Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Gray Butterfly Straitjackets

My last post had the hood in gray leather, but I also made a couple of butterfly straitjackets in the same leather at the same time. I keep pushing the butterfly straitjacket design as far as I can, in this case making one version pretty true to the pattern, and a second with slightly smaller arm-pockets and open-breast cut-outs. I tend to keep making things smaller and smaller, until they just don't fit anymore...

I may need to post the pattern for this, as I think it's a really good starter project. Let me know if you are interested. It's not too difficult to sew, although setting in the sleeves can be a little tricky the first time. Here we have all the pieces for the jacket: collar, arm pocket panels, arm pocket side strips, and 2 front and 2 rear panels.
The first parts clipped for sewing: the front middle seam, and 2 arm pockets with the sides attached.
Next, we sew the 2nd side to the arm pockets, and the sides and shoulder seams to the body.
I'm skipping ahead, as I've already covered making this jacket before in more detail on the blog. Here we have the arms and collar sewn to the body. This is the place where I am trying something new with setting in the zipper.
My notes for the order of the steps I want to take - I basically want to enclose the end of the zipper in the rolled-edge seam, and to do this requires a slightly different method than I normally use.

In case you can't my chicken scratch:
1. Fold edge of opening
2. Sew strip along bottom
3. Trim tab & fold flap in
4. Set zipper & sew in
5. Fold up rolled edge & topstitch

So, our first step is to fold the leather along the rear opening.
Step 2 is to sew the strip that will become the rolled edge along the opening. I make this strip about 1.75" wide.
The collar gets the same treatment.
The stitch is about .2" from the edge.
Next, (step 3) we trim the tab that folds around to be tucked-in.
Here's the tab viewed from the outside:
Step 4: set the zipper and sew it in.
I'm starting the zipper so the separating mechanism sits just above the rolled edge. It is a little tricky to sew right up to the edge because of the thickness of the rolled seam. But sewing it now makes it easier than if it is rolled all the way.
At this point, the zipper runs beyond the end of the jacket's collar.
Using clips and tape, I sew the zipper for the other side in place.
Now I trim the zipper to length, and burn the cut edge with a flame to keep it from unraveling.
Now that our zipper is trimmed to length on both sides, we can finish rolling the edge over - trapping the cut end of the zipper inside.
This is topstitched, holding the rolled edge in place, and securing the zipper ends as well.
Here is a shot with the tongue sewn-in.
And a close-up showing the zipper tucked into the rolled edge seam. This nicely integrates the zipper and edge into one unit.
Voila! Another one done...
Actually, two: One the classic look:
and one with open breasts and (even smaller!) arm pockets. I would love to show you this one on, but couldn't find anyone willing to show their boobies online. Take my word for it, it looks smashing. Maybe next time...


  1. Fantastic and stunning work as always Chris.
    I don't know about the rest of your readers, but I for one would love the chance to attempt to craft a butterfly jacket from your pattern. The sincerest form of flattery of course.

    1. Cool Merena, thanks! I'll get a scan of the pattern together, and would love to see what you do with it.

  2. Christopher.
    Thank you again for a fantastic post at your blog.
    I alwayas pick up some new ideas. Your pictures are so easy to follow and gives so much information.
    I would be so happy if you would like to share the pattern of this fantstic butterflyjacket. It would be perfect to my new project.

    All the best

    1. Thanks, Soren - I'm learning too as I go along, and am glad to share.

  3. Your work is incredible. I would love to se pattern for this jacket. Also, I would love your updated hood pattern as mention in earlier blog.

  4. i'd also like to see the pattern, although i don't know if i'd actually make it. :-/

    and i know that it's against the name of the blog, but since leather is kind of expensive, can you maybe comment on other materials?

    thanks, and i always love looking at your work! :)

    1. hey sammy, I understand what you're saying about leather being expensive, and it can be, but for hoods you don't need much at all, and you can get a lamb hide for around $30. That is around 8 square feet, and from it you could make a couple of hoods.

      For a jacket like this you need at least 12 square feet - and it should be in a heavier leather - when I was starting out, I would buy old leather jackets at the thrift store for raw material. The challenge was to find a jacket with large seamless areas. These days I see few that would work. You could even get a leather couch maybe, if you can get over the "ick" factor - it could yield a ton of leather.

      You could always use vinyl, and there are some really cool ones out there now, but they usually feel kind of yucky on - the vinyl doesn't breathe so it's kind of like wearing a trash bag. Of course, some might be into that sort of thing! =0) The other tricky thing is finding the right weight of vinyl. Most I find is either too thick (and stiff) or too thin (and stretchy). But for cost, you would be more in the $15 per linear foot range, vs. $4 per square foot in leather.

      Finally, there is always canvas and denim-weight fabrics. I know Dr. Mad Max uses a lot of canvas, but I don't love the look. Still, if you're looking for maximum restraint for minimal lucre, it's an option!

  5. do you have any or know of any tutorials on ponyplay bridles? I can't find any ANYWHERE!!! help! knittingninja@yahoo.com

    1. That's not something I have seen anywhere, sorry! I am currently working on some harness-type head restraints, but not specifically with that pony-style.