Sunday, January 13, 2013

Post-Apocalyptic Fashion Lesson: How to look like a Falling Skies survivor (with 2nd Mass Hat How-to)

AKA Why a (sewing) nerd should never watch Falling Skies whilst considering their pile of clothing repairs... 


First off, let us briefly discuss the series Falling Skies. While nothing extremely original (as far as sci-fi plots), it is enough of a contrast in creativity, intelligent story line development, characterizations and even originality in comparison to the bland cookie-cutter crime dramas inundating television, that I was immediately taken by it. Now on to the fashion of survival...

Survivors of the Alien Apocalypse
Survival Tip: LAYERS!
1. Likely the most important Survivalist fashion tip: LAYERS! Easily regulate body temperature by wearing as many layers as possible. Also, extra clothing equals extra fabric, for numerous uses from first aid (tourniquets, bandages, etc.) to collecting and filtering snow/water.

Extra pockets!
2. POCKETS Apparently, Tom Mason thinks the more the better, and I have to say, he isn't wrong. They're superior to a pack for storing essentials, since a pack can easily be left behind by accident or in a rush, but the pockets are attached directly to your person. (Excellent costuming detail, love the extra pockets added to Tom's jacket!)

Messy Look: Noah Wyle with Scruff
3. MESSY HAIR, UNWASHED LOOK: Obviously, baths and hot showers are few and far between when you're barely scraping by, constantly on the move, and also trying to take back the planet from a hostile alien force... That is, unless you're a woman. Then your hair should still be gorgeous and glossy, your hygiene excellent, your make-up flawless. (OK, so TV conventions only bend so far for the sake of style/appropriate ambiance...)

4. RATTY & RUNDOWN CLOTHING: Even though 90% of the population has been killed, and there is plenty of clothing in good condition to go around, one doesn't generally have time for shopping trips. And when there is time (between mech and skitters patrols), let's face it, you're grabbing the food (and weaponry).

On Hal's team of fighters, they all know web belts are where it's at.
5. WEB (UTILITY) BELTS: Specifically, if you're a 'fighter', these seem to be a must. Provides holster for sidearms, storage for compasses, snacks, spare ammo, knives, and lots of other useful things. Also, looks military and badass. (And holds your pants up.)

Pope sports a 'Cootie' Necklace
6. COATS/JACKETS: An essential layer for cold weather. For some reason, this group of people boast a pretty awesome collection of jackets (a little beat up looking of course), ranging from shearling to leather biker to military-style to winter/polar.

7. For the apocalypse (or post-apocalypse), you of course will want a good pair of SHOES. There will be a lot of walking (and running) over questionable terrain. Good tread, comfortable and durable is best. A work boot or combat boot. Or, if you just want to look cool, biker or western-style.

8. OTHER ACCESSORIES you might want to consider:

a.) Skitter tooth...? claw....? tentacle...? necklace to keep track of your kills (a la Pope).

b.) Firearms, preferably with anti-mech rounds (made from melted down mech armor)

c.) Something sporting the '2nd Mass' insignia... which brings me to...

How to make a '2nd MASS' hat:

Okay, so I used the cheater's method (used a pattern), which also makes this not so much a helpful tutorial.

Step 1: Acquire/Make a Hat

1. First off, acquire (or make, as I did) a military style hat. Mine is actually more 'newsboy' or 'engineer' since I used my favourite hat pattern, which happens to be a part of Simplicity 2581, a turn of the century 'motorist' theme jackets and accessories set. But it makes an awesome steampunk and everyday hat. (TIP: This time I tried some craft foam for the brim instead of a double layer of buckram. The buckrum never seemed to lie correctly/was always crinkly and deformed looking. The craft foam, too, looked a bit mishapened, but hit it briefly with the iron and warm craft foam will take on whatever shaped you give it. TIP2: I sew casing along the band at the back of the hat and insert some elastic so the fit is perfect.)
Step 2: 'Antique' the hat.

Rough up the hat
2. Apply wear. My hat was made out of a 'natural' twill, so off-white/beige in colour. This obviously will not do for a post-apocalyptic survivor look. Thus I 'antiqued' the hat in my usual way, applying watered down fabric paint in brown and black tones. I also roughed it up a little with my stitch picker (a very pointed, menacing looking seam ripper with a curved razor blade) to start some fray spots. (I think it still looks a little too pristine, but that can be fixed... perhaps by running it over with a car... or something.)
Step 3: Make '2nd MASS' patch

3. Make a '2nd MASS' patch. I found this artwork/ logo online, scaled it to my preference, printed it out. Then I made a stencil, using template plastic (because I wanted to save it for more uses later), but you can also make a freezer paper stencil (these work great, but are basically one time use). Tried out my new craft-size paint roller with fabric paint (so much easier and quicker than using a small brush, but I feel like it used up more paint... and fabric paint ain't cheap). It turned out sloppier than I generally like stencils to be, but in this case, it was perfect that way. Again, I applied 'wear' (roughed up the edges of the patch).

4.Position and sew the patch onto the hat haphazardly in a contrast colour (I like the visible stitching look in this case). If you do any amount of hand-sewing, being purposefully messy is actually a bit of a challenge, you'll find.

5. Sport hat. Go kill skitters!

Falling Skies Survivor Outfit 

(pulled from my pile of repairs/alterations and my closet)

I'm going to do this 'Outfit Post' style, as many bloggers do to display their fashion ensembles...

Hat: Handmade (by me)
Ratty Long-Sleeved T-Shirt: Columbia brand, acquired about a dozen years ago from who knows where anymore.
Flannel Zip-up Shirt: Ki-ko-mo (?) brand, hand-me-down from my mom
Vest: Eddie Bauer brand, acquired I don't remember where, approximately 5 years ago. Altered for a better fit.
Khaki-Green Web Belt: came with a pair of pants a long time ago.
Grey Cargo-esque Bumming-It Pants: Acquired from Walmart, 2 years ago, stained with fabric paint (not on purpose), holes in knee stitched up repeatedly.
CAT work boot shoes: These are my old, beat up pair of every day shoes, which I wore the in-soles completely out of (and replaced) and the tread is worn completely smooth in places.

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