Twin object: done, documented.
A very serious photo of one of the headpiece’s last tests, just before sewing the lining and topstitching. If you manage to ignore my face, you can see that the chest part has changed. In the final version it closes right under the armpits with pressure buttons, so the headpiece stays on firmly.
This is the leather prototype. As you can see, it doesn’t have any of that stiff structure that I was aiming for. Also, it looks like something Dracula would wear.
Really not a good look.
You see, the leather I used for the prototype is thinner and softer than the leather I was planning to use for the final piece; as such, it does not hold its shape very well.
When I first started building the leather prototype I wasn’t planning on using boning. Like I said in a previous post, I had a blurry idea of maybe using the aluminum structure to hold it together. The aluminum strips, however, have VERY sharp edges and were prone to hurting whoever was handling them, as well as damaging the surface of the leather. Nah.
The idea for boning came after reading this post on the wonderful The Cutting Class (highly recommended to anyone learning how to sew!). Boning is flexible and could give me the structure I needed without the dangerous downsides of the aluminum strips.
The boning worked wonderfully for this prototype. Unfortunately I don’t have any pictures of this specific prototype with the boning in place (I blame it on the long hours I spent sewing without pause…).
The final designs that made it through the final cut - I had SO MANY drawings in my sketchbooks!
These three designs were the ones I actually attempted building. The last one, with the horizontal strips, looks so good, but it was a bit beyond my capabilities as a pattern-maker. It was a risky design, and I didn’t want to try to do something much more difficult than necessary, especially when working with a full-on leather garment for the first time.
Anyway, the first design was the one I experimented with first, but the side on either sides had some creases I really didn’t like. In the end, for the final headpiece, I used the second design, which has some darts in the sides in order to prevent creasing.
Junya Watanabe’s AW11-12 collection was an important reference for the headpiece, especially for the more technical issues that I encountered while actually building and sewing it. I wanted to achieve this kind of hard, rigid, restricting and severe look. Watanabe’s jackets made extensive use of darts in order to bring this thick-looking leather to the desired shape. Topstitching is used to flatten the seams and give the jackets a nice finish.
All photos from Vogue.co.uk.
Lasercutter experiments for the headpiece.
Leather looks really really nice when engraved in the laser cutter. We tested a few different laser strengths. Cutting, on the other hand, looked a bit weird in the light-coloured suedes we tested as it left some burnt marks, but that might be due to the texture of the material. Maybe other types of leather might take the cutting a bit better. The black suede was the one that fared best in the cutting, as the marks weren’t visible. The engraving, though, gave much better results in the pink and blue (not pictured) suedes.
We also tried to cut the muslin pleats, but it didn’t really work out and it actually started to burn… ooops.