I am happy to present a selection of photos of the final Boot Breather. I think the experiment was a success, although I won't know for sure until we've done some extensive real-world testing...
The 1.25" buckles are definitely overkill in terms of what would be needed to do the job of holding this device in place, but they lend a rugged, heavy-duty feel to the piece, and they closely match the sketch. I'm glad I didn't go smaller.
I initially thought the boot breather would be made of molded veg-tan leather, but that would require a wood form to mold on, and this turned out to be a sufficient way to test out the idea in the real world.
I'm happy to report that the boot seats onto the breather with a satisfyingly snug fit.
For those of you who are wondering "who the heck would want such a thing?," I can only say: The things I make are certainly not for everyone.
But for those who do appreciate such things: ardent boot fetishists, fans of breath control, leather enclosure freaks, sensory overload seekers: this could be right up your alley. You know who you are.
I finally had the chance to work on the boot breather, one of my "Ten Thing I Want to Make Right Now" projects. The design sketch is below, and you can see it's sort of a cone shaped device designed to held in place with heavy straps that buckle around the head. I wanted a design that could be used with a hood and posture collar, something to ramp up the sensory experience of the sub in question: a device to force breathing of the leather-infused air inside of his mistresses high-heeled boot.
So we begin with a wrap of the head form. We're going to wrap the form in tape, and the plastic wrap makes it easy to remove.
My nest step is to build a plug with foam and pallet wrap to get the shape of the snout correct. I want this to fit airtight on a variety of boots.
I start with a classic pair of Enzo's I had around the workshop.
Then I went through my wife's closet and pulled out all the leather-lined boots I could find.
The shape seemed to fit them all pretty well... with pull-ons...
Even the Italian beauties:
And the sexy pointed-toe stilettos.
Once the shape and size of the snout checked out, I just attached it to the head form using tape and more plastic wrap.
I ended up cutting the nose a bit shorter, as it didn't need to be that long to work properly.
I start defining the form with duct-tape.
Referring to my sketch, I am wrapping just as far back as needed, and I am placing tape where I want the straps to go.
I use a sharpie to indicate the shape of the lines for the edge of the piece, along with contour lines for the seams.
Once I'm happy with it, I cut the duct-tape off of the head form, and break it down into pattern pieces.
Here's where we end up: Three parts for the front of the breather, and a 2-part back piece to hold the 5 buckles.
Here we have the preliminary pattern pieces, ready to prototype.
This is where the scrap pieces come in handy. I had a nice piece of heavy, waxy leather that would be perfect for this project.
Parts get cut out, clipped and sewn together.
Got a really nice shape and fit on the first try:
After making the outer form, I realized I needed to figure out the shape of the stiffener for inside the snout. I used more duct tape on the form, and placed the foam back on as well: only this time it was squeezed down a bit so it would fit inside of the workpiece I had already created. Here you can see the paper shape in place:
And here is the paper form with the boot breather on top of it:
Once I was happy with that inner reinforcement shape, I cut the final piece out of "bag stiffener." This stuff is like a heavy cardboard for providing reinforcement to handbags and other items. You can get it at Tandy or here at Springfield Leather.
I spread the glue on what will become the inner surface of the snout...
...and on the bag stiffener cut to the proper shape.
Here's an inside view of the bag stiffener glued in place inside the snout:
Next I worked on the pattern for the rear buckle panel. This is really a belt with 5 straps. I had to take each strap end and extend it enough to hold the buckle in the proper position.
I had to make sure to give a generous seam allowance all around so there would be plenty of leather to wrap around.
That piece is cut out and glued...
...and all the seams are turned to create the final curved shape.
Once the edges are turned, the whole thing is topstitched along the edge.
I make up a set of belt-keeper loops and straps to extend the length of the straps on the face of the mask.
The keepers and buckles are riveted in place. I went with a 1.25" buckle, to intentionally give the piece a "heavy-duty" look and feel.