Introduction: Lion Dog Costume
Tucker had always dreamed of being a lion. He imagined languid days on the Serengeti, punctuated with thrilling hunts, watching the lionesses chase down wild antelope, and then moving in for his share. When he thought about it enough, he could even feel the hot, dry wind blowing through his luxurious mane.
While Tucker may never be a lion (and we don't need to let him know lions are cats, after all), at least part of his dream could be fulfilled. He could dominate his pack of friends with the most glorious mane of them all.
And this is how Tucker got his mane.
Update: lots of people have been asking where to get faux fur, and this stuff looks pretty good! Lots of appropriate colors, and not a bad price for what it is.
Step 1: Get Measurements
Since Tucker (a 3-yr-old Golden Retriever) lives in NYC and I live in SF, we had to rely on email and texting for all communication. Fortunately, Tucker's people are very savvy and were able to send me great photos of him getting his measurements taken. You can tell how much he'd been dreaming of that mane by how very patient and well behaved he was during his measurements.
From these, I was able to construct a mock Tucker head out of paper and tape.
Step 2: Making the Base
Once I had a suitable Tucker head model based on his measurements, I could go to town figuring out how this thing was going to work.
I draped a soft lycra piece around the head and collar to use as the foundation for the fur. The collar piece closed on the side with strips of velcro.
Then I was able to play around with the fur until I could get it to look like what I wanted.
Step 3: Draping the Fur
I took pieces of fur and played around until I had an understanding of how it needed to go together. One big piece shaped to fit the head would make the fur lay in funny directions that looked unrealistic. Using strips of fur would allow it to lay more naturally, but didn't provide nearly the volume I wanted to see.
The answer came in pleating the strips of fur, and stacking them closely together. In retrospect, I wish I had done two or three more layers of fur for even more luxurious volume!
Be sure to reference Step 3 in How to Cut & Sew Faux Fur if you haven't cut fur before. There is definitely a right way and a wrong way.
Step 4: Sewing the Fur
It's best to sew on each layer of fur as you pin it to the base. Otherwise, you'll have to unpin all of the top layers to get to the bottom ones anyway.
I first sewed down all of the pleats in the fur, and then attached them to the lycra base. Turns out this wasn't really necessary, and you can just sew the whole thing together all at once.
Finally, I cut some little ear shapes out of polar fleece and hand sewed them to the top of the mane. And it was complete!
Step 5: A Dog and His Mane
Now that Tucker had his mane, it was time for him to strut his stuff,. What better timing than Halloween when all good dogs get to be whatever they dream of?
Tucker wore his mane proudly through the streets, scaring off threats and keeping his pride safe, while garnering adoring awws and treats from the more appreciative onlookers. After all, how could you refuse pupcorn to this adorable little scamp?