Friday, October 28, 2016

October 28, 2016: Under the Hood

            Vest is done!
            The last thing I had to do was putting in the button holes and attach the button. I’ve never done button holes before, but it turns out that there’s a specialty presser foot for the sewing machine that makes it pretty easy. I practiced a few button holes on scraps of fabric to make sure I had the technique down before doing them on the actual vest. 
            Finally, I sewed the buttons on, and the vest was complete. Here it is!

            Now, this thing here represents about $35 in materials, and 26 hours of work. Obviously, if I were more experienced, I’d be able to work a bit quicker. And there are cheaper places to buy materials than where I did. But if I were to charge my equivalent hourly rate at my actual job, this would represent a nearly $1000 garment. Kinda put those $65 vests that vendors sell at events into perspective, huh?
            Don’t think I’ll be giving up my day job to become a tailor.
            So, what to do next?
            Well, my design calls for a canvas cowl instead of trying to do any kind of burn makeup, so I moved on to that part. The plan was to make this in three pieces: a single strip down the center, flanked by shaped pieces on either side. I actually had been feeling a bit of trepidation about this part, wondering how I was going to shape the side panels. Then I remembered I have this handy drawing tool from my old college drafting classes: it’s a flexible ruler that you can bend into curved shapes which it will hold. So I wrapped this thing over my head from front to back, and that gave me the curve I would need to draw. I traced that out on my material, then I drew a second curve that followed the first but offset by half an inch to give my seam allowance. I folded the fabric in half so I could cut out both side pieces at once by following this outside curve.

            The center strip was easy. I first used a tape measure to get the distance between the outside corners of each of my eyes, added an inch for seam allowance, and that gave me the width. For the length, I applied a tape measure to the first curve I drew on the side panels. Then I just cut out a rectangle of that length and width.

            Next was the trickiest part: sewing it all together. It was tricky because, in another first for me, I was sewing a straight edge to a very curved edge. This would result in the panels distorting into a 3-dimensional shape as I was sewing them. So to make sure they stayed aligned while I ran them through the machine, I used a lot of pins. But I got them sewn together. I actually stopped the seams about a third of the way down the back of the head, to make sure it would be easy to put on and take off.
            The end result wasn’t too bad. It does fit a little loose, but it’s useable for now. Probably later on, I’ll add grommets and lacing to the open seams in back, so I can snug it down a little better.

            Oh, you may notice my cost of materials has bumped up another ten bucks. That’s because I picked up a cheap Freddy Kreuger glove from a costume store. While my eventual goal is to construct my own glove and arm, I want to wear this costume for Halloween, and there’s no way I will complete that project in time.

Cost of supplies: $92

Time: 28hrs

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