solution.
Fold your white piece in half lengthwise, fuzzy side in.
Sew a simple seam & Turn right side out.
Leaving 3 inches along the left, tie a very tight double knot with a bit of yarn.
Fill tube with stuffing from right side. Tie very tight double knots every 1 inch. You’ll see the pearl look begin to appear. Leave 3 inches on right side, un-stuffed, matching the left side. These flat 3 inches will be what you sew into the top seam of the handbag later. Cut your yarn very close to the knots.
Tie the bow
Fold bow and tie into simple slip knot.
Sew the hands and feet Sew hands and feet together. Leave a space (at the top on the feet, and on the arms leave one whole side) to allow you to turn these right side out. no need to sew the holes shut once turned right side out. The open part will be laid inside the seam of the purse and be naturally sewn shut.
Now it’s coming together!
Lay your embroidered panel face up. Place the arms in a cute angle, with OPEN SEAMS ON OUTSIDE of panel.
These next steps will be familiar to you from sewing the lining. (Aren’t you glad you practiced with that first?) Lay your side panels face down along the side, over the arms and face. You’ll notice this is the second time I bother to pin. that’s to keep the arms in place when I sew.
Sew straight down the sides, this will also close the open seam on the arms. Cut off excess arms when done.
Now we come to the feet
Place the unstitched section below the bottom of the face panel. As you place the feet, slightly cross one over the other. The final effect is like a cute little character crossing her feet. Lay your bottom panel face down, pin and stitch along the bottom. You will be sewing through 8 layers of fleece at one point, so take your time here. Now use your experience in making the liner to piece and sew the back panel to the sides and bottom.
Add the bow
When attaching the bow, use a simple unhidden straight stitch. (see stitch line in white) this creates a 3 dimensional effect and lets the bow flow about a bit.
Place the handle
Lay your handle across the front of the face panel. Pin the 3 inch sections to each side panel.
Pin the liner in place
With your face layer RIGHT SIDE OUT and your liner layer INSIDE OUT, place your face layer, with the handle pinned to the side panels, inside the liner. As you pin the liner to the face layer, you will have to tuck the bow in to be sure it doesn’t get caught up in the top seam. When you sew around the top you will be sewing 3 layers: Face layer, Handles, and liner, all with one clean seam.
Turn everything right side out
Remember the part of the liner you left un-stitched? now that comes into play. Reach in there and pull everything right side out. Viola!
Top-stitch that little hole shut before you finish tucking in the liner.
Well Played! You made a handbag to hold all those little Shopkins, and anything else your little girl wants to carry around in her new fancy bag.
If you are making your purchase for a child or you have baby-fine hair you may want to take advantage of our design feature that allows you to remove the barrette clips and use your favorite headband with heavier ears.