Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Head Case - Molded Leather Experiment

Ever since I carved the wood hood forms a few months ago, one thing I have been wanting to try is making a hood out of a very heavy vegetable-tanned leather - stretching and shaping it over the form. Instead of being a "glove" for the head, this would make more of a stiff leather "case".

This is a completely different type of project than the garment and upholstery-type aniline-dyed leather sewing I usually do - it's more along the lines of making a holster, or one of those old-school, molded-leather camera cases.
I'm starting with a piece of 7-8 oz vegetable-tanned leather.
It's probably a little heavier than I want for a hood, but this will be a good experiment anyway. If I can make it work with this, the lighter-weight leather should be a breeze.
With my digital caliper this piece measured around 2.65 mm in thickness.
I'm curious to see if I can use my normal hood pattern on this, or if I am going to need to make a special pattern for the heavier material - a question I hope to answer with this test. I start by rough-cutting after tracing out my pattern shapes.
For the finished cut, I'm using my x-acto knife, leaving around 3/8" for the seam allowance.
A really sharp blade helps you get a clean cut.
The off-cuts are funny-thick - more like a pile of mini scrap lumber!
Now I have my component parts: 2 fronts, 2 backs. No tongue on this one, as the parts would be too thick and ungainly all layered together. Plus, this is just an experiment to see what I can do with the material anyway...
I start off clipping the front and rear panels together, as I would with a typical assembly.
In this case, I try to use my cylinder-bed machine, but have no luck getting through the 2-layers of thick leather. I break a few needles before giving up, and just using the machine to punch holes I can use to hand-stitch through.
Hand-stitching is slow and tedious work, and really makes you appreciate what (and how fast) your machine can (usually) do.
Some time later, the hand-stitching is done...
Now for the fun part. I submerge the leather in a bucket of warm water for about 5 minutes.
The transformation is noticeable right away. I can actually start to stretch and mold the (now rubbery, softened) leather over the wood head form. It takes some time and muscle, and I keep dunking the leather to help it take the shape.
After working it for some time, I turn up the edge of the front panels where it comes to meet the rear panels - it's almost like working with clay. To really get some leverage, I need to pull this tight to the form by lacing it on, but first I need to sew the front to the back.
Because the leather has been softened by the water, I'm now able to run this through my flat-bed machine - most of the way, at least - the top is a problem because of the thickness of those 4 seams (and 8 pieces) coming together.
At this point, I realize that I want to have the smooth leather on the outside, so I rip out all the stitches, and re-sew with the smooth side out. Remember, this is just an experiment, so I don't have to worry about all the holes I already put in along the seams.
At this point, after another dunking, more molding and hammering, It is really starting to take on the shape of the head form.
Now I can put those laces in and get a great amount of pressure on the wet leather.
The contour along the nose and chin are definitely the hardest part. But amazingly - this 7-8 oz leather is taking the shape of the head form.
This is where I left it last night.
And 24 hours later, I have this hardened, dry shell:
As you can see the water has mostly evaporated out, so the color is much lighter.
When I manage to ease the hood off of the form, it holds its shape extremely well. It's very stiff. And the best news: it fits the model. Perfectly!!
I need to work out a good way to stitch this type of piece, but for now I consider the experiment a success... There are a lot of ways I can finish this leather - from an oil-coat brown to shiny black or even paint with colors. I could even do tooling or stamped designs...
The seam allowances on this hood would definitely be part of the look, although I plan on shaving them down and finishing the edges a lot more than they are now. I may even continue to wet and stretch to see how far I can go. I need to try this with some 4-5 oz leather as well...
For now, I'm putting her back on the form to finish drying out completely...

Friday, May 25, 2012

FREE Butterfly Straitjacket Patterns

Well, here it is folks, the pattern for my world-famous butterfly straitjacket! Woo-hoo! And I'm giving it away for free. Why would I do such a thing? Because I love you, that's why.

This pattern has remained almost unchanged from the first time I made it back in 2003. The body panels have been tweaked and modified very little, although the arm pockets have gotten smaller over time.

I keep shaping down the arm pockets in the hopes of getting the tightest possible fit without becoming unbearable for the model. You can see in the image below how the arm pocket shape has evolved through 3 versions, getting progressively tighter each time:
Even at the small size, because it doesn't bind-up anywhere it is comfortable for long-term wear. This pattern is designed to fit a bit loose at the collar so a hood can be worn underneath.

PLEASE NOTE: the pattern does not show 3 pieces which I usually cut from the hide without using a pattern, namely the two (1.75-inch wide) strips needed for the rolled edge at the collar and lower edge of the jacket, and the one (2-inch wide) strip needed for the zipper tongue in the rear of the jacket. I usually cut these using a ruler after taking measurements from the actual workpiece so I get the length just right.

As I mentioned before, I plan to put together detailed instruction sheets and materials lists for all of these projects (someday), but for now I just wanted to get these out sooner rather than later...

Check out this post for a detailed step-by-step process for making this project.

Click here for the Butterfly Straitjacket "LARGE arm-pocket" pattern:

Click here for the Butterfly Straitjacket "MEDIUM arm-pocket" pattern:
Click here for the Butterfly Straitjacket "SMALL arm-pocket" pattern:
Click here for ALL 3 versions of the Butterfly Straitjacket pattern in one PDF file.

Good luck, have fun, and let me know if you have any questions, comments or suggestions. Oh, and feel free to share any pictures of your finished project, I'd love to see how things turn out.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

FREE Leather Bondage Hood Patterns

I'm posting 3 patterns below for female bondage hoods - one "standard" version which could be made with or without eye openings, and 2 open-face versions - one with a minimal opening that tightly frames the face, and the other open a little wider to show a bit more of the face.

These are the same patterns I used to make the hoods used in the series of images taken by Karen Hsiao which you can see here and here.

Each of these patterns is designed to be made in lightweight lamb or similar type of leather - something soft and stretchy is best. They're designed to be made with a laced rear opening, with a 2-piece tongue to keep your hair out of the laces. Although it isn't shown on the pattern, I usually space the grommets about an inch apart - #00 size grommets work well.

Be sure to make your own measurements and adjust the pattern to fit if necessary. These are sized rather petite, designed to fit someone with a forehead measurement of 21.25 inches, neck of 12.25 inches, and chin-to-crown of 25.75 inches. For all you metric system people out there, that's 54cm forehead, 31cm neck, and 64.5cm chin-to crown.

If you look at these patterns you'll notice there is no seam allowance necessary on the 2 tongue parts - those can be cut directly to size. And remember to cut & flop the front and rear panel pieces. I'll be posting a detailed step-by-step on these shortly...

Click here for the "standard" female hood pattern.

Click here for the open-face hood.
... and click here for the open face hood with a slightly wider opening.
I look forward to seeing what you come up with, and please feel free to share any feedback or questions with me here: christopherfetish(at)

Long Bondage Mitten Pattern

Hello all! I have been hard at work making digital versions of a bunch of leather project patterns lately, and will have a series of them to share with you in the near future. There will be patterns for the butterfly straitjacket as well as my latest hood designs and an armbinder.

It is taking a bit of time to digitize everything, but hopefully it will be worth the wait...

The first pattern in this new set is the long bondage mitten project I first made a few months ago. I actually made another pair this past weekend in a gorgeous red lamb leather (with a couple of matching hoods). These are made to be extremely tight, and have zippers at the wrist to allow a very close fit.

I am actually hoping to put together a little instruction sheet with a materials list for each project as well, but for now this is all I can do! Bear with me, there are only so many hours in the day...

To get your own PDF file of this pattern, click here.

Remember, you'll need to edit the pattern to match your model's measurements, and to take into account your leather thickness and fit preferences as well. But, at least this should be a good starting-off point for you to work from - a shop-tested, working pattern.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Butterfly Straitjacket with open breasts

Finally had a chance to shoot the butterfly jacket on a model - the open-breast version. I paired it with the recently made mouth-only hood in off-white lamb, which made for a killer combination. I am really happy with the fit and look of the open-breast jacket - this one has the smallest arm-pockets yet. It is just sexy as hell!

The next step is to make the jacket and hood connected, so you don't have 2 layers overlapping at the neck... maybe the entire jacket in the soft lamb leather?

Friday, May 11, 2012

Male Butterfly Straitjacket Project Pix

So, with the recent project for Mark and friends at Serious Bondage complete, the only thing left was to take some nice photos so I have something to remember the project by before I send it off. Back when I asked Mark what size he wanted me to make these things, he just said "Make it fit you", so that is what I did. So that means I get to be the model as well. Oh, goody!

BTW: Friends of mine who happen to check out my blog from time to time, if you don't want to see me tied up, look away now! Fair warning!!!

As you can see from the pix below, the fit of the hood is quite nice. The wood hood form and stretch spray worked to create a nice 3-dimensional shape from my flat leather starting point.

As I mentioned before, the darts at the chin really help the fit in that part of the hood. Ideally, the fewer seams the better, but those little darts make a big difference in the contour of that tricky-to-fit area - especially with this heavy-weight leather. It's a good trade-off.
The one thing I do want to adjust for next time is the length of the side panels at the point where the seams meet at the base of the neck. I think it is just a little too long, and could be maybe 1/4-inch shorter. The front of the neck seems to be a perfect length though, and the nose-holes are perfectly positioned for easy breathing.
Now, with the jacket:
The butterfly straitjacket is definitely a different sort of feel from a traditional straitjacket, in that your arms aren't closely wrapped and bound to your body, but rather trapped within the arm pocket with somewhat limited movement. With the zipper pulled up to the top of the high collar, I think it would be pretty difficult to get yourself out.
I initially thought of this more as a female restraint, based on my concept of a male master "pinning down" a female partner. But for the male wearer, it is a rather frustrating and fun experience, one that keeps you from being able to do anything with your hands.
Coupled with the hood, it is a pretty intense experience, and a great combination of enclosure and exposure, leaving you feeling quite vulnerable. I hope Mark and friends are happy with the end result...