2nd February 2011: Ribbing I do most of the journal updates at work - at some point I promise I'll take photos and add them to the relevant entry.
My foam tentacles are waiting for me at the post office. After trying out the fabric I intended to cover them with, I realised it wasn't the best match, as it's rather thick and when bending the foam massive creases appeared, as well as it warping the shape. In a way it's a good thing though; I've decided to switch it with the fabric I intended to make the armour pieces with, and that actually works in my favour.
Initially the fabric I was going to make the armour with would have required backing onto a thicker fabric as it's very thin. It's also the same fabric I'm making the ribbed parts out of (on which more later), so I would have needed to spray it with another colour to differentiate it from those areas. The rubbery fabric intended for the tentacles, however, is already thick and a different shade, thus eliminating the need to back and spray it :D
The thin fabric still bunches up where the foam bends, but really this is unavoidable. In the REAL WORLD, Mr. Game Designer, solid things are not entirely elastic! Even just the foam on its own crinkles somewhat at bends, and to get the right shape, it needs to bend reasonably sharply at points. I'd rather have the right shape than better smoothness, so crinkles there shall be. I do have one final idea on how to combat it, which I'll be testing later this week, but if it doesn't work I'm not going to tear my hair out over a few crinkles.
The last couple of weeks have mostly been dedicated to the ribbed areas on the suit. I'm ribbing the fabric myself, with a very fine zigzag stitch so it retains some stretch. First I have to measure and draw dozens of parallel lines on the back of the fabric, and then I need to sew them all, as absolutely close to straight as possible. I've done probably 70 of these lines, on pieces of varying width, and will have done over 100 by the time I'm finished! You'd think plain straight lines would be easy and quick to do, but because it's so important that they're straight and parallel, it takes a fair bit of care. There are ribbed areas on the front, back, calves and bicep areas.
I'm stitching them on the suit with a combination of handsewing with a backstitch and machining with a zigzag before cutting off the excess. The edges are largely covered by the armour pieces so I've also zigzagged the edges to stop the straight lines from fraying.