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 very fist muslin prototype. You can see here that I was going for design n.1, with no darts on the side panel.
The aluminum strips were an interesting thing. You see, this part of the head and neck is quite tricky to measure, so at first I used these strips (that are actually construction material) in order to understand, isolate and measure some shapes from my own neck, head and shoulders. These measurements were my base for the designs and helped me a lot when building the first patterns.
In the beginning I was thinking of including these strips in the final design to give a some structure, but I ended up discarding this idea in favour of boning, which is much easier to work with (and less dangerous!).
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.