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Topic: Tear off dress shirt - need suggestions!  (Read 7656 times)
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acidtrix
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« on: November 16, 2009 08:55:47 AM »

Hello crafty folk of the clothing community! I require your assistance!

I need to create a tear-away dress shirt for an upcoming burlesque act that my boyfriend is in. His character is sort of a silent film era villain. He'll be wearing california pants and suspenders, bowtie and a top hat (and maybe some other details - still hashing out the concept). Towards the end of the act, one of the other performers needs to rip off his shirt. Its probably worth noting that he's a juggler, so he needs to be able to move around in the shirt without it being too obvious that its rigged to tear off. I'm assuming the solution is strategically placed velcro, but I'm not really sure how to cut up the shirt and place the velcro. I'm no seamstress, so I'm hoping to find a white shirt and modify it. I was thinking maybe i just need to cut the shirt along all the seams (arms where they join the shoulders, sides, collar) and then reattach with lots of little bits of velcro? then when she tears off the shirt, the collar and sleeves will still be there but the front and back panel of the shirt would fall away. does that sounds like a good plan? will the velcro hold well enough to keep the seams together while he's juggling?

thank you in advance for you help! Cheesy
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Cheyenneswthrt07
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« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2009 09:32:31 AM »

I would place the velcro at seams.  Create false looking seams where the material would cross over so it doesn't look obvious, under the arms and down the side seams.  Maybe on the side seams, you could do "french seams" where it's the double needle look, would also give some stability for the velcro.  Also, maybe redoing the front, where the buttons are, remove the buttons and seal the button holes, resewing the buttons back onto the newly sealed button holes and placing the velcro under, where the buttons originally were, thus creating the illusion that it's still a button down dress shirt
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Alexus1325
« Reply #2 on: November 16, 2009 11:23:24 AM »

I dunno bout you guys, but in my experience, velcro is STRONG! I don't know how it would allow for the shirt to be torn away easily. I'm kinda headscratching at how that would work without risking tearing the fabric.

You know those cute little tiny metal snaps? Those might make the tear-away part easier.
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« Reply #3 on: November 16, 2009 12:05:24 PM »

What about just double sided tape?
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OmaDJ
« Reply #4 on: November 16, 2009 07:40:14 PM »

Could you try hand basting with a single thread along the seams that you want to tear away?  Get a couple of shirts from a thrift store and experiment.
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acidtrix
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« Reply #5 on: November 17, 2009 07:02:54 AM »

allo Smiley Thank you for all the suggestion! I'll have to pick up a few old shirts this weekend and try out a few things. I was thinking maybe very small pieces of velcro would give the shirt some stability but still allow it to be torn away without too much effort. I'm not sure basting it would work - they need to practice with it and I don't think it would be practical to resew it each time. Maybe for the actual show it would be a good idea, but I still need to rig something up for the practices. Hmm or maybe the double sided tape idea for practice and hand basted for the show...

I'll let you know how it works out ^_^
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lollie_pollie
« Reply #6 on: November 22, 2009 05:19:23 PM »

I think some sort of snaps might be the best idea. Like someone said...brand new velcro is very very strong. Doing an overlapping panel under the row of snaps might be a good idea to hide the fact that shirt will shortly be ripped off...then you won't get the puckering gap thing going on between snaps. If that makes any sense.

Good Luck!
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Aislynn
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« Reply #7 on: November 22, 2009 06:20:35 PM »

The tiny little snaps would be the best thing, those things come apart like nothing, with just the tiniest bit of force.  However, if it's just one performance, I found that this works rather well:  Sew the seams up with a longish stitch--not necessarily as long as it'd be to gather, but longer than normal.  Then go back and use a seam ripper to tear out a stitch, skip 3-4 stitches, then break another one, skip 3-4, then break another one.  It may take a while, but it will result in a mostly stable garment that's easily torn away.  I would hate to do this to three or four different shirts, though, as it's a tiny bit time consuming.  The big stitches make it really, really easy, though.
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« Reply #8 on: November 22, 2009 08:33:54 PM »

Velcro also makes noise when you rip it and makes the area really stiff. I'd say snaps, but I really like Aislynn's suggestion
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acidtrix
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« Reply #9 on: November 27, 2009 09:10:11 AM »

I actually only got to pick up the shirts last night to work with, so its my project for the weekend. I like Aislynn's idea too Smiley not sure i want to have to do it 3-4 times... but its a great idea.
my seamstress also suggested shaving the velcro a bit so its less "sticky"...
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