White but Not Bridal

From time to time clients come to me and ask if I can “help” them out with a prototype of some product they have dreamed up that will certainly make them a fortune. Once I sign the ubiquitous non-disclosure agreement and get paid I never see/nor give a rat’s ass about what happens next.

This month another weird request came in to assist an art student at a University with her project. While making things for her in the past was not too complicated, straight sewing on normal projects, this one was going way outside my comfort zone/sense of good taste.

Below are photos of the basic components, click on the photos for a closer look if you want to guess what the final project becomes:

Let’s start with a basic shape, we need a flat circular base about 2 inches high and 27 inches around along with another smaller but taller round shape attached to it. Luckily, I found both these plastic shapes in my fridge after eating the contents aka frozen quiche and cubed watermelon from the grocery store. You may have the same shapes at your house. They were glued together and a strip of polyester batting wound around before being covered.

  The material is something like nylon that is somewhat transparent but not too thin. It is shiny on one side and dull on the other. I draped the form and pinned out what was not needed to get the best shape once it was sewn and flipped and trimmed.  Once sewn, the remainder was tucked under the rim and pinned and hand stitched to keep it there…OK I used some 505 spray adhesive before that.

The finished product:

So what is it? A Devo hat? Not quite…here is the next component of the project…a heavy metal ring 27 inches around with 3 holes where it will be mounted to a 40 inch tall pedestal . I covered the ring with more polyester batting and then with the nylon fabric and marked the holes with thread.

So, so far we have 2 plastic bowls and a metal ring…big deal, you think, how complicated is that? The next section was the real killer for figuring out the engineering needed to complete the monstrosity.

A solid 27 inch tube of fabric supported only with boning and horsehair braid was next on the schedule. This tube would need to be attached somehow to the metal ring AND the Devo hat. Here is the base with shish-ka-bob sticks inserted into the holes to keep them open for the screws.

Ready for this? The 27 inch long tube, 27 inches around with horsehair braid at the edges top and bottom with Velcro at the 3 points where the wooden sticks sit. 

And the result??? Get ready….scroll down if you dare…

Yes, my friends….it is the largest condom I have ever seen and it will become part of an art exhibit in the Fall. Imagine that standing straight up mounted on a 40 inch high pedestal with spotlights !

Holy Prophylactic, Batman!

Will I get any credit for the construction and engineering? Not a chance but I will get paid and with this I have decided to never again get involved with prototypes and people’s dreams and crappy little pencil sketches on scraps of paper that earn them kudos, gold stars, a passing grade or big money down the line if they go into production.


Next time…more badly made custom ordered bridal gowns and the alterations to make them fit well on the special day. I think you have been exposed to enough white fabric for now… have a super weekend!

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25 Responses to White but Not Bridal

  1. Oh my! How do they talk you into these things?? I hope they pay you lots and lots to deal with it 🙂

  2. prttynpnk says:

    Sometimes when someone comes to me and asks for something besides hemming, I’m so giddy. Maybe a condom project will come my way. Add some leg holes and you have a dachshund rain slicker….

  3. theresa says:

    NEVER a dull moment!

  4. Carolyn says:

    What can I say. I can’t stop laughing. High fives for even attempting it.

  5. Laura says:

    OMG – only you would end up doing something like this – doing it extremely well by the way – and giving me a great morning laugh!

  6. Laney Miller says:

    That was a true Laugh Out Loud! Thanks for brightening my Saturday morning!

  7. Cindie says:

    So the art student had the idea but you did all the designing and work and he/she gets the credit??? Things sure have changed since I majored in art in college 40 years ago! Love your blog!

    • mrsmole says:

      Oh Cindie, that is what my husband asked…it is kosher? I don’t know but this is the last one I am doing. Maybe it is like when I was doing my Fashion Design degree and one other student had professional sewers assemble her creations for the judged final fashion show. Those of us who complained were told as long as she drew the patterns anyone could sew them…hmmm. On this project I was handed a condom in the foil packet and told to make it huge…that’s it.

  8. mrsmole says:

    Ribbed is what I was going for but the 1/4 inch boning was not strong enough when spaced 6 inches apart so I had to skip that idea and use Rigilene boning which didn’t allow for sliding fabric over it. Grateful for small favors!

  9. mrsmole says:

    ElleC, what is not in the photo is a shaped cutaway portion of the nylon fabric backed with silk organza to be used as a “window” to look inside at another object. You see this condom holds a secret inside and makes a very political statement which will be revealed in Nov at the exhibit. So it is going to be “used” but not in the usual way!

  10. Monique says:

    So it really was MEANT to be a condom? Oh, boy, I thought the/we Dutch had the prize for tasteless art (contemporary) ;-). What a shame to use such materials that way! But if it’s a good political statement, I suppose you are now a part of art history and maybe a long tradition and if your name IS mentioned with the exhibit, in art books for generations to come…
    Now, that’s a thought. 🙂

  11. mrsmole says:

    Yes, Monique it is a real condom and I am pleased it actually turned out looking that way as the first seamstress that tried made it look like a rocket ship so for me making the top in the right shape was very important. The real small condom sample she gave me helped as it had been over 30 years since I had seen one in person.My client asked if I had left the project in the main sewing studio as she was afraid it might scare some of my brides. The art student will get all the credit and that suits me as I don’t need any more orders for such devices!

    • Monique says:

      🙂 Well, Mrs Mole, you have made your mark in history, that’s for sure. But it’s great people can see what it’s supposed to be, which is not always the case.
      Love your stories!

  12. I rarely LLOL (literally laugh out loud), but I did with this post. I have no idea how you have the patience to work with your clients. I would simply have to stab most of them! (and I’m not a violent person).

    • mrsmole says:

      My husband says you could not pay for entertainment like this…but then again who would want to? It it all blog material I can share with all of you.

  13. Gayle Clason says:

    You constantly amaze me , I thought that the weirdest thing I was ever asked to do was to cover “pillows” with a hole for a fake penis to stick through for mentally disabled guys to practice putting condoms on. PS the teacher was a 20 something good looking female, and, I too was never paid or thanked for my contribution. Is this why we learned to sew? I’m glad I did not have to teach that class. Whew ! Gayle

    • mrsmole says:

      Oh Gayle, now that is just downright kinky…pillows for penises? You get the prize for sure! People think because we own a sewing machine we must want to make tents, shoes, backpacks, camping gear, and repair designer purses when the zippers break…forget it! Thanks for sharing you experience…mine is tame compared to that!

  14. Alethia says:

    Wow, you get the weirdest request..I just simply say NO.

    • mrsmole says:

      Like I mentioned before…I have a soft spot for students and I just gave in. We seem to do these things and have to learn lessons from them. I did other prototype things for inventors this year but could not share photos after I signed the papers. In the end it was all my designing and engineering and thinking time that took a crappy little pencil sketch to production. They leave with a paper pattern and a sample that works well and I get paid with no tip for all the sweat. Never again…I’m saying “no”.

  15. John Yingling says:

    I do lots of product development that includes patterns, samples, and production samples and patterns if it does get to production. I’ve done bags, doggy clothing, mascot costumes, and even sewn electrical devices for an engineering firm. I’m sure there are even more bizarre items, but I can’t remember them all. The apparel items are the bread and butter of what I do, but I can’t turn down a challenge to solve design problems. In my case I charge the same designer’s hourly rate for all phases of the development process. I always tell my clients this project will take time and money, and probably much more than you realize, so if I start you must be committed to see it to the end. The serious clients will agree, those less committed will not call back.

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