Ok, so I have a design in mind for a pattern, but while most patterns are all sewing, this one is like 50% sewing, 50% crafts. I want to make a steampunk outfit that has a birdcage skirt and mechanical wings. And, because it’s me, the wings have to splay out to the sides to look nice from the front, go straight back to look nice in profile, and be able to fold up so they don’t take up a ton of space when not in ‘use’.
For me, that’s not hard. I don’t do a lot of mad science projects these days, but when I customize, I go hardcore. Like that centaur I made a few years ago (long before Freaky Fusion) with articulated legs. But there’s a huuuuuuuuge gap between something I can figure out for myself and something I can make reproducible in simplified version that an average mom and her 8-10 year old can figure out and make together on their first, or at worst, second try. Therefore, it’s gotta be something simple, made from parts people can easily get, and take, like, an hour at most to put together.
I took a look at some steampunk wing tutorials, but most of them have like 6 points of articulation. 6 points of articulation done precisely enough on something 3″ long to function? Oh my god, even millimeter measurements wouldn’t be precise enough. So I pulled out my graph paper and drew something in scale to what I wanted the finished product to look like:
The top sketch is what I wanted the finished wing to look like. I cut that out of craft foam because craft foam is easy to work with and you can get it everywhere, so it’s probably a good material for the wings. Then I cut up the craft foam wing into sections to play with to help visualize how the ‘folding’ mechanism part would work (the blue wing bits) and then re-sketched them into individual sections (bottom two sketches) that could be assembled.
Took the new sketches and assembled the wing with a single articulation point using grommets (again, something very easy to get as you can find them in any scrapbooking section). Folded, unfolded, posed on doll, tweaked… oh yes. It works and it looks good. The wings lock in both open and shut positions, and look very nice in both open and closed positions from both sides! Pretty much everything I wanted. Now I just need to make a full set that will be painted and decorated and work out a harness pattern!
So… these won’t be the next pattern, but maybe in a few weeks! This one is going to take a lot more time and more extensive instructions with pics than usual.