Thursday, 3 September 2009

Anand's Batman Utility Belt

My nephew loves Batman.

When he was about three he saw a “Batman Utility Belt” at Toys’R’Us. It was landfill waiting to happen, but he had been given some money by a relative and decided that‘s what he really wanted. His dad said no, that it was junk and that he would regret wasting his money on it. Didn’t matter, he wanted it. Okay. Within three days he realized it was garbage and was crying that he had wasted his money. Valuable lesson learned.

Running around the house in his Batman outfit with the pitiful remnants of this useless purchase, he complained to me that he had nowhere to carry his Batarang. “Nowhere to carry weaponry and accoutrements safely?! Why, this is a job for Gearman!”

I went to a fabric store in Toronto and found some yellow Cordura-ish material, some yellow elastic and some yellow thread. I scoured toy and dollar and science and learning stores in an effort to find stuff. I already had a cam buckle, black webbing, some yellow Velcro, a yellow M&M tube and film canisters. Duncan, at The Lettering Shop, output some diecut yellow vinyl Batman logos.

I sewed it all by hand on the train to work. (The only exception being the Batarang holder which his dad did. We were trying to get this done in the short time before Christmas, so he pitched in and made it.) Working with yellow material and thread was a rather fun change from years of working with black and olive drab.

I wrapped each pouch individually, and each item individually, and then the belt. You could see he didn’t entirely get it at first, but as more components came out, he started cluing in that stuff fit in certain pouches. When the belt with the logo came out he put it all together so to speak, and put it all together.

“You’re the bestest uncle ever uncle Thomas! I love you!” (It’s amazing how allergies can act up even at Christmas time.)

He needed to be told that he had to take it off to go to bed, and that he couldn’t wear it in the tub.
 Some closeups of the case holding the whistle.
Obviously this was going more for a bit of a campy, Adam West, early comic book Batman look, more than say the Dark Knight look (which he certainly won’t be allowed to watch for a long time to come). Totally fun project to work on. The yellow M&M’s tube holds black licorice gum balls which were “Bat Truth Pills” and the film canister holds cat toys which are “Bat Gas Bombs.” 

Surprisingly, the stuff has held up fairly well. The Batarang holder that Andrew did needs a bit of a polish, but all the other pouches have withstood the abuse a kid can subject it to over a year and a half.

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