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Re: Creating a breakaway costume

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  • Curtis
    I ve actually had to make a lot of breakaway stuff... For pants, I prefer snap tape to velcro, although it s more difficult to work with. It is, however, a
    Message 1 of 10 , Jun 7, 2009
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      I've actually had to make a lot of breakaway stuff...

      For pants, I prefer snap tape to velcro, although it's more difficult to work with. It is, however, a lot easier to rip off (I've never had to rig the inseam of pants when I did that...just the outseam.) The pants I've had to rig were all black (tux pants or dress pants), and I did do velcro on some...sew in an extra panel on one seam so that you have material to attach the velcro to, that way you can just line up the existing seam and don't have to make an educated guess on how much larger to get the pants to have them fit with the velcro (it also gives you a little more concealment of the seam). To help keep a natural look (since velcro is stiffer than most pants material), I only did 1" squares, attached about every 3" down the outseam.

      I had to rig coveralls to rip away for a show last year--which needed the front opened all the way to the crotch and then the inseam, as well, and even with snap tape it took a few rehearsals before the tear-away effect wasn't spoiled by someone either failing to completely rip away the coverall or by the poor guy wearing it failing to brace himself for the rip and nearly getting jerked off his feet.

      The only time I've rigged shirts, I split the shirt up the center back, put in a placket for the velcro, and split the velcro lengthwise (which proved to be more trouble than was needed, it would have been as effective to do the 1" squares again). The trick is to get enough velcro to keep the seam secure, without making it too difficult to tear open. This ended up being no so much a tear-away as a peel-off, as it was for a one-off show and the guy wearing it never rehearsed with the shirt, so he pulled it off slow instead of jerking it away cleanly (which is hard to do on yourself with a shirt...it's a leverage issue...) If I had it to do over again (and had more time to do it, instead of getting the request for it a couple of days before the show!), I'd do it differently, though I haven't quite figured out how, yet.
    • mongrelmuppet
      I ll chime in and agree with the snap tape vs. velcro idea as well. I ve also found it works better and is less noticeable, as well as being easier to move in.
      Message 2 of 10 , Jun 7, 2009
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        I'll chime in and agree with the snap tape vs. velcro idea as well. I've also found it works better and is less noticeable, as well as being easier to move in. The one time we used velcro, we had issues with the sound it makes when parting (although that might have had more to do with the actor) as well as with its tendency to pick up bits of things and be stiff (although I also agree that the 1" squares idea does help with that.)

        This might not be a research direction you want to go, but have you looked for any sites that might focus on making/selling gear for male strippers? Chippendale style? They frequently start out with street wear type clothes and rip them off on stage. This might give you an idea of what's in use in the "market."

        Good luck! It sounds like a fun idea.

        --- In TheCostumersManifesto@yahoogroups.com, "Curtis" <gckidd@...> wrote:
        >
        > I've actually had to make a lot of breakaway stuff...
        >
        > For pants, I prefer snap tape to velcro, although it's more difficult to work with. It is, however, a lot easier to rip off (I've never had to rig the inseam of pants when I did that...just the outseam.) The pants I've had to rig were all black (tux pants or dress pants), and I did do velcro on some...sew in an extra panel on one seam so that you have material to attach the velcro to, that way you can just line up the existing seam and don't have to make an educated guess on how much larger to get the pants to have them fit with the velcro (it also gives you a little more concealment of the seam). To help keep a natural look (since velcro is stiffer than most pants material), I only did 1" squares, attached about every 3" down the outseam.
        >
        > I had to rig coveralls to rip away for a show last year--which needed the front opened all the way to the crotch and then the inseam, as well, and even with snap tape it took a few rehearsals before the tear-away effect wasn't spoiled by someone either failing to completely rip away the coverall or by the poor guy wearing it failing to brace himself for the rip and nearly getting jerked off his feet.
        >
        > The only time I've rigged shirts, I split the shirt up the center back, put in a placket for the velcro, and split the velcro lengthwise (which proved to be more trouble than was needed, it would have been as effective to do the 1" squares again). The trick is to get enough velcro to keep the seam secure, without making it too difficult to tear open. This ended up being no so much a tear-away as a peel-off, as it was for a one-off show and the guy wearing it never rehearsed with the shirt, so he pulled it off slow instead of jerking it away cleanly (which is hard to do on yourself with a shirt...it's a leverage issue...) If I had it to do over again (and had more time to do it, instead of getting the request for it a couple of days before the show!), I'd do it differently, though I haven't quite figured out how, yet.
        >
      • geneiak
        my first question would be whether the actor pulls off his own costume or if someone else pulls it off- i have done snap tape and velcro both with good
        Message 3 of 10 , Jun 8, 2009
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          my first question would be whether the actor pulls off his own costume or if someone else pulls it off-

          i have done snap tape and velcro both with good results-

          something i started thinking about with some male strippers was post it note glue-
          i never tried this but i think it might work-
          depending on what happens in the outfit b4 the breakaway needs to happen-

          retshopbuyer


          --- In TheCostumersManifesto@yahoogroups.com, "mongrelmuppet" <mongrelmuppet@...> wrote:
          >
          > I'll chime in and agree with the snap tape vs. velcro idea as well. I've also found it works better and is less noticeable, as well as being easier to move in. The one time we used velcro, we had issues with the sound it makes when parting (although that might have had more to do with the actor) as well as with its tendency to pick up bits of things and be stiff (although I also agree that the 1" squares idea does help with that.)
          >
          > This might not be a research direction you want to go, but have you looked for any sites that might focus on making/selling gear for male strippers? Chippendale style? They frequently start out with street wear type clothes and rip them off on stage. This might give you an idea of what's in use in the "market."
          >
          > Good luck! It sounds like a fun idea.
          >
          > --- In TheCostumersManifesto@yahoogroups.com, "Curtis" <gckidd@> wrote:
          > >
          > > I've actually had to make a lot of breakaway stuff...
          > >
          > > For pants, I prefer snap tape to velcro, although it's more difficult to work with. It is, however, a lot easier to rip off (I've never had to rig the inseam of pants when I did that...just the outseam.) The pants I've had to rig were all black (tux pants or dress pants), and I did do velcro on some...sew in an extra panel on one seam so that you have material to attach the velcro to, that way you can just line up the existing seam and don't have to make an educated guess on how much larger to get the pants to have them fit with the velcro (it also gives you a little more concealment of the seam). To help keep a natural look (since velcro is stiffer than most pants material), I only did 1" squares, attached about every 3" down the outseam.
          > >
          > > I had to rig coveralls to rip away for a show last year--which needed the front opened all the way to the crotch and then the inseam, as well, and even with snap tape it took a few rehearsals before the tear-away effect wasn't spoiled by someone either failing to completely rip away the coverall or by the poor guy wearing it failing to brace himself for the rip and nearly getting jerked off his feet.
          > >
          > > The only time I've rigged shirts, I split the shirt up the center back, put in a placket for the velcro, and split the velcro lengthwise (which proved to be more trouble than was needed, it would have been as effective to do the 1" squares again). The trick is to get enough velcro to keep the seam secure, without making it too difficult to tear open. This ended up being no so much a tear-away as a peel-off, as it was for a one-off show and the guy wearing it never rehearsed with the shirt, so he pulled it off slow instead of jerking it away cleanly (which is hard to do on yourself with a shirt...it's a leverage issue...) If I had it to do over again (and had more time to do it, instead of getting the request for it a couple of days before the show!), I'd do it differently, though I haven't quite figured out how, yet.
          > >
          >
        • Carolyn Mitchell
          Another possibility that I have used successfully are magnets. Carolyn
          Message 4 of 10 , Jun 9, 2009
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            Another possibility that I have used successfully are magnets.

            Carolyn
          • Julia Trimarco
            Message 5 of 10 , Jun 9, 2009
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              <<<<<<Posted by: "Curtis" gckidd@... GCKidd ....The only time I've rigged shirts, I split the shirt up the center back,
              put in a placket for the velcro, and split the velcro lengthwise (which
              proved to be more trouble than was needed, it would have been as
              effective to do the 1" squares again).... If I had it to do over again.....I'd do it differently, though I haven't quite figured out how,
              yet.>>>>>>>>>>>

              strange - I've probably rigged hundreds of shirts over the years, and I've never seen them rigged to split up the back - it seems like a lot of unecessary work - was the change "a-vista", ie. visible to the audience? It seems like an awkward movement for the actor - was there a special reason to tear it off from the back?

              I've rigged shirts with velcro and snaps for quick changes.
              Snaps are a quick out, but NOT a quick in. For a quick in, you need velcro.
              Just take off the buttons, and sew them onto the outside, or front side of the buttonholes, sewing the buttonholes closed at the same time (by hand).
              Then sew on snaps or 1" squares of velcro to the back of the buttonholes and the spots where the buttons used to be (when you remove the buttons, leave the cut threads as marks for where to put the new closure). Snaps have to be sewn in by hand, but velcro can be done by machine, at least on the underlap.
              If doing it by machine, leave the buttons off until you've sewn on the velcro. Generally, a white shirt that will usually have a jacket,vest, or tie over it and won't be seen up close, can be machined.

              It's really a question of how much will show and how much you care that it shows.
              -Jypsie





              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • mongrelmuppet
              Curious about this one. How did that work and how did it you clean it then?
              Message 6 of 10 , Jun 10, 2009
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                Curious about this one. How did that work and how did it you clean it then?

                --- In TheCostumersManifesto@yahoogroups.com, Carolyn Mitchell <cmitchell45@...> wrote:
                >
                > Another possibility that I have used successfully are magnets.
                >
                > Carolyn
                >
              • cloakmakerusa
                OOOhhhh! I like this idea. Flexible magnet strips in a sleeve so they can be removed for washing....
                Message 7 of 10 , Jun 10, 2009
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                  OOOhhhh! I like this idea. Flexible magnet strips in a sleeve so they can be removed for washing....

                  --- In TheCostumersManifesto@yahoogroups.com, Carolyn Mitchell <cmitchell45@...> wrote:
                  >
                  > Another possibility that I have used successfully are magnets.
                  >
                  > Carolyn
                  >
                • Curtis
                  ... Yep, there was a specific reason I did it that way...and it did happen in front of an audience. The performer in question was a back-up singer for the
                  Message 8 of 10 , Jun 10, 2009
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                    --- In TheCostumersManifesto@yahoogroups.com, Julia Trimarco <eilonwy14@...> wrote:
                    >
                    > strange - I've probably rigged hundreds of shirts over the years, and I've never seen them rigged to split up the back - it seems like a lot of unecessary work - was the change "a-vista", ie. visible to the audience? It seems like an awkward movement for the actor - was there a special reason to tear it off from the back?
                    >

                    Yep, there was a specific reason I did it that way...and it did happen in front of an audience. The performer in question was a back-up singer for the song 'Just a Gigolo'...at a specific moment in the song, the lead singer ripped away his own pants (velcro-rigged) while the backup tore off his shirt (a white dress shirt).

                    Rigging rip-away costumes is a very different proposition from rigging them for quick-changes. I prefer to use snaps when I can for that--too many experiences with performers failing to line up the velcro squarely. But, as you mentioned, snaps are only an option if they've got time to get into the item...sometimes velcro is the only viable option (although there have been a couple of times where I've actually rigged a shirt with a zipper, instead, but that only works on really heavy material--otherwise, the zipper is stiff enough to ruin the lay of the shirt. Same thing if you try and do velcro as a continuous strip, rather than the individual tabs. It can be done, and it's a lot faster to sew on two big strips of velcro than ten or twelve small tabs...but if they are dancing or moving at all, it becomes painfully obvious that the shirt is NOT buttoned.)
                  • Carolyn Mitchell
                    If possible remove the magnets before cleaning. Magnets are iron and will rust if exposed to water or other oxidizing agents. I made a casing and than sewed
                    Message 9 of 10 , Jun 11, 2009
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                      If possible remove the magnets before cleaning. Magnets are iron and
                      will rust if exposed to water or other oxidizing agents.

                      I made a casing and than sewed across the casing at appropriate
                      intervals to create small pockets for the magnets. The strength of the
                      magnets needed will depend on where they are being used and the amount
                      of movement needed before the breakaway. The costumes that I made were
                      for dance and the magnets did a fabulous job. With magnets there is not
                      an issue with noise.
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