Heavy Metal

Have you ever wondered what a policeman wears under his uniform? Sure we all imagine some sort of flak vest to protect him or her from bullets so this week, in the middle of bridal season, it should come as no surprise to you regular followers that I should get a visit from the law.

My client needs a new cover for his flak vest. The cover consists of lots of 2 inch wide Velcro for attaching the front section to the back section along with 2 inch wide elastic for wearing ease. You can see in these photos that my guy has been wearing his cover with layers of duct tape holding it together. It seems that a new cover runs about $800 so having me make a new one is a real bargain. I went to JoAnn’s and purchased some lovely black cotton twill with a slick finish called “wrinklease”. When I got to the check stand it was actually 50% off today so that was a bonus!

So now we transition from metal protection to metal selection. A new client came with a lovely silk metallic dress that she was going to wear to a gala event in NYC to receive an award with her husband. The dress had been ordered online a size larger and been taken in by a seamstress friend. She did a super job but for some reason the belt came up too short. So it was my job to find some extra fabric to make it longer.

Here is what it is supposed to look like and here is what is needed to fit…3 inches! So where to find a piece that big….hmmmm. The ONLY place is inside the wrap top that is hidden.

  First I baste around the section to be removed. I will keep the black lining but cut away the shiny metallic fabric and patch it later.

  Here is the scrap I harvested…now what?

Let’s see where it lines up with the two edges of the belt once the clasp is removed. Since the join will show, it has to be flawless. The new piece will be lined with fusible black interfacing for stability before attaching.

  Then the patch must be added to the inside wrap section. All sewn by hand with dainty stitches and pressed flat.

Now it is invisible an no one will ever know…well except you and I.

Just before the try-on the belt is pinned and will have the final stitching done when the client is happy. Trying the belt on the dress without a body in it didn’t actually work and it seemed too long but once it was on her, the excess part that wrapped to the back behind the clasp ended up just right. On one side of the belt I attached a 2 inch piece of black elastic to the belt to give ease for sitting down and eating. What a difference that made! The metal clasp, while complimenting the dress, weighed more than the lightweight silk dress so even though it was held up a little by thread loops still drooped down so the elastic kept it tighter too.

So today I learned that a belt can really change from hanger to body no matter how much the seamstress measures and tugs and pins it to the waist of the garment. Being patient and pinning and explaining this to the client assures them that you have experience and can certainly stitch that final inch while they wait and write out their check.

Here is one scary thought for the weekend….you all know about unmanned drones doing surveillance, well how about unmanned sewing machines? Yes, the US Government is developing a plan to have factories that crank out clothing with no operators…click here!

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6 Responses to Heavy Metal

  1. theresa says:

    Geez, $800.00 for a cover? Now that’s highway robbery. Glad you could fix it right and for a bargain price. The belt looks stunning. I NEVER would have thought of doing that. I probably would have suggested a new belt. How clever. All of it!

  2. mrsmole says:

    Hi Theresa, the original cover is poly/cotton but feels like cheap nylon held together with duct tape. I’m hoping the new one wears better and is cooler as he patrols all our lakes in the whole southern region and will be outdoors 100% of the time.

  3. Barbara says:

    You never cease to amaze me!!

  4. mrsmole says:

    Come on now, Barb….you know you secretly wish you could do these off the wall projects! They are waaaay better than quilting!

  5. prttynpnk says:

    I love that you did it, but the belt buckle is my least favorite part of that outfit. Kind of Nolan Miller’s basement…..I so enjoy your textile macgyver posts!

  6. mrsmole says:

    I feel the same way about that shiny buckle, so heavy that it could have been a bit more dainty seeing as the straps were pure spaghetti. Oh and did I forget to mention I had just one day to do it in before they boarded the plane? The woman had the dress for 5 months and just forgot to get it altered.

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