Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Santa costume - hat and final - part 6

The last of the postings regarding making the Santa costume...
The Hat.. Unfortunately the shots I took during the sewing of the hats themselves did not come out (still figuring out why) I made two hats, one standard traditional hat which is basically a cone with a circumference of 650mm (26"), and a height of 600mm (24"). The second hat was a experimental model which will be described soon.
Each hat comprised of a velour outer, a red poly-cotton liner, and fur trim at the brim, and a fur trim pompom at the top.

Figure 1 - hats - Experimental, and Traditional

The liner was simply a truncated cone of similar dimensions to the traditional hat (circumference of 650mm, and a height cut down to 300mm. If worn by itself, it would resemble an oversized cap.

The outer was sewn along the edge (right sides facing, then turn inside out to conceal the stitching), and then the fur trim stitched to the outer so the stitching was facing inwards. The liner was then placed inside, pinned and stitched into place to cover the seams for the attachment of the fur trim at the brim.

The pompom at the apex of the cone was handstitched on.

The experimental hat (combination hat and scarf) was patterned on the traditional conical pattern, but then at the 350mm height, the cone was changed to it had a total height of 1800mm (72"). This meant that the hat resembled a long tube of approximately 100mm (4") diameter for most of it's length, with a flare at the end which took the diameter out to 200mm (8") for the last 350mm (14"). All other aspects of the hat (including the liner) were unaltered from the traditional pattern.

Figure 2 - Pompom making - material, and octagon

So the pompom would match the fur trim used elsewhere in the costume, I made the pompoms from the fur trim. A square of fabric was cut - approximately 150 x 150mm (6" x 6") and the corners folded inwards to form an octagon. A heavy thread was loosely stitched in at each corner, and then around again bisecting each  side making 16 points evenly spaced around the octagon. the thread was gently pulled up so the corners and sides pulled in, and the resulting hollow space was filled with assorted offcuts from the fur trim.

Figure 3 - Hollow created in pompom by pulling threads up

It was then pulled up tight and tied off resulting in a pompom which was about 65mm (2.5") in diameter. The heavy thread used to make the pompom and tie it off was left threaded to the hand needle during the previous steps, and then used to stitch the pompom to the hat's apex.

Figure 4- Pompom hand stitched to hat

Other accessories and costume tips.
 A couple of shots of the bag which attaches to the belt for holding keys, mobile phone, lollies (candy), etc. Simply a bag made of velour offcuts, and lined in poly cotton - simple belt loops on the back for attachment
Figure 5 shows the interior view of the pouch with a mobile phone, and some car keys in it for the test.

Figure 5- Pouch on belt - interior view

Figure 6 - Pouch on belt, exterior view

The wig/ beard I purchased off Ebay for the costume - 100% polyester, and quite good fit, and shape. It cost about $30 to buy including shipping.

Figure 7 - polyester wig and beard set.

And lastly, some white zinc sunscreen paint... I've played Santa before for various groups (Church, charities, clubs) and seen many others play the part.. I have fairly thick dark eyebrows which show through on most wigs. If I apply a smear of the white zinc to my eyebrows, they whiten out as if I've aged 50+ years, and they don't look out of place. - It beats my old trick of gluing threads from cotton balls to my eyebrows with PVA (White) glue.

Figure 8 - White zinc sunscreen paint (with other unused colours)

Unfortunately we were unable to find a local source of the white zinc paint without buying it in a triple pack with the other bright colours... they'll get fobbed off at some future date, since we're not big fans of running around with fluro blue, or pink faces.

Next project things to document... MOT spotwelder progress, reviewing books, and progress on other projects.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Santa costume - belt - part 5

Santa's belt

The idea was to use some near new automotive seatbelt material taken from one of the cars we'd cut up in training. Based on the that material, I designed a large brass buckle to suit.

Since I didn't have any suitable material to make the whole buckle from one piece, I decided to use some thin brass shim stock for the face of the buckle, and build the bulk of the buckle from thicker, but smaller brass material. Why couldn't I cast a buckle??? That's a story for another day....grumble and mutter.

I cut up the shim stock sheet to give me the shape I wanted, plus folding pieces to cover the joints.

Figure 1 - brass shim stock, and other material

I then cut up some 3/16 x 2" strip to give me the shapes I needed to fill in the back of the buckle. I then folded the shim stock up over the inserted pieces, and sweated it all together with soft solder. My torch is a Primus (Seivert) propane torch with a pencil tip.

Figure 2 - cutting the shim stock with a jeweller's saw

Figure 3- folding in the pieces prior to soldering

Once finished I tested the buckle only to find it didn't "grip" the material well enough to give me confidence. I considered adding a small barb in the buckle so it would grip, but figured it might pose a hazard. Determining the issue resulted from the excess clearance in the buckle openings, I drilled the buckle in four places and inserted some 1/16" stainless steel wire to close up the gaps. In fact it allowed me to double the material through the buckle, adding security and improving the appearance. The wire was cut from an antistatic dissipator from an old CO2 fire extinguisher

Figure 4- Buckle - Mk 1 - not suitable

Figure 5. Buckle Mk2 - with wires inserted

Figure 6. The good buckle threaded onto the belt material

I also made a smaller version of the buckle - reminiscent of a military buckle for capturing the excess belt length (tail as it were) - together they both hold the belt up nicely, and I need not fear the jacket coming open. (I started the smaller buckle while trying to think of a way to salvage the first buckle - thankfully I was blessed with some inspiration there... it would have been a shame to waste it.)

Figure 7. Both buckles on the raw material

Once it was all together, I noticed the seatbelt material would shine in certain light, and it looked distracting. To make the belt more consistent, I over-sewed it with 3 layers of black poly-cotton, and sewed rows of stitching the full length on 6mm (1/4") centres. This added a nice touch to the fabric, and allowed me to taper the open end of the belt making it easier to thread and prevent fraying.

Once the brass was polished up, the belt came out wonderful... the buckle adds a bit of weight, in fact the entire belt weighs in at around 1kg (~ 2 lbs)

Next installment - the hats.

Santa costume - pants - part 4

let's wrap up the Santa Claus costume...

Pants - nothing spectacularly different there compared to the jacket - although there is one sewing tip worth pointing out...

Want inexpensive broad loom calico for projects? Look at Ikea. Ikea sells a quilt cover made of full width calico for about $8. That gives you 2 pieces of calico the full width and length of a QB quilt... in dollars per metre it's by far the cheapest calico I've ever found, even at the 900m width. Whenever I venture near an Ikea, a few of those quilt covers are always on the list, just for the cheap fabric. The SB cover is called "Bomull", I'd have to look up the QB sized one, but they're usually next to each other in the shop (says Des who hasn't been in Ikea for over 12 months...) IF it saves someone else money, it was worth putting here...

Figure 1. Cheap calico courtesy of Ikea

Basically the pants (I made two pairs) were made using the velour material and the patterns generated. I then lined the inside with the calico, and made a waistband of red polycotton.
The waistband has a drawstring channel in it, and suspender points.

Figure 2. Velour outer being pinned to calico liner

Originally the suspender points were simple tabs which the jaws of the suspenders could affix to, but during test wears I found the jaws would occasionally let go - to beat this issue, I added a small tab at the front with a button, and a larger tab at the back with a corresponding buttonhole. The suspender jaw grips the original tab, and then the buttonholed tab is fed through the loop on the jaw, and buttoned down so it cannot let go.

Figure 3 - original suspender tab

Figure 4 - buttonhole tab threaded through loop

Figure 5. Button tab visible

Figure 6. tab buttoned down for securing suspender

The fur trim added at the bottom has a band of seatbelt material added inside for weighting the cuff downwards, and accentuating the flare of the cuff so the boot is covered better. In the original test fit, the trim would ride up the boot and looked "dorky".. almost like Santa was wearing clamdigger pants. With the weighted trim, the pants naturally fall to the top of the ankle, and ride up only slightly when seated.
No trim is at the waist since it's under the jacket, and would make adjustment with the drawstring harder.

Still to cover... belt, and hats. I'll most likely wrap them both together just to get this documentation finished.