This past week's project has been a male butterfly straitjacket for my friend Mark at Serious Bondage and Serious Images. I had done one a while back (a 2-tone in gray and brown), but wasn't completely happy with the fit, and so I wanted to make some tweaks and refinements to the pattern.
I wanted to base the new pattern on the female butterfly straitjacket pattern I have been working from for almost 10 years, and most recently made in gray leather (shown below). It just fits so well, and I thought it could be adapted without too much trouble.
The first step on a project like this is always the pattern. Whenever you make tweaks to an existing design, you have to make sure any changes to one part of the pattern are echoed in the other parts so it all fits together in the end. In this case, most elements were similar in shape - but I wanted to enlarge the arm pockets as well as the openings for the sleeves to make it a bit easier to get into the jacket. Of course, from the female to the male version, everything had to scale up as well.
Here I have almost all the parts needed cut out: 4 arm pocket panels, 2 fronts, 2 backs, arm pocket sides and a collar.
I won't cover every step here, as the construction of the butterfly straitjacket is something I talked about not too long ago... Here's just a few of the steps along the way. Body panels clipped:
Arm pockets clipped for sewing...
Arm pockets ready to be sewn to the body:
Arm openings glued and ready to be flattened:
Body together, ready for the seams at the collar and bottom edge:
One thing Mark mentioned was the need for a quality zipper. I had to custom order direct from YKK to get a solid brass heavy-weight #10 zipper with a black finish. These babies are tough, and beautiful, and with the minimum order, expensive. At least I have a bunch to use for future projects!
I've been experimenting lately with double-sided tape for holding zippers in place for sewing instead of the tape I usually use. It has good and bad points. If you position it right, it can be removed after you sew, although it still involves some careful peeling and picking.
Even with the tape, I like to back it up with clips when I'm sewing the 2nd side of the zipper.
My new technique for enclosing the zipper in the turned flap of the rolled edge is working out well. I really like having the zipper ends tucked in - it's both neater and stronger than having them on top of the rolled edge.
The same idea at the collar end:
Completed rolled edge:
And the finished jacket:
This color, a dark, rich reddish brown is really beautiful.
Next up: the hood!