Thursday, February 24, 2011

Square Armbinder - step-by-step

If you've followed this blog for a while you may recognize this from past posts where I discussed the prototype: the square armbinder. I built it this past weekend, as a companion piece to the hood in the last post. The process of developing the pattern for this was pretty tricky, as there are just 6 main pieces, and adjustments to one part of the pattern had a way of rippling through the other pieces. Each time I adjusted a line or shape, it would affect things like the alignment of the darts, or the fit of the neck opening, which have to be tweaked to end up just right.

Here is my final master pattern, developed as a result of the six prototypes I made in vinyl and leather. For the working pattern, I want to make room for the lacing panel which will allow the fit to be tightened or loosened as needed.
The pieces that were cut out have been joined together to make the pattern for the tongue that will go behind the laces. Part of the challenge (or fun, depending on how you look at it) is figuring out how you are going to put the thing together. I'll talk more about that later, but below you can see the working pattern ready to go. You have the main panels for the front and back, along with the pattern pieces for the bottom of the arm pocket and collar which have been split to accommodate the lacing panel.
I start by tracing out the pattern pieces on the leather.
Before I can cut the piece for the tongue, I need to add a total of 1.25 inches all around. This is to accommodate the grommets and to give me a margin for sewing. The tongue will be topstitched blind into place, and I want plenty of room.
Here's the pattern for the tongue, extended all around.

Here are all the pieces cut out (sorry about the lack of focus)! 2 front panels, 2 rear panels, collar and bottom of pocket in 2 parts, and finally our tongue.
The first step is to sew all the darts on the front and rear panels.
Darts sewn:

Darts glued and flattened:
Next, I'll sew on the bottoms of the arm pocket.

Glue and flatten the seam.

Next, we sew the front panels to the rear panels.
And glue and flatten those as well...
Now for the collar pieces, which get the same treatment.
It's starting to look like something... I haven't joined the left and right sides together yet, as I was thinking it would be easier to sew the tongue in if they weren't.

At this stage I am ready to fold over and glue all the seam allowances, except for the little tab will join them together.
Here the seams are turned and flattened, ready for the tongue. I know, that sounds strange, right?

So, since I built in the 1.25 inch margin on the tongue, I'll mark in 1.25 inches from the edge of the laced opening so I have a guide when placing the tongue. As long as I align with the marks we should be in good shape.
I kind of skipped ahead here to having the whole tongue sewn in. I also sewed the two halves together at that little tab. It went pretty well, I must say - and here is what it looks like inside-out.
Now right-side out:
And the view from the rear:
Now we're at the step where I'll put the turned edge on the collar and the arm opening. For this I cut strips to length a couple of inches longer than the edge, and 1.75 inches wide.
These get clipped into place,
and glued and rolled into place.
Now it's on to the collar and tongue...
And that completes the major sewing operations for this piece. It really looks like something at this point.
I now just mark the spacing for the grommets, punch the holes and set the grommets. Thread the lacing, and it is one done armbinder!
Here's the view of the backside:
And the front, complete!
This has been a really cool project, and I can't wait to see it on. If I did my job right, it should fit like a glove. Maybe the client will send a picture when he receives the item? There's always hope, right? Take care, and thanks for stopping by!


  1. Now that's too cool. Looks cozy!

  2. I love your work - not sure how to make contact with you but am interested in a pair of tan / brown leather mittens - ideally tight , lockable with the intention of use for outdoor concealed bondage ...

  3. Thanks, Velicia!

    Mittens, just email me at christopherfetish(at) I am backed up with projects in the queue right now, but if you have a lot of patience...

  4. Do you have this as a digital pattern or would provide a non-distorted pic on squared paper? Would really appreciate.

    1. Sorry Lolli, I don't have this one digitized. I tend to only publish a pattern if I've made it a bunch of times and worked out all the kinks.