Domo arigato, Ibles Roboto. Koinobori are carp fish shaped streamers or windsocks traditionally flown in Japan. Here, to celebrate the newly proclaimed Day of Making June 18, 2014 (USA), carp fish streamers in the shape of robots will be traditionally flown in honor of all makers big and small for a good future and the hope they follow Kiteman's Zeroth Law: Thou shalt post. You should read up on the fascinating lore of the traditional Japanese koinobori though.
Koinobori can be hung from lines stretched across open areas or flown from poles. There may be a windsock representing the family colors or crest at the top of the pole. Carp streamers are added below each other representing individuals of the family. The size and color would be indicative of the family heirarchy. If Autodesk colors are flown, substitute the carp papa fish with a big bass.
Koinobori are usually handmade with intricate designs that are painted or printed using woodblocks. I made this instructables robot streamer using modern sewing techniques. You can model your designs first as paper cutouts and maybe even fabricate them as 3D prints.
You should have seen the Kiteman koinobori. That one got away. You have to make your own.
Step 1: Cut From a Different Cloth...
Actually, this was the leftover fabric from the Instructables Robot Hockey Shirt.
Since this will be a windsock or flying in the wind, you want some kind of thin lightweight tightly woven fabric. Ripstop nylon would be best but you can even use an old bedsheet for the base material.
The designs are traditionally painted or printed with woodblocks. I will just piece together my different colored fabric and applique or sew patch on details of the koinobori.
As with any sewing project, you can always handsew something but a sewing machine makes short work of it. Having a serger is even better as it seams, trims off the excess material and binds the raw edges all at once.
Having a good pair of scissors and a seam ripper tool are other basic essentials needed in sewing.
You will need a bit of stiff wire to make a ring that holds the mouth end open to catch the wind. You could probably use part of an embroidery hoop or even that strip of plastic you rip off the cover sealing a fresh bucket of drywall mud.
You will need some cord to attach the koinobori. A snap swivel makes it easier to hang and will act as a detangler when it spins in the wind.
CAUTION: Learn how to operate sewing machinery and cutting implements safely. Refrain from cussing when you have to rethread the serger.
Step 2: A Bit of Patchwork...
This project was designed as I went along. The end product is just a long fabric tube in the shape of a fish with an instructables robot theme.
I started laying out pieces of fabric to see what I had to work with.
Since I have a serger, I knew it would be handy to piece together small scraps of fabric to make bigger useable patches of fabric.
Be frugral in your use of material. No sense in tossing out scraps that fit. Make it work.
I serged together a giant robot shape.
Where I needed black stripes, I cut thin strips of black fabric to serge to the next color. This also keeps everything as one flat piece of fabric.
The fin or tail section was cut out from fabric and the raw edges bound with the serger. The koinobori is one long fabric tube with both ends open for it to pass wind. Only sew the outside seams and do not close off the opening.
I then filled in around the robot shape with white fabric. That was using several pieces of fabric and also incorporated the scrap cut out to accommodate the robot shape. The added background white serves as a rectangular shape to block out the final streamlined fish shape.
I serged the fins with a second backing layer of fabric. They were turned inside out to hide the seams.
Step 3: Detailing...
Cut out pieces of fabric or felt that will be used to applique on the details.
I cut out some stylized eyes and gills that I would attach with a zigzag stitch.
I also cut out robot buttons and used a thin strip of material to outline the robot's fax slot.
It was late so I forgot about adding little rivet dots at the bottom.
Attach the wittle fins by enclosing them in the side seam and serging from the back. I had trimmed the fins and cut them at an angle so they would be positioned looking like flowing fins.
Seam together the entire koinobori along it's length.
Step 4: Hang It Out to Dry...
With the business end of the koinobori, create a seam pocket around the edge to fit a wire. Leave an opening to thread the wire in.
Cut a piece of wire that will form a ring the size of the mouth opening. Have it overlap the ends a bit. You can loop the ends of the wire by bending it with pliers so it won't be pointy when it is encased in the fabric.
I also created three fabric loops that will attach the koinobori to a center attachment point. I fed the split ring to gather the three loops to the snap swivel.
You can now hang it somewhere inside from the rafters.
If you are this unfortunate soul, the koinobori might deflect the artic blast from the air conditioning vents.
Better yet, make an entire set to hang out by the maker shed in the yard.