Sunday, September 19, 2010

A new project - a Santa costume - part 1 - pattern development

Yes I'm still alive, and a bit stupid since I've added more projects to my "to do list"

Over the past week, I've attended a few callouts for fire and rescue, worked 5 days, and also attended a course (pump operations)
In the "spare" time I attended training for vollies, salvaged the shafting from 7 gas struts (see my earlier shed tip about that), and commenced this new project.

The Santa suit...
One of the fundraising activties carried out by the volunteer Fire and Rescue involves hiring out a "Santa" for local parties. Santa shows up in a 1950 Bedford fire truck (with original lights and siren) and is escorted into the party by a VFRS member... the kids love it, and it's fun work.
The santa costume worn by the volunteer is one of a few, some privately owned, and a couple owned by the brigade - after using one last year which was getting a little long in the tooth, I decided to make my own.

I bought the fabric through Spotlight, and made the pattern up myself.

This posting will discuss the development of the pattern.

Santa's outfit comprises a jacket, a pair of pants, a hat, and some trimmings (not to mention a jolly old fat guy in the middle)
This project will make the jacket (with internal pocket for gloves), 2 pairs of pants, a couple of hats, a belt, and maybe some spats (overboots)

I started the pattern development by grabbing some cardboard wrappers from whiteboards we bought at work - the large sheets of thin cardboard became my primary working material, and also protected the fabric from picking up stains from the trestle table I set up to work from.

I laid out my turnout coat on the cardboard and traced out the key dimensions of the arms, shoulder, waist, and inner/outer seams of the pants.

Figure 1 - using my turnout coat to start the tracing of dimensions

Figure 2. Adjusted tracing of the arm panel, and leg panel

Since I don't have any of that wide thin paper used for making patterns, and I'm not going to cut up my meagre stash of interfacing for a pattern I'll only use once in a blue moon, I decided to fall back on my old trick of using plastic sheet for the pattern material. (I have a stash of tranlucent builder's plastic used for covering gear during cyclones)

The plastic was laid over the tracing, and drawn through with a permanent marker (sharpie, Nikko, whatever your local term is). During this tracing, I made adjustments to the dimensions for cutting/ seam alowance, and changed the cut of the jacket to a more "universal" fit.

Figure 3. Tracing jacket back panel on to translucent plastic

The adjustments made to the pattern included making places for folding the fabric when cutting, and rearranging the seams for joining the arms so they had a natural fit when reaching.

Figure 4. marking on the arm panel plastic to show cuts, direction of fur lay, and number of panels.

Since I was planning on using a crushed velour for the main suit fabric, I had to mark on the lay of the fur (direction) so it looked proper when assembled.

Figure 5. Pants panel patterns.

The last part of the pattern work at this stage was to capture the notes regarding how the suit was to look and go together. Figure 6 shows the notes made regarding the fit of the jacket, placement of fur trim, and trimmings such as pockets and belt loops.

Figure 6. Pattern notes

The next installments will cover the making of the jacket, and belt - hopefully within the next 7 days I'll get the suit finished, then I'll get the documentation done.

1 comment:

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