Heya, so I was wondering how exactly do you finish off the edge of a mouth on a toony suit? I haven't seen a single tutorial or guide explaining it anywhere. Do you sew the fur over the top of a glued lining? Or the other way around? Or get an extra piece of mouth fabric and make a lip? Or sew the two pieces together, slip it on the head and somehow glue it down?
I have only recently mastered this after … gosh, however many years I have been making costumes. It has taken a lot of research and development to get myself to this point. So I appreciate credit, but also sincerely hope y’all have a chance to chip in to my Patreon if you get the chance, it will continue to encourage my innovation and show me you appreciate these sort of replies – in a financially supportive way!
I pattern my fursuit heads to have a liner that is non-balaclava based. That means I build my foam head shapes first, hollow them as much as I can, and then tailor a liner to fit the interior. This liner I sew from quilted broadcloth, and then I use either lycra ironed to interfacing or anti-pill fleece for the mouth lining/eye lining(sometimes I add in lining for ear vent holes and the neck as well). For someone making their own head, you can make a tape pattern of half of the interior, mirror it, and then tailor a liner based off that.
Tip: Save that primary liner pattern, it generally can be revised for each new head for a custom fit. As you make more heads you get a better sense of what needs revised about it. I save almost all my patterns and revise them for use on future masks and it saves me a lot of time so I don’t have to repeat tasks from scratch, and I can learn more from it each time.
Here is the start of my liner – before I add ear vents and before I add the neck and mouth on – This is the general shape I have saved and tailor or revise for use in future heads.
When I get to the mouth – the part that was asked about! I carefully tape-pattern the desired mouth shape, it gets cut out with a very small margin since I hand-sew the fur to mouth (I will describe this a little later). Be sure to sew anything that needs sewn directly to the liner, including any other accessories – like teeth & tongue (they can also be marked out on the tape pattern)!
You can (sort of) see even the mouth corners are patterned in, too. Those are the triangular-looking extra pieces coming off the left and the right. This liner & teeth & velcro for the tongue is all machine-sewn up to this point.
The time I install the liner comes before I fur the mask. Its crucial! First I pin it in place as a “dry fit,” sometimes I do another revision step once I see it all together. Once finalized, then I start gluing down all the easy-to-glue loose edges (I use hot glue).
When I need to glue down an interior segment I cannot reach easily: I cut a small slice in the foamwork, fit the glue tip in to reach the liner, glue the liner through the slice and then squirt a bit more glue to close that slice in the foam right back up. When gluing down the mouth leave a margin of unglued area around the edges – those will be sewn.
This is the glued down interior. I have also cut openings for my eyes and very large ear vents (those are BIG but well-hidden in the “C” curve of my ear’s base, btw.)
Tape pattern the rest of your critter for your fur. Measure your pattern, order your fur, and when it arrives cut your pattern and sew it up however you wish. Leave the jaw separate from the face, it will be easier to attach to the liner.
Use a blanket stitch or similar to sew your jaw fur on! Matching thread color to fabric is important, as it may show.
The end result is very clean once turned right side out.You can see on my upper mouth where I left the edge unglued to instead be sewn. The top jaw and mouth corners, too, were sewn in this way.
You can also use this technique to sew the inside liners of ears or other areas that need a smooth edge but may call for separate treatment from the rest of the head.
Happy crafting! For more costume tutorials, visit my website Matrices.net