Saturday, 21 September 2013

Dr. Zed Part 3 - Buckles!

This is a super exciting post for several reasons. First - I finally got around to taking damned pictures of the damned buckles - huzzah! Second - I am officially over 1000 pageviews!! Granted, that's pretty much less than peanuts in the internet world, and about 10% of those are from lovely spambot sites like "" "" and "," but I'll still call it a win, because actual people are actually finding my work on google (or through my postings on and looking at my tutorials! Heck, my stats are telling me people are actually searching my blog out by name - how cool is that?! In honour of my 1000th visit, here's my favourite hall shot from Ottawa Comiccon. Why is it my favourite you ask? A. Because we were photobombed BY A ROBOT! and B. Because my chest looks pretty fantastic. Just sayin' Thanks to Always an Upside for this fab shot!

Lookin' good at Ottawa Comiccon!
Robot Photobomb = WIN! Happy 1000 pageviews!
 But that's not all ladies and gents, the most exciting news (for me anyway) is there's another convention coming up in Ottawa, and not only am I going, but I've booked a table in Artist's Alley to share with my partner in crime Meghan to sell our awesome jewelery to the masses, and... I'm MAKING A NEW COSTUME! Remember way back when I was whining about passing on the chance to make a Gaige costume? It's happening - for Pop Expo in December (and maybe Halloween if I finish it in time)!  I've already picked up all the supplies for pretty well everything but the vest (thank you 50% off at Fabricland sale!), and have finally started work on Rubi, because I'm darn well going to need her now! Oh, and that ALSO means... Gaige tutorials incoming (but probably not for a little while)! More on that later, for now - buckles!

Time was growing short as I waited for my buckles to arrive from EverythingRibbons, and my stress level was rising accordingly. In reality, they took less than two weeks to show up (having been ordered on April 26th) but in the meantime I kept staring at the smock and imagining what I might be forced to do if the buckles never materialized.  You can imagine the joy when that little yellow shipping envelope was finally in my mailbox!

For those unfamiliar with the standard military style web belt buckle, they're nifty little devices that clamp the end of the belt in one side (with a toothy flap), then the other end is passed through the buckle and jammed in place (by a barrel pin). I chose these because I couldn't find anything else that quite met the shape of Dr. Zed's AND was metal to give it the authentic feel.
All them buckles!
Buckles, buckles everywhere!
Materials necessary:
-8 military style web belt buckles (once again, I ordered mine here)
-About 50cm of nylon web belting (I used the excess from an old belt)
-About 10cm of 1" elastic
-A small piece of black fabric (I used spare liner from Moxxi's holster)
-More of the bias tape made in Part 1
-Grey thread
How a web belt buckle works

One of Dr. Zed's buckles attached!For the buckles running down the front of the smock, first I figured out the placement and sketched/measured it out on the smock.  Then I made the "holes" for the right hand side of the smock (where the buckles attach).  Essentially, I sewed on bias tape (tucking the ends underneath) and made a very large "buttonhole" down the center of each piece.  I had originally planned on using the buckles functionally (sewing belting on both sides of the smock and using the buckle to hold it together) but in the end, I made the buttonholes just small enough that when I jammed the pinching end of the buckle through the hole, it wouldn't budge. For extra safety, I also stitched them in place with embroidery floss in the back to ensure that it wouldn't budge. Ever.
The buckle, stitched in place
Not going ANYWHERE
The "loose" buckle
Once each of the buckles was jammed in place, I fed the web belt into the buckle and secured it, then cut it off at the desired length (reaching past the bias tape on the other side by about 3cm), ensuring that I heat sealed all raw ends as I went. To hold the other end down, I sewed on another piece of bias tape, folding in the ends and sewing around the perimeter - easy peasy! Oh, and of course I left the bottom buckle unsecured, but to avoid having to listen to the barrel pin jingling all day, I jammed a little piece of belting in the buckle and cut it off so it would be unseen.

The elastics on the front of Dr. Zed's smock
The buckles securing the front of the armour piece to the front of the smock were a little different.  The buttonhole concept was just the same, but instead of using web belting to secure the buckle, I made little fabric covered elastics so they would be scrunchy like on Dr. Zed.  If I were to do it again, I would have made them around web belting as well as elastic (or SOMETHING with no give), as the elastics got a little floppy under the weight of the buckles and didn't secure quite right, but I'll fix that before next wear.  What I did was first I made the fabric sheath out of some spare black lining from Moxxi's holster.  Next I cut a piece of elastic that was quite a bit shorter than the sheath, fed it into the sheath, and sewed it at one end to secure it in place.  Then I bunched the sheath up so the elastic was flush with the other end and sewed that down too - voila! Perfect little elastic things!

To attach the elastics to the shoulder armour, I sewed them on to a piece of bias tape, folded in the ends of the bias tape and sewed them in place, then sewed the bias tape under the front edge of the armour with a bit sticking out, as per the reference - also, I sewed the armour piece on to the under armour piece at this point so it wouldn't move and shift over the day. When that was together, I jammed the elastics in to the buckles and secured them (again, as much as I could as they were too thin and slipped over time.) Front done!

On the back, the process was a little different again (and not quite ideal, but I was running short on time).  Attaching the buckles was the same process, but the belting on the back is gray. I used more of my trusty bias tape in place of the belt, and attached them with thicker pieces of the bias tape turned sideways and sewn around the outside. This also served to sew the shoulder armour piece to the back of the under-armour.  Again, running out of time, but I ended up needing to draw on the detail for the straps with the fabric marker.
The back buckles on Dr. Zed's smock
So classy. For realz.
And that's that for smock construction! I'm still jazzed about how well it came together, and in relative terms (ESPECIALLY relative to Moxxi's jacket) it was SO easy. Next time, we'll be back on Moxxi with the bias tape, for once and for all!

Dr. Zed costume tutorials so far:
Dr. Zed Part 1 - Smock Basics
Dr. Zed Part 2 - Shoulder Armour and Flask Pocket

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