Sunday, June 26, 2011

Lasted leather hood beauty shots

I wanted to post some nice images of the first project created using the hood last. I am really excited about making a couple of these wood forms to use in my production process, as I think it will help improve the fit of the hood and allow me to do some things that would be difficult to do otherwise, like built-up designs.
Leather naturally has a bit of stretch, and a form like this helps to create the shape you need for a smooth, skintight fit with a minimum of seams - especially around the chin. I'm inspired by shoe production techniques, and feel like this is just scratching the surface of what's possible.
I am using a garment or chap-weight leather here, but the last is something I could use to make things using casing techniques - with veg-tanned or extremely heavy leather. There are definitely some experiments ahead...
I'm looking forward to feedback from the client on this one!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Shaping leather with the hood last

I had a chance to use the carved hood form (hood last?) on a real-life project for the first time today. Using the same pattern and production method as usual for the hood itself, I took the final step of placing the finished hood on the wooden form in order to help "encourage" it to take shape.

In the past I had done this with a mannequin head made of foam, but I was never happy with the proportions of that head - the chin area in particular was too small and not the right proportion.
Surprisingly, this custom order was pretty close in size to the form I had just carved, so that worked out perfectly. It is actually slightly larger, so I stuffed some rags in at the back of the head for filler. It has to be tight for this to really do anything. Once I had it on, I was blown away - the shape just looks like there is a living person in there already. Very cool!!
I think the hardest part to get to fit correctly with a 4-panel hood like this is the chin. You have a couple of compound curves going on, and covering that with a flat material like leather is a challenge. I was hoping this form would act like the last used when making shoes. Traditionally, shoes were made by pulling the leather upper around the wood last and nailing it in place. I'm using the same idea here. Stretching the leather over the chin contour will help it fit perfectly... As you can see above, the fit along the jawline is pretty great.
The one thing I do want to tweak on the next hood last is the angle of the neck. It needs to go back a bit more, at a slightly sharper angle. You can see where the leather is a bit wrinkled on the front of the neck. Not acceptable! Something to fix for next time.
I am hoping to make these in a range of sizes, so all the hoods I make can be properly shaped. I see a lot of wood shavings in my future...

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Hood form wrap test 1

Now that I'm done carving the wooden head form it's time to test the thing to see if it actually works. Kind of like testing your answer in math class, where you put your answer into the original equation to see if it works out correctly...
In this case I'll be making a tight wrap of the form using plastic wrap and duct tape. If the form is accurate, the fit of the test wrap on my model should be perfect.
I draw a line at the rear where I am going to cut off the wrap.
Here's the wrap cut off of the form. It's amazing how well it holds the shape.
Now, where did my fit model go...?
The final result? It fits incredibly well, save for the chin - which is a bit too snug. I am going to add some wood there, and fine tune the shape until it is just right. I am really looking forward to using this form, as it will allow designs that I couldn't accomplish any other way.