Yup, this xmas gift is made for the same kid with the TARDIS bookcase and the Halo M5AB rifle prop. Seems his latest interest is the computer game Counter Strike and is always begging to get some Steam points to make in app purchases. Anyway, inspired from the special forces teams in Counter Strike:Global Offensive, I created this fan hoodie for my nephew to wear when playing the game or when out on a real airsoft mission, yeah, he's into that too. Transform an ordinary black hoodie into something awesome.
Note: Replication of any registered trademark, logo, artwork, or use of actual law enforcement identification does not imply any authorized use or replication of any registered trademark, logo, artwork, or use of actual law enforcement identification. Clear?
Step 1: Patchwork...
This was a chance to experiment with my new Silhouette Cameo cutting machine. To that fellow crafter who I sniped on 3bay to get a great deal, "Joesonghamnida, joesonghamnida..." The actual surplus German POLIZEI patch was from another deal likewise.
The machine is capable of cutting vinyl stencils and creating iron on transfers from any design you created. The base software that comes with the machine allows you to auto trace your images easily to form the cutting templates for your shapes. The only bump in learning how to use this is, when you load the cutting mat, line it up with the small indicator mark near the cutter adjustment tool holder, the cutting mat top edge should just be against the two feed rollers, make sure the indicator dot is next to the LOAD CUTTING MAT in the display and hit the ENTER button. The machine should grab the cutting mat and then feed it in a few inches to the start position. You can then hit the button in the software to start the cut. It never mentioned in the manual or pictures you should hit the enter button to load the mat after positioning it. I gave it a couple tries to start the cutting with the cutting mat placed in the cutter bed but was wondering why the mat would not feed straight and was getting all cut up with the pattern outside the print region. Maybe sugru a left mat guide and better tool holder. Time to get a new cutting mat, payback for sniping that other crafter, I did get a really, really good deal...
Once the designs are mirrored and cut out on the heat transfer material, you have to get rid of the parts you do not want adhered or transferred to the hoodie. Picking out the parts to be discarded is called "weeding out the design." I just used a small utility knife to pick and peel away the excess heat transfer vinyl. You do have to experiment with test cuts to make sure all parts are cleanly cut away.
The base of my patch is black canvas fabric. It still had some stretch so I gave it a layer of iron-on interfacing to stiffen it up. I have a spare iron that I use for all my hot glue/laminate work. Set it on high/cotton setting and use a piece of parchment paper as an additional precaution to prevent things from sticking and making a mess. Press the heat transfer for about 30 seconds and move around slightly. The plastic carrier layer will look like it is getting warped from the heat. That is actually good to show it is getting enough heat. Now wait till it cools before you try to peel off the carrier plastic. It may need a few more moments of heat if it doesn't come off cleanly.
After the carrier is pulled off, you can cover the design with a piece of parchment paper and press again to make sure the design is well bonded to the fabric. I ironed the back to give it some additional heat. If you check closely, the heat transfer will have melted into the texture of your fabric.
Step 2: Hang It Up...
I pressed all the edges to square them up. I then clipped the corners and trimmed the excess so I would have a flat folded edge all around. I used another piece of iron on interfacing to seal the entire patch and bind the fold over edges. This was an easier way of finishing up the raw edges of the patch than trying to simulate the embroidered edge of a traditional patch.
Next is to cut out the velcro backing for each patch.
I applied the hook/plastic part to the patch.
Cut out the velcro close to the shape of the patch. If the velcro strip is not wide enough to cover the patch, you can sew and piece together smaller width strips.
Sew around the border with a close and wide zigzag stitch to attach the velcro.
Position your corresponding pieces of loop/fuzzy velcro on your hoodie. Sew around with a close and wide zigzag stitch. You may want to sew a line in the interior section of the velcro for additional reinforcement against pull from the patches.
Step 3: Holey MOLLE...
Actually, it's pronounced "molly". That is the webbing system and configuration used by the military to attach optional accessories like pouches to the main piece of equipment, in our case, the hoodie which serves as our tactical vest.
I purchased two small accessory pouches which have the MOLLE mounting system built in to them. Since this was a knockoff product from *bay (cheep), it looked fancy tactical but wasn't really mil-spec in construction.
I just had to create the matching mounting web grid on the hoodie. The straps on the back of the pouch weave through the webbing rows to secure the pouch in place. The ends of the mounting straps have snaps to keep them in place.
I used 1 inch nylon webbing. Seal cut ends by roasting in a flame for a bit to fuse the end fibers. Hot nylon is like lava so be careful and let cool completely. Position where you need the webbing, one row above the pocket and one row in the middle of the pocket. I bar tacked it in several places so the pouch straps would fit through and for weight bearing reinforcement. It was tough to sew the webbing in place since the handpocket opening was small and I had to gather up all the fabric around it to sew through only the face layer. I wasn't going to take the hoodie apart so that I could have a flat open surface to work with.
Attach the pouches by alternately weaving in the mounting straps on the back going in and out of the loops on the hoodie and on the pouch.
You can check out how your patches look mounted on their velcro...patches.
And there you go, a completed Counter Strike tactical assault hoodie. Call of Duty, anyone?