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 Soft Parts WIP / Build Log

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Soft Parts WIP / Build Log
« on: Jun 30, 2021, 08:12 PM »
Starting up a build log of my soft kit items to document what I've been up to and get feedback from the community.
EDIT: Added a full length pic of the current status. Need to tailor the legs in and hem the bottoms. Any feedback is appreciated.

So My Plan involves a grey flightsuit.
I also like comfort and ease of use so I'm making a two-piece design.
Workwear separates to the rescue!
I got two shirts, one my size and one 4xl and one pair of pants in the 'same' color. They are slightly off so I may over-dye the whole thing once I'm satisfied with the fit. Weathering may help as well.

Gotta take off them outer pockets and such.

Uh, I guess I'll get these hidden somehow - maybe Kama? Possibly some top-stitched panels that look like Space Reinforcement.
That is a problem for future me.

I disassembled the larger shirt and made outer sleeves from...the sleeves. Then I stitched them on.

And added a little greeblie / rando tool pocket to one sleeve. Maybe some code cylinders.

I cut a long strip from the dis-assembled body panels and made a cover for the buttons, and voila. Concealed closure.

I started on the pants by cutting out pieces for thigh pouches from the extra shirt. 

I did one as a straight Boba-style and then modified the pattern to make some slightly different ones because asymmetry.
Then there was stitchery, both machine and by hand.

The one large pouch I made as a complete unit with it's own back, then sewed it on to make additional places to store greeble things and tools.

Also grabbed my heat gun, took some scrap black 3mm sintra & a silver paint pen and made a 'prybar'.
Pretty sure they have regular tools in the Star Wars universe.

There is no such thing as too many pouches.

I wasn't fully satisfied with the spread once the pants were on so I selectively stitched the two larger left side pouches together along their shared edge. .

I had to check and make sure my holsters fit. They do, with room to mount knees and everything.

So far, so good.  I need to get to tailoring the bottoms of the legs for a better fit, and document the alterations I've done to the top for fit. I haven't gotten a full-length shot made yet for review and commentary.
EDIT:  full-length picture added at top. 
Other Soft Kit items to get started: 
Flak Vest 
Neck Seal, may attach directly to flightsuit
Maybe kama?
Girth belt
Ammo and Gun belt
some heavy cloth Fett side pouches - I have some leather ammo pouches already.
Shoulder cape, for which I have found what I think is the right cloth:

I love the non-centered stripe and the weight and drape are great. It's a wool blend so it'll wear well, and cuts and holes shouldn't unravel too badly. If there's enough left over I may make additional soft parts from it to coordinate. 

That's the story so far.

« Last Edit: Jul 06, 2021, 03:06 PM by Second Son » Logged
Re: Soft Parts WIP / Build Log
« Reply #1 on: Jul 18, 2021, 02:19 AM »
Just a little update - working on flak vest.

I liked how my first go at a flak vest worked but there are some improvements to be made.
For starters, V1 is two layers of heavy canvas which makes it really sturdy but it didn't breathe well, even if it is cotton, which wouldn't be fun to wear in hot weather. So for V2 I'm going to have a lighter-weight cotton canvas shell (black), a layer of wool batt (trust me on this, it's the best option for padding the clothes you wear under armor - synthetic fiber batt will make you hate everything that ever was) and the lining will be in linen(also black). If you've ever worn linen in the summer, you know it's very comfortable and wicks sweat very well.  Even with the padding it should breathe better than the V1. 
I started by tracing the outline of V1 onto my cheap fabric.   

I added some seam allowances all around (left the bottom long). Cut out the back and front (neckline higher in back like you do). Not pictured: basting the shoulder seams and test-fitting to make sure the lines were reasonably good and the fit was acceptable before pulling it apart again. 
While I had the cheap fabric out I also started patterning a base for a neck seal - I think I will do it all in the black linen with a single layer of the wool batt quilted with horizontal lines around. That should wick necksweat nicely and it will last basically forever.

My internal debate is: stitch my neckseal down to my flight suit or have it separate? Keeping track of fewer pieces has an appeal to it.
I could split the difference and have it snap or velcro on but then there's extra hardware on the flight suit.

Then I started fiddling about with laying out lines for quilting in the padding to sell the fact that it's a foundation garment for armor and not a fashion accessory.

V1 had a very simple closure with a pair of plastic side buckles. I'm looking at upping the look by having side panels with some velcro instead - I'm going back and forth on whether the side panels are in matching black color or using some natural color linen for the outer layer - good place to catch some space grime. Either way, the side panels will be lightly quilted, running parallel to my waist to contrast the mostly vertical main body quilting.

Here's some color palette mockups to help visualize where I'm at.

My flight suit is a faintly warm grey (might overdye it to be slightly darker still). The canvas and linen are nearly identical shades of black. I found a nice wine/burgundy color canvas that will be a cod and butt plate foundation belt/sash.
Threw in a painted armor bit too - body plates will be in this same blue.

And here's a scrap of natural linen for comparison.

I'm wondering if another color will just make it busy or dilute the concept. I'm open to feedback and suggestions.


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  • Kerru Bhan
Re: Soft Parts WIP / Build Log
« Reply #2 on: Jul 18, 2021, 01:42 PM »
I don't think an accent color would make it busy, you've got a lot of solid color blocking there. Maybe some gold or copper on the armor, or contrast topstitching in your soft parts?

She told me never venture out among the asteroids
But I did, I did, I did
And she said that the Milky Way was something to avoid
And I did, I did, I did
She said that Venus was too hot and Saturn not much fun
Bug-eyed monsters tended to be just a trifle dumb
She said I'd need a blaster and I'd need a freezer-gun
And I did, I did, I did...
Re: Soft Parts WIP / Build Log
« Reply #3 on: Jul 18, 2021, 04:11 PM »
Thanks for the feedback.  Contrast stitching would really set the quilting off and I could swap the side panel and main body colors for the thread colors to tie them together.  I'll mock it up and see how it looks.

I've already got some bright yellow Danger Stripes on my gauntlets and yellow accents on my knees so I don't know if adding more to the armor is an improvement, or just more.  Might be something to add to the helmet to help it correspond to my armor - perhaps as detail painting on the earcaps or rangefinder.

Re: Soft Parts WIP / Build Log
« Reply #4 on: Jul 20, 2021, 08:27 PM »
Itty Bitty Flak Vest Update:

Quilting the front panel!

I got my shell and lining pieces cut out.  I trimmed out my front and back layers of batt, cutting in at the sides to allow closure flaps to sit more flush to the main body.

Then I pinned the batt to the WRONG side of the lining, and basted it with long loose stitches with thread that clearly contrasts with the finish fabrics.

I traced quilting lines (final lines not actually pictured...) in chalk on the right side of the shell

and then pinned the RIGHT sides of the shell and lining together.  Then I stiched the whole sandwich at the edges from the batt side, 1/2" from the edge (I'm a madman who likes close seam allowances)

SIDE NOTE : Directional sewing. It will make your life and your sewing go so much better.
Then I flipped the thing right side out (trim your corners, clip your curves!) and topstitched the edges again, 1/2" in.
I fiddled one more time with my stitching layout and ran with it. I stitched my vertical lines from the top down, starting in the middle and working outward symetrically. Horizontal and diagonals I started from the midline and worked outward. Afterward I pulled my basting threads out and trimmed my loose threads.

I couldn't resist checking it out.  My pillow is not exactly shaped like me but it'll do for a minute.

Tonight I will finalize my stitching layout for the back panel and get it going - the process will be the same so I'll throw a pic of the results in next time I update.
After I get my main panels set I'll work on getting the length right (left long for final fitting) and then side panels, shoulder flaps,  and closures.

Arco'thyel Wyshla

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Re: Soft Parts WIP / Build Log
« Reply #5 on: Jul 21, 2021, 11:07 PM »
Very nice work! I really appreciate you sharing the step-by-step with images, you've shared quite a few techniques I didn't know about. Looking forward to the final vest!

| Hard Goods WIP | Soft Goods WIP | Planning Log |

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Re: Soft Parts WIP / Build Log
« Reply #6 on: Jul 22, 2021, 11:51 AM »
Very nice work! I really appreciate you sharing the step-by-step with images, you've shared quite a few techniques I didn't know about. Looking forward to the final vest!

Thanks vod. I'm learning a lot of this as I go, sharing what I find.
I'm also looking forward to getting the vest sorted out - I am positively itching to get my plates taken from roughly shaped to finished forming so I can get to painting them.

Re: Soft Parts WIP / Build Log
« Reply #7 on: Jul 25, 2021, 06:16 PM »

 I got my back panel put together. I stitched the front and back at the shoulders using zig-zag stitch set to the longest widest stitch my machine will do.

..and I've done shoulder caps.  I have seen lots of shoulder pads that are a bit like flappy wings that function just fine, but I wanted a more tailored look so I  pinned and played with some cheap fabric to get the shape I needed

and then quilted it like the body panels. I skipped basting because the pieces were so small, it turned out ok.

I put the topstitch lines on top of each other (flap underneath) and then sewed through ALL the layers. 

I think this is going to work - the flaps are open enough to allow arm movement but follow the line of the shoulder seam. 

Still need to:
- hem the bottom
- get the closure to work and also look good.

Re: Soft Parts WIP / Build Log
« Reply #8 on: Jul 30, 2021, 05:37 PM »
Check my Armor WIP for some beauty shots of the current flak status - no point double posting the images.  I'm happy with the length but I did not do well on my closure flaps. I may have to re do them entirely.

For now, let's talk about neck seals. I had mentioned starting the pattern earlier but hadn't shared any progress since then.  I finished it off and wanted to get some feedback.
For the base I pretty much traced the neckline of my flak, but offset the neck line inward to keep it close and took the outside edges in away from the arm holes/shoulder seam.

After that part was together I took a rectangle-ish scrap of my black linen and sandwiched some wool batt inside - should be very breathable, even in warmer weather. And when I sweat, the fibers will wick nicely, much better than cotton. Like a swamp cooler for my neck.

I went ahead and quilted it narrow - I liked the way it set off against the wider-set lines on my vest.

Pin, and stitch.  I hand finished the raw edge of the neck wrap to the inside, rolling it over to prevent fray.

Snaps for securing the neck meat protector

And I tried it out.  Gotta get started on my OM bucket so I can put the V1 on a display stand. For now it works to test things out.

Re: Soft Parts WIP / Build Log
« Reply #9 on: Aug 09, 2021, 12:46 AM »
I was working out plate placement with lockback pins (see my armor WIP ), and even went so far as to epoxy pins to my collar and back plate. A day later I realized I didn't actually like the result, as I'm not convinced the steel epoxy will hold up over time.
I want a bomb-proof mounting method that will let me remove my plates for washing sweaty stonk out of my flak vest, and allow me replace them in the exact same spot. The pins wouldn't really do that.
I also wanted to avoid cutting holes in the base fabric like I would need to with grommets - I spent a lot of time getting the quilting to look and feel right and the thought of cutting holes in it just felt wrong.

I decided that I would just go for it and mount plates using self clinching studs, and to avoid metal grommets I fell back on a (really) old school solution - stitched eyelets. 
Eyelets are as washable as the base fabric, as strong or stronger than metal grommets, and can actually be removed and relocated if necessary.
In a nutshell:  locate hole, use a tapered awl to push through the fabric, moving the fibers aside without cutting or breaking them, whipstitch to stretch and hold the opening, then run a tight buttonhole stitch all around the hole. 
Pictures of the shoulder plate holes - I did them in blue to see what I was doing while I re-learned how to do it. I think they turned out ok.

Keeping the pins a few minutes more kept the plates where they needed to be. I jiggled the position of the pins without fully removing any plates, since they were still just taped to most of the plates. I marked holes with a centerpunch, and drilled the holes with the plates still on the vest (I put a wedge of wood between the metal and the cloth).
Once I had a few of the holes made, I poked through them with my awl to place eyelets on the vest. I popped the plates off one at a time, stitched a few eyelets in, installed corresponding studs, replaced the plate with the studs/eyelets, and located some more eyelets. Lather rinse repeat for the remaining studs and eyelets on the main body plates.
My main body holes I did in black thread to make them blend and disappear.

I'd say it's pretty successful. My next chance for a good block of work I'll replace the pins I epoxied to the collar and back plates with studs and get some matching eyelets stitched in.
I still need to re-work how I'm mounting my Iron Heart - I want that piece to be bare, polished brass so I'll have to get clever with how it's held on.

Getting closer to where I want to be.

Re: Soft Parts WIP / Build Log
« Reply #10 on: Sep 03, 2021, 05:49 PM »
Soft Parts Mini Update - Weathering Test

I'm feeling good about the fit of my flightsuit, so I am going to start adding layers of dirt-ification to get my soft kit looking not-so-new.
I decided to practice by starting out with some Boba-style hip pouches. I made them last year and got as far as dying one pale blue and putting the other through a tea wash but that was it.

I'm really not wanting to go with rattle can weathering, I don't want to add topical layers that risk stiffening the fabrics. I also am not a good enough painter to make rattle cans look like anything but a paint job.
For the same reason, I don't want to try standard art acrylic paint work on my soft goods (I am really not a very good brush painter yet).
I've gotten ahold of an acrylic-based fabric paint/ink/dye called Dye-Na-Flow (Jacquard makes it) that when dry and heat set is light and wash-fast (I have yet to really push on that) and started experimenting with thinned black, brown, and ochre. I hesitantly tried out a color called Brick but it showed a little too pink on the blue - perhaps better mixing, and less thinning will get better results.
It seems to bleed across the cloth and build layers of color pretty well, which is fantastic since I want to layer several different concentrations and maybe even color mixes - I got a few basic earthy colors to get started.
The fact that it flows and seeps takes most of the issue of mediocre brush work out of the equation - All I really have to do is encourage a direction, or pick an area and let liquid-on-fabric action do the rest.
I did try to concentrate placement at edges and high-touch places like the tabs, but for the most part I just sort of slapped colored liquid on and let it ride.

 Not bad for a first pass.  I'll play with these for a bit longer before committing to the flight suit. I also got the more opaque version of the same color palette in hopes of getting some nice grimy coloration onto my black flak vest. Next time I think I'll use a more neutral tone instead.

Re: Soft Parts WIP / Build Log
« Reply #11 on: Sep 05, 2021, 02:05 PM »
Update to the Update
I was feeling good about the pouches, and after letting them dry fully I was happy with things so I set about adding some weathering to my flight suit. For my lighter parts I'm using Jacquard Dye-na-flow which is a very fluid dye/ink/paint crossover (used it on the hip pouches in last update too).  I started with brown and black, thinned down and I began by just running the dye/ink really wet along seams and stitches, added a few layers at top-facing seams - the knees have a reinforcing double layer so lots of brown and black wash got dribbled in there. After that initial pass dried, I went back and added more streaking and spotting in the field: knees, elbows, on the torso and backside. I used brown and black again, and added Burnt Umber into the mix, which when thinned adds a bit of a rusty/brick undertone. I put the top on, added some colored liquid and smeared it with my hands to mimic wiping my hands off while working, bent my arms and soaked onto the points of my elbows and then expanded on the splotches after removing the top. I also brushed across the 'rumples' that happen at seams and smeared across to pick out the natural textures in the fabric. At the end when I had to break for sleep time, I put the pants on and wiped my hands clean on them, making sure to use up all the leftover colors built up on my fingers.
I'm pretty happy with the current state for a first layer. Sometime in the next week I'm going to do a kit-up to see how it is looking and see where I should be adding more Space Grime. If it looks good as-is I'll tap the brakes, because it's probably possible to over-weather.

After my first pass

Closeups on the thigh pouches. Much like the belt pouches, I cut some upholstery foam blocks to fill them and promote the colors to flow around the shape of a full pocket. The blocks will do for trooping until I can create greebles and doodads to swarz it out.

Back views - put a splotch at my lower back for a bit of "dried sweat", and started on the seat of my pants - I don't think I'll do too much more there.

Added a little bit of a ring around the collar - if I'm armored down (to work a table or be a supporter) I still want the flight suit to show like a lived-in garment that's part of the star wars universe.

At the end of the night (after wiping my hands off) I put the hems of both legs into the remaining dye/water cup to let the last bits of color liquid soak upward into the legs. Turned out ok.

I have also started working on the darker fabrics in my soft goods - I am feeling too timid to dive in on my flak vest so I'm starting with the padded liners/spats I made to put behind my lower leg armor.
I'm using a Jacquard product called Neopaque - it's fancy fabric paint but I wanted to treat myself.
First step, as usual, is to test out and sketch. I worked on a dummy swatch of the quilted material I made during flak vest-ing.
I'd really recommend to anyone making their own soft goods to make a few swatches like this out of scraps & offcuts.
It helps me get comfortable as I try out new things before committing to the Official Pieces.

Once I felt I had a good feel in my brushing hand (still not 100% confident but I'm learning a lot of this as I go anyway) I went to town on the spats.  I've focused on the portion that will be visible between the plates - the portion above, behind the shin plate, will receive a very light treatment so it doesn't look wrong if it gets exposed.
The main color I used is pain old Brown, focused at the edges and in the center of the raised quilted portions, bleeding downward into the stitches very little. I'm thinking it may be a little bit spotty so as I work it some more I will try to smear across panels more.
I added faint highlight lines of Ochre in the stitching (dab a bit, and smear with thumb to rub it in), and essentially dry-brushed the edges and some upwards into the stitches again with a pale, creamy not-quite white/not-quite tan color named Tanned Leather with a dab-and-smear approach.

I kept going with the lower portion in case I opt to forgo instep plates for comfort or whatever other reason.

Underside first pass - will probably do a bit more thinned brown in the stitching but not much more. It's a low visibility spot but it feels right to at least age it a little.

So far, so good.  I'll hit the spats some more as I have free time over the next week, getting my eye and hand more practiced and then I'll get nuts on the flak vest.
I'd appreciate all constructive feedback and pointers for improving my techniques.

Re: Soft Parts WIP / Build Log
« Reply #12 on: Sep 10, 2021, 07:24 PM »
I decided I need to buckle down and start making a girth belt/sash that would work as a 'waist item' and also support my lower body armor. 
So I took some canvas, linen, and the remains of my wool batt and got to work. I have gotten the back panel finished, and the front to the point where I can test it out for fitting the cod plate.

For the sash/girth belt I added interfacing, since I needed more structure and less flex.

The process is the same as my previous pieces, but I clipped the interfacing closer to the stitching to reduce bulk at the seams.
I put my interfacing behind the shell fabric, not the lining. I wanted the back side quilting to be more 'poofy' and soft against my body.

I added a tab to the bottom to attach the butt plate. Shell is cotton canvas in a rich deep red that is almost plum. It's nicely muted.

Lining in bright red linen for a fun pop of color.

Don't forget - make a swatch or two of your soft kit pieces to test out the weathering!

Color test against the body armor and pants.  Check my armor WIP for some current full-length pics of the kit with the front attached also.
It's not a lot of update but it feels good to make this bit of progress. 

Re: Soft Parts WIP / Build Log
« Reply #13 on: Sep 17, 2021, 10:54 PM »
I've re-focused my energy to moving the Bucket along while weather lets me paint, but have made some incremental soft kit progress: I finished construction on my girth/sash, attached the plates, and started doing some weathering with my fancy fabric colors.
I'm starting off subtle, I figure if I need to I can always add more. I'm not feeling brave enough to do much more than washes in the stitching channels and highlights at the edges just yet.

On advice from my local leadership, I've begun tailoring my pant legs a bit closer - I haven't committed to removing the excess yet but I have stitched the lines in, and they do fit closer while permitting movement. I'll get another kit-up picture set next week.

I've also started playing around with gloves - removing and covering labels etc. I think these will do.  I feel I might have painted myself into a corner a little bit - not really sure the best way to mount these hand plates.
Going to stitch some lines on the pads and see how I'm feeling about this path.

Fenn Beviin

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Re: Soft Parts WIP / Build Log
« Reply #14 on: Sep 23, 2021, 09:39 AM »

Your soft parts are spectacular.

Amazing job!!!

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