Today was all about problem solving.
How does one go about constructing an inflatable swimsuit?
Last night, i followed the advice given to me by an artist called Nicole from Annic Consultants, who told me to hit the bargain stores to find floatable devices. I visited all the sporting stores in the city, and also all the bargain stores but found my luck at a toystore which devoted a whole section for pool accessories – JACKPOT!
Strangely, i never thought i would say this, but that pool accessories dept was my dream come true…
They had life jackets for toddlers and a variety of floatie armbands for children, ranging in all different sizes and pumps etc.
So i purchased inflatable 4 sets of arm bands, 2 sets of life jackets, 1 pump and a beach ball – which i didnt end up experimenting with, just ended up on my bedroom floor.
I headed back to studio to experiment with my new toys, at first i spent some time examining the different shapes and forms that would take place if i deconstructed them.
I then took apart the life jacket, cutting very carefully to only cut the sealed lines rather than cut into the actual inflatable.
After i had all the parts deconstructed from the main form, i started playing around on the mannequin to get the shapes and the initial design. However, i found, and after discussing with Dean this morning, that the initial design is going to have to change slightly due to the fact that i would have to work around the already existing shapes of the inflatables rather than mend the inflatables to suit my design.
In my experimentation however, i found (through testing on the hot irons – i promise it was safe helen!) that you can actually seal the air off by applying heat which melts the plastic into itself – as a result have a sealed compartment.
HOWEVER, i found that this is a little bit TOO risky as melting actually thins the plastic which burns into a hole. SO the best option, as of now, would be to try and work with the shapes that already exist.
(Dean also mentioned this would help IF it had to be replicated, might be safer so the inflatables stay in tact on the trip and dont pop on the ANMM).
The front of the swimsuit, i have actually managed to construct exactly to my initial design, and i did this by cutting up the floatie armbands, which gave me rectangles to work with. So i blocked them up into bigger shapes, and that ended up giving me the panels or inflatable “ribs” as i call them. The neck cushion from the life jacket also works really well, a really versatile shape. I fitted the neck cushion onto either side of the waist – which i had similarly sketched in my design.
After having the shapes sorted, it wasnt before long, i started the patternmaking process. EASY. surprisingly. After making the patterns, i covered all my inflatables in some sample fabric, and something that initially looked hideous, slowly started to look like a one piece!
Although eveyrthing looked fine, i had some concern about the chest pieces (well the whole upper half of the swimsuit) not having a base – the body of the suit.
I grabbed some scrap sample fabric and draped on the mannequin, two thick straps from the shoulder, over the bust to the waistline. I did the same for the back but made a whole closed back piece to sew onto the bottoms. So there – a plain one piece swimsuit, which will then have the inflatable pieces attached.
AHH SO MUCH PROBLEM SOLVING IN ONE DAY!! ♥
So next time, sampling with the black cotton lycra! Pretty exciting! At least the pictures will look a little more attractive!!