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 Kotir's Soft Parts Work Log (picture heavy)

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Kotir's Soft Parts Work Log (picture heavy)
« on: Aug 16, 2022, 09:41 PM »
**update 09.21.22** this is now a thread for all of my soft parts, not just the flak vest   :like:

Su'cuy! Time to start another work log, this time for my flak vest. I plan to make most of my soft parts by hand, so keeping separate topics for each seems best to me. I'm far more experienced with sewing than I am armor making, which is why I've gone this route for the vest. I'm a very visual learner, so I tried to document as much as I could, but I'm so used to sewing that I definitely forgot a few steps, and following this along would need some previous knowledge of sewing and pattern making. That being said, I'll just jump right in.

I try to start everything on paper so I remember what I was originally thinking when I inevitably forget about something small in the process, so here's my initial plan (I forgot to add that it will have a bias tape style finish on the edges). I started to plan out the stitching patterns I like, but that is not final yet. I'm opting for a back closure even though I know that will potentially be annoying, just beacuse I like the way it looks the most. I can reach my hands all the way across my back so hopefully it won't be an issue. If it is, well.. I have a pattern so it would be pretty easy to alter it into a side closure. I'm undecided on if it will be zip or velcro, so I was playing around with some ideas to hide it either way.

Here's all of the supplies I've used so far, neatly labelled for your convenience. (minus the matching grey thread, oops)

First order of business is patterning. I used a vest that had vaguely the right shape and traced it out onto some paper. I then cut this pattern out on a $6 flat bedsheet from target's pillowfort as a test to refine the pattern. I made notes straight onto the fabric for my second draft.

Using these alterations, I traced the test fabric onto gridded wrapping paper, to keep the lines straight.

After this was another test fit with the bedsheet, which needed some further adjustments. The collar and shoulders needed fixing as indicated by the red line, but I was pretty happy with the arm holes. I knew I would need to take some in on the sides when I cut it out onto the real fabric, but I would rather have it be slightly too big than too small, so I didn't mess with the width. I made the appropriate adjustments to the pattern, and called step one done.

I found a nice grey duck canvas that I liked, and the person at the cutting counter offered me 80% an extra yard on top of Joann's usual 40% off coupon, so I was extra stoked to have found it. I had some cotton batting at home already that I hoped would be good enough (it was), so the plan was to have the batting sandwiched between two layers of duck cloth. I cut out my first layer of that, and sewed it together at the shoulders and sides before trying it on inside out. I pinned the seams against myself to know where to bring it in to, and drew a better neckline with tailor's chalk. I traced a straight line on either side based off these pins and sewed along it to bring it to the proper size.

I tried it on again right side out, just to make sure everything was fitting right. and it was!

I cut out and sewed the batting to the measurements established by the previous step, and sewed the two pieces wrong side to right side with a small seam allowance along the side and the neck using a matching grey thread, just to keep them together. I also ironed the seams flat. This is important for the top stitching I want to do along the seams to give them some extra strength.

I used this double layered piece to adjust my pattern for the inner lining, and again sewed it along the shoulders and sides with seams ironed flat and open and fit it inside of the double layered part.

I then stitched another small seam allowance along the top and around the arm holes, being very careful to keep the seams aligned, and being sure that I was stitching through all 3 layers.

Making sure the seams were flat and aligned to each other, I topstitched down either side of the side and shoulder seams to secure everything together at those points. I used a thicker quilting thread in a contrasting colour, because I'm a big fan of how that looks. This picture makes me think I need to get better at sewing straight lines, but it looks good from any distance bigger than a foot so it's okay.

Finally, here's my last try on for now. Everything fits! You may have noticed (or not) that I didn't mention anything about the bottom hem. This is because I've intentionally left it long, so that I can hem it to the length that will best fit my chest armor, which has yet to be made or even sized. The green line is my best guess to where it will actually end.

That's all I've got to offer for now. If you stuck around and read this whole thing, I hope you enjoyed and I'll hopefully report back for another update soon!

« Last Edit: Sep 21, 2022, 07:32 PM by kenobithinker » Logged
ke’nu’duumi kyr’am gevir gar → may death never stop you
Re: Kotir's Soft Parts Work Log - Flak Vest (picture heavy)
« Reply #1 on: Aug 29, 2022, 04:54 PM »
No big updates, but updates nonetheless.

After sitting on it for a while, I think I've nailed down the quilting I'm wanting to put on this vest. The bottom white line is the imaginary bottom hem, as it's still uncropped. With a plan in place, I started some of the quilting that would be covered by the bias tape edges, so that those decorative stitches could extend all the way under the tape with no issues. No pictures for this part because my machine kept messing up and I was getting frustrated, but the first parts I sewed on were the "V" in the middle, and the horizontal lines on the shoulders.

I made my own bias tape by folding the fabric along the bias (I've heard this term thrown around for years, but I never actually knew what it meant until now, lol), and cutting strips 2" wide and a few inches longer than the length of the neck/armholes. I measured and marked along the diagonal fold with some tailor's chalk and used a rotary cutter with a ruler to create these 3 long strips of bias fabric.

I planned to make .5 inch double fold bias tape (hence the 2" measurement - .5 inches x4). I do not have one of those fancy bias tape folders, so I just did this by hand. I folded the fabric in half once and ironed it well to make sure the middle line would be easily visible, then folded and ironed the edges in again to meet that middle line I just made, and ironed it one last time in the final folded form. This left me with a tape that was 4 layers of fabric and .5" wide.

Four layers of this bias tape combined with the 3 other layers of the vest... I was not confident in the ability of sewing pins to keep this stuff in place. Instead, I tried out some sewing clips and they were incredibly useful! I highly recommend these for these types of projects with really thick material. To apply the tape, I folded it over the raw edge of the neck and clipped that in place, and then did the same for the armholes. I marked the length at which I would need to sew the two ends together to make it into a closed loop that fit the armhole. I sewed the loop closed and refolded the tape over the arms, clipping it onto the raw edge, ready to sew. I then top stitched the tape on close to the edge, making sure to catch both sides. (note: I have not sewn the entire neck, that will be finished after I've installed the zipper)

Here's a try-on showing those finished edges (paired with a bedsheet test of a flight suit shirt pattern)

I got this really nice water soluble pen (the clover chacopen) because I noticed that my tailor's chalk had a tendency to not come off very well. This one though, I highly recommend it for marking places that will still be visible later on, it erases very well. I did this same process for all of the top-stitching and quilting, but only happened to document this shoulder part. Measure and draw out the lines, topstitch, clean up. I figured out I should skip the back-stitching and instead use a needle to pull the topmost thread onto the wrong side, tying it into a knot to keep it from untying, it led to some really nice looking lines!

And here's where we're at now! This felt like so much work, but also no work at all. I'm hoping to get the length determined and install the zipper next week, and then with a bit more stitching, my vest will be all done!

ke’nu’duumi kyr’am gevir gar → may death never stop you
Re: Kotir's Soft Parts Work Log - Flak Vest (picture heavy)
« Reply #2 on: Aug 29, 2022, 06:27 PM »
Vod this is excellent work. Keep it up!

Re: Kotir's Soft Parts Work Log - Flak Vest (picture heavy)
« Reply #3 on: Sep 11, 2022, 11:49 AM »
Thank you!!

ke’nu’duumi kyr’am gevir gar → may death never stop you
Re: Kotir's Soft Parts Work Log - Flak Vest (picture heavy)
« Reply #4 on: Sep 11, 2022, 05:18 PM »
Final construction update! Everything is finished! Zipper is installed, threads are cleaned up, and hemming is done.

I tried to make these quilting stitches as neat as possible, even though most of them will be covered up. I started sewing with no backstitch about one stitch length away from where I wanted it to start, and then using a needle by hand I pulled the top thread to the back and tied it off. This makes the back look very unsightly, but at least it's pretty on the outside. The contrast of these pictures is not so great, but I hope you see what I mean for the before and after.

I've never installed a zipper before, so this was kind of a challenge. I think I did alright. It stays on and is covered enough to not be visible, and will especially not be a problem with the addition of the backplate. I gave sort of a flap to hide the zipper, but it had a tendency to stick open a bit so I added a velcro closure at the top as well, which I think fixed the top edge from looking so messy. I am able to do up the back on my own with no problem, whew.

Here's some shots of the whole thing finished.

front and back

with flight suit shirt (timer went off too early on the last one, I thought it made for a decent shot anyway)

I believe I'm going to continue to update this thread so it can document my flight suit making as well, so that will be up soon!

ke’nu’duumi kyr’am gevir gar → may death never stop you
Re: Kotir's Soft Parts Work Log - Flak Vest (picture heavy)
« Reply #5 on: Sep 16, 2022, 10:00 AM »
That is looking so good, I love the concealed zip. Your sewing is neat, I hope mine turns out as good.

"These are small, the ones out there are far away.........rangefinder to maximum magnification!"
Re: Kotir's Soft Parts Work Log (picture heavy)
« Reply #6 on: Sep 21, 2022, 08:55 PM »
Today's wip wednesday update is for my flight suit. I really love the look of Din Djarin's flightsuit, so I went for a style like that with the double sleeves, top stitching, patches, etc. I found this free pattern from a thread on here, and it worked perfectly for me. I am about the same size as the creator (mens XS/S) so I didn't have to do much adjusting to it, luckily. Just a few tweaks here and there, with everything tested on mockups before I cut into the real fabric.

First step, spend an hour in Joann's debating over the different types of black fabric. I ended up going with a cotton sportswear twill, and it's perfect. I cut all of the pattern parts along the bias so that it would have the best stretch, and so that the lines of the twill would run horizontal for the best aesthetic finish. Here's everything cut out and ready to go.

I liked that this pattern used topstitched patches to make the decorative parts, which was a lot easier for me than some of the multiple piece methods I'd tried on a previous pattern. I stitched these patches down before attaching the front to the backs at the shoulder.

The quilting on the arms were definitely the hardest part, getting the tension right on my machine took a lot of trial and error and honestly still was not perfect. I'd try something different if I were to do this again, but for now it will have to do.  I've never sewn something with such close fitted long sleeves before, so to try it on and see that it all fit was an exciting momen for me! I have a decent range of motion in this shirt, much more than I thought I would, especially given that I made some of my own adjustments to the sleeves that I expected would mess it up.

I decided I wanted to add a neck seal to the flightsuit, which I patterned myself. I essentially held a piece of paper up to my neck and traced where I thought it should fit, cut that out of fabric, refined it further with the fabric, and then traced the fabric back onto paper to make the final pattern. Here's the test fabric and the final pattern

I was not sure this was going to work because I was making it up as I went, but I cut it out, sewed it on, and it's not so bad!

I finished off the shirt with some velcro all the way up the back, which I do not have pictures of. It's a pretty standard velcro closure, nothing to write home about.

For the pants, I followed the recommended sewing order that was in the pattern, which gave me this. I do not have any other construction pictures.

The first try on was slightly too big. For everyday wear they might have been fine, but when coupled with the halfchaps, they were (in my opinion) too loose.

I made the appropriate adjustments and sewed in a zipper, and tried it all on. Huzzah! It fits! (note: I hadn't sewn on a top closure at this point)

I used a skirt/pant hook and look for the top closure, and it works great. Also, check out how great this zipper turned out! The topstitching could use some work, but this will be covered by the codpiece anyway so I'm not fussed about it.

Here's the finished suit! I'm very pleased with it, and know it is going to be heartbreaking when I have to weather it.

And here's a try on of everything I have for my kit so far

I hope you enjoyed the latest update! Up next, miscellaneous soft parts

ke’nu’duumi kyr’am gevir gar → may death never stop you
Re: Kotir's Soft Parts Work Log (picture heavy)
« Reply #7 on: Sep 23, 2022, 11:50 AM »
Excellent work vod. Thank you for getting down into the details on this - loving the use of the fabric's weave for both visual interest and practical application/construction purposes.
And that high-contrast topstitching is just so nice - thank you for the backside tie-off tip, I've just been backstitching like a goon...

Re: Kotir's Soft Parts Work Log (picture heavy)
« Reply #8 on: Jan 26, 2023, 04:31 PM »
Howdy again! My soft parts have all been finished now, so here's an overview of those last bits.

I needed to add shoulder flaps to the vest. I cut out half moons and stitched them to the shoulders, it was pretty simple. The chalk lines are a guide for where I'm going to stitch on the velcro for the plates.

I hand stitched on a lot of the velcro because it was sticky back, which was an absolute pain. I used gloves and pliers for a lot of it, and it was slow going. For some of the last pieces I waited until an armor party at which a leather stitching machine was avaliable and ohh what a life changer that was. It made quick work of what I had left. Here's some velcro shots

This is my initial plan for an armored loincloth. It's a thicker flannel type fabric with 3mm sintra plates. I planned to add a red bias tape edge to help it not blend in to my black flight suit.

When I tried it on with everything else I found I liked it more with just 3 plates, so I ditched the top one and weathered up the plates.

Here it is all finished and dirtied up, along with my sash! The plates are held on with velcro but I am considering changing to chicago screws due to the way they tend to fall away from the fabric in weird ways sometimes.

I had originally made a black sash, which closed with snaps and strapping. The red one I ended up using is the same thing but with red fabric instead of black. It was pretty simple to make, pretty much just a tube of fabric sized to my waist.

Here's my pouches and holster, both of which I made myself. I made paper templates for the holster while looking at reference images, and fine tuned it from there. The holster is all stitched, but the pouches are just leather glue and a snap to hold it shut. I referenced this tutorial for the pouches.

Here's all of my stuff weathered up. I used sandpaper on the topstitching to make it look worn as well as wear holes into some of the fabric. For paint I dusted on spray paint as well as used watered down acrylic in a spray bottle and with a fat fluffy paintbrush for a more drybrushing effect.

I just got new half chaps in, so those are the last thing I need to weather, as well as adding some more light coloured weathering to my flight suit. They are the perri's suede half chaps and I'm very pleased with them so far. Will hopefully update back with that before the month is over!

ke’nu’duumi kyr’am gevir gar → may death never stop you

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