I have always really hated trying to work out the best way to put a neck piece on a fursuit head – half the time they’d end up too tight, too big, bunched up in the front or the back, too short, too long – and I found myself trying to craft a pattern for each individual fursuit head as I finished it, which took a lot of time and adjusting -after- I sewed it to the mask. I think it’s one of the hardest things to figure out, and a crappy neck piece can really ruin the wearability of an otherwise awesome mask.
I wrote up a little “tutorial” kind of thing to share how I make a neck piece for fursuit heads in hopes that it’ll help someone else! This is just a really basic overview of ONE way to pattern and attach a basic sewn neck – you can add zippers to make the neck more fitted, Velcro, snaps, all kinds of stuff – but this is just a really basic overview of ONE APPROACH. Use it as a starting point for working out a neck piece pattern for your own masks! :3
A line with dashes through it represents a sewn seam in my little diagrams I’ve drawn! :]
A “good” fursuit neck piece sits flush against your back, the top of your chest, curves up over your shoulders and does not bunch in the back OR the front. It’s actually kind of tough to figure out the shaping, if you think about it! Two simple rectangles of fur in the front and the back of the mask will bunch up. Shoulder curves in the wrong place won’t cover your neck. It’s really easy to make the neck too tight, or too loose. Where to start?
First off is planning how the neck will be attached so that we leave room for it to be sewn to the bottom of the head. I machine-sew the “skin” of my fursuit heads and then machine-sew the neckpieces on before I glue the fur down to the foam, but we’ll assume that you’ve glued your “skin” down to the head already and are now ready to attach a neck. You will want to leave a “lip” of fur around the bottom of the head that you can pull up and sew your neckpiece to. Optimally, the bottom edge of your fursuit head will be straight and flush , save for a curve under the chin – it should be an egg-shaped hole with a straight-cut fur edge around the bottom.
This is a really basic sketch of the neck pattern that I use. My neck pattern is [at least] 4 pieces, depending if there are any special markings, etc. Each piece, front and back, gets flipped and traced twice. I determine the width of each piece by measuring around the bottom edge of my fursuit head's "skin" [this is easiest before the "skin" is actually glued to the head, which is why I machine-sew mine! But you can totally measure after you've glued your fur down, too :)]
Both flaps have a curved seam down the middle – this is to help with that annoying bunching! You’ll definitely have to try some test patterns before settling on a curve shape that works best for you; if you bring it in too much the neck might be too tight!
The back piece is flat along the top and the front piece has a small curve to fit that curved bit under the chin. The front flap meets up with the head seam at the back of the cheek on the head, and the back flap covers the rest.
The front and back flaps are sewn to the bottom edge of the fursuit head, and then the side seams are stitched up.
Here’s a little trick if your neck is a bit too tight to pull on – add a bit more fabric at the side seams, tapering up to the top seam. This will make it a little easier to get the head on and off without the neck looking too baggy!
You will have to do a lot of testing and experimentation to find a neckpiece pattern that works easiest with your own way of making costumes, but I hope that this is helpful in finding a place to start. If you have any questions, feel free to ask and I'll see if I can't help ya out :D