It is a difficult thing to cut into a ‘special’ piece of fabric. It looked so ‘pretty’ and I did not want to spoil it or ruin it in any way. But cut it I must! I needed to get the Neckband & Bridle finished so I could mail the Hobby Horse to my daughter.
I cut the required pieces out and took a photo of them.
I was quite happy with the colours. The fabric although a heavier weight (and possibly a higher thread count) than that listed on the Spoonflower.com website was still a little thin for my needs. I need the Bridle pieces to be relatively stiff and hold their shape rather than be easily crushed or misshapen. To compensate for the thinness of the fabric I ironed Fusible Interfacing to the wrong side of all the Bridle & Neckband pieces that I needed. I started sewing the Bridle and was quite happy with how it was progressing until I got to the stage where I could try it on the Birthday Gift Horse.
As the fabric chosen for the Birthday Gift Horse was a Faux Suede it had a little bit of width-ways stretch. This resulted in my horses head being a little shorter and wider than the ‘Wish for a Pony’ horse called Wildfire who was made using Twill fabric. As I intended the Bridle Design (Pattern Pieces) to be suitable for use on Hobby Horses made from a variety of different fabrics I needed the Cheek Strap to be correct. I intended to use the fact that the ‘Bridle bit’ is created using elastic to make the Bridle size universal as any variation in size caused by the use of different fabric for the Horses Head is compensated for via the extra stretch of the ‘Bit’ in the Horses mouth.
Even though the Joiner worked beautifully as a means of joining the various Bridle Straps together at the correct angles it was immediately obvious to me that I had made a miscalculation with some of the Strap lengths. The POLL Strap was a little long (only a matter of 5 mm or roughly ¼ inches) and a simple alteration on the original Ai Pattern file and cutting the strap shorter would remedy this. The BROW Band was also a little longer than I would prefer (even when the Bridle was worn by Wildfire) so I may adjust that too when Revising the Pattern. My biggest mistake was with the THROAT Strap as apparently I had totally forgotten to shorten it (and thus do away with the need for it to fold back on itself at the position of the Hook & Loop Tape). Rather than unpick anything I simply shortened the strap a little, tucked in the seam allowance and added extra Hook & Loop for a greater amount of overlap. This will also be an easy modification when it comes to constructing the other coloured Bridles. All I need to do is shorten the fabric of the Straps the optimum amount prior to sewing. I am so glad the pieces were longer than was needed rather than to have made an error that meant that they were too short and therefore unusable!!
Next it was time to trial the Neckband. I sewed it all together in the order that I had imagined I would if I were to type out instructions. I tried it on the Birthday Gift Horse and took some photos. The Neckband seemed a little loose still even though I had shortened it before adding all the decorative details that would be printed on the fabric.
I tried it on Wildfire too. The fit was better but I needed it to be a Universal size. I could simply sew it onto the Horses neck and just mail the Birthday Gift Horse but that wouldn’t solve the problem of a Universal size! Time to put my thinking cap on!!
I decided the best option would be to add ¼ inch/ 5mm wide fabric along the top. As I had already topstitched along the edge plus stitched ‘in the ditch’ I had unknowingly created a channel that elastic could potentially be threaded through! It was simply a matter of partially unpicking the stitching on one end. I attached a small safety pin to the elastic and threaded it though. I machine stitched the elastic at the staring position and pulled to tighten the elastic so I could check for fit.
The idea worked beautifully making for a snug fit on both horses. I would need to revise my thinking on how to describe the construction of the Neckband but was very pleased with this ‘happy accident’. Serendipity? Inspiration? Or just making the best of an unsatisfactory situation? Either way the final result was an improvement on my original idea!
I have learned a lot from my experiment with Custom Fabric Design. I still need to make alterations to my original Adobe Illustrator file and retest the adjustments using Calico/Muslin just to make sure my corrections are right but over all I am very pleased with the results.
Just like the Birthday Gift Horse it’s nearly time to get things all wrapped up…
So keep your eyes peeled for …..
Part 8: Custom Fabric Aspirations: “Wrapping it all up”