Saturday, June 5, 2010

F-suit Layout and Cutting

Hello, and welcome to the new people out there following and visiting the blog. I must say it's been totally cool to hear from those of you who have contacted me, and I very much appreciate the positive feedback, and am glad that people are enjoying the blog. I had hoped it wouldn't have an audience of one when I started out, and so far so good on that count. Thanks for reading along, and feel free to contact me with questions, comments or feedback at any time. It may take me a while to get back to you, but I'll respond to everyone who writes eventually!

So, I've been busy lately with the f-suit project that is finally in the production phase. This is the build that I was going to take you through step-by-step, and f-suit with a custom hood, gag and blindfold.

So far I have created design drawings and have had numerous discussions with the client, who is a very creative and detail-oriented kinky person like myself. We get along well, needless to say. I initially created a pattern based on the measurements provided, and from that made a prototype in vinyl. Based on feedback from that test fit, I modified the pattern and am finally ready for the fun part - the cutting and sewing of the leather (woo-hoo!).

We're starting with a really beautiful black cowhide that is just the right combination of properties for this project, thick (but not too thick), soft but strong full-grain leather. I always use full-grain leather as opposed to top-grain or splits for my projects, as the natural beauty of the grain is intact. It is the most expensive and highest quality leather. Top-grain leather is less expensive and usually split, sanded and embossed with a leather texture that to me always looks fake - and it isn't as strong as full-grain, which is important when you are making restraints. Finally there is a character that comes through when you see the natural texture of the leather as it comes together in the piece - it makes each restraint completely unique. It becomes part of the soul of the piece.

This hide is about 50 square feet, and as you can see it barely fits on my layout table, which measures eight by four feet:
I am trying to show the texture and the weight of the leather here... It's really pretty stuff. Thick but soft. Usually when making restraints, the heavier the leather, the more restrictive-feeling the garment turns out. Makes sense when you think about it, but it's one thing I think of when I see the cheap sleepsacks from India that are sold online. They are so thin, I don't think they could offer much of a restraining feeling... This is kind of off the subject, but it brings up one point about why high-quality fetish gear is so expensive. The raw materials for this project cost more than the entire cheapo sleepsack made overseas.
OK, one thing about top-grain leather: since the surface hasn't been sanded down and re-embossed with fake leather texture, you have a real animal's skin which means you'll find marks from branding, insect bites, scars. On our hide there are several brands visible. One looks like a series of four letters:
And this one looks sort of like an anchor:
And I came across this small blemish as well. You start out with the leather good-side up so you can spot all these blemishes and imperfections, and make sure to avoid them when laying out your pattern pieces.
Since the pattern is laid out on the back side, I put a piece of tape there to mark the location of the blemish on the other side. The brands show through quite well (I know, poor cow, right?).
Now we can begin laying out the pattern pieces. You want to be as efficient as possible, and try and keep the waste to an absolute minimum. Also, I try and keep the best looking leather in the most visible parts of the piece.
Here we have all the pattern pieces traced onto the leather...
And here we have them all cut out:
Here we have most of the front-panels and arm-pockets.
Here is the left and right rear panels, along with the bottoms of the foot pockets.
And in this shot, the leg pockets, and the bands that complete the sides of the arm and leg pockets.
I know that didn't seem too hard, but this is actually a pretty complicated project with lots of pieces and components. Stick with me and I'll take you though all the down and dirty details...

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