Two words: Duck Suit
Sometimes opportunities come out of nowhere. This one flapped down next to me while I was at my friend’s house for brunch. As it turned out, there was a little duck who needed a suit. He was going to be a participant in the 2012 Renton River Days Duck Hunt. Never heard of it? Well, I’ll give you a few minutes to read about the 3rd Annual Duck Hunt, here or here.
Ok, so a duck needs a suit. If my friend hadn’t specified what kind of suit (or the character he would be portraying) you can bet he would have been clothed in a tweed jacket, a bow tie, and a fez. Cuz its cool, and that is how I tend to think. Making a mental note for next year…
The formal request was for a black suit over a white shirt and black tie. Simple but classic.
Then I was told, “…and it needs to be done by Friday.” (That really only gave me 4 days from the moment the duck and I met.) Luckily, unemployment provides you the freedom to make your own schedule. A friend needed a favor, and I was happy to oblige.
I am proud of this project for two reasons:
- I used pre-existing scraps from my fabric stash (no new materials purchased here!), and
- I was able to apply some of the pattern drafting skills I just learned from Pennie Laird.
I turned to one of my pattern making books for collar inspiration, doodled a couple of sketches, and then started taking measurements from a duck I had from the 2011* Duck Hunt. (*This detail will be important later.)
After some trial and error, I had a drafted pattern that resembled a suit made for a large rubber ducky. It included a back, a front, a wing sleeve, and a collar (not shown).
I traced the pattern pieces onto another sheet of medical exam table paper and added seam allowances. What do you use for tracing paper? Medical exam table paper was a suggestions by Pennie, and seriously, it is affordable and works well.
I’ve learned from my own sewing projects, that muslins are very useful when you are making a particular garment for the first time.
After confirming that the bedsheet muslin fit the duck, I was ready to take the next big step and cut into my black fabric (left over from Greg’s Renaissance costume pants).
I don’t know how you prefer to cut out fabric, but for the last two years I have been pinning the pattern to the fabric and cutting them out. Then my mom reminded me that she prefers to trace around the patterns (she also copies her altered patterns to card stock for durability) and cut along the chalk lines. I think I prefer this method.
I quickly sewed the back to the front (at the shoulder seams), combined the two collar pieces (outside and backside lining) and attached the collar to the front of the jacket and neckline. Remember how I had used a 2011 duck for the muslin fitting? Well, apparently the 2012 ducks are a wee-bit smaller:
The difference wasn’t big enough to force me to restart from scratch, but when it came time to sew on the sleeve pieces, I made the seam allowance bigger than originally planned (3/8″ vs 1/4″). I am glad that Greg’s Assassins Creed costume involved a lot of curved pieces, because this wing sleeve required a lot of pins to set it into place. At this point, I am a pro at this.
And I think the sleeve turned out nicely, don’t you?
I put most of my effort into the suit jacket. The collared shirt, is only a facade piece. I used the back of the bedsheet muslin as the shirt front, trimming the back of the muslin jacket collar to look like a button up shirt. Then I cut the pieces for the tie and glued them in place. Yes, I said glued. I wasn’t about to risk having this jacket fall off. It has to sit in a Renton-area business for almost a month.
And now….the hero shot:
If you live in Renton and will be participating in the Duck Hunt (I think I am speaking to maybe 1% of my audience), keep an eye out for my duck suit. I will not disclose anything about its location or clues related to it. Good luck!