Saturday, October 28, 2006

Stuff Every Latex Consumer Should Know About 4D Transparency Variations & Color Name Misnomers Vol. 3: Semi-Trans Colors

Hello & Welcome! to part 3 of this series. Part 2 is about the bright colors and can be found here.
Before we get this blog entry started, I'd like to make an early birthday shout out to Louise Brooks. Girl, Nov. 14 you will be 100 years old. You've been dead over 20 years, but you're still hot as hell, and we all love you and your iconic haircut.

4D Rubber [the only latex sheet manufacturer for fashion apparel that matters besides the much undeservedly maligned Hygenic] makes a designated "Semi-Transparent" set of colors, also know as "Semi-Trans" for short. The latex designers/companies call them Semi-Transparent, Semi-Trans, or just plain Transparent. The hyphen is optional. [Now, if you're wondering why I am capitalizing Semi-Trans--which you probably are not, but whatevs--it's because this is a very sacred subject to me. More sacred than the Supreme Being. Truly.]

The official Semi-Trans colors include: blue, green, grey, mauve [more commonly known as purple to us plebes], natural, pink, red, yellow. These are the official names made up by 4D. When it comes to what other people call them, things start getting a little fucked up, especially when it comes to that so-called "grey" color [separate post on that coming up].

The actually transparency of the colors are not too consistent across the board. Some are more transparent than others. I guess there's a reason why they're called "Semi-Trans" and not "Totally-Trans". The lighter colors like Natural, Yellow, Pink, and also Green and Grey are the most transparent. Blue, Mauve [aka Purple], and Red are much less transparent. Tip: If you want to optimize the transparency of your Semi-Trans outfit, use lube inside and out.

The thickness, or gauge, of Semi-Trans sheeting only comes in 0.33mm and 0.45mm. However, Natural is also classified as a Standard color and comes in every gauge 4D offers.

The following pics should give you a good idea of what the colors look like. The photographed swatches are of 0.33mm sheeting, unshined. I placed a BLB label halfway under each swatch to demonstrate the varying amount of transparency of each color. Note: I (and several other companies) refer to Semi-Trans Grey as "Semi-Trans Smoke". Clicky on the links to see:

Semi-Trans Natural & Semi-Trans Pink

Semi-Trans Smoke [aka "Grey"] & Semi-Trans Yellow

Semi-Trans Green

Semi-Trans Red & Semi-Trans Blue

Semi-Trans Purple

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Rubber Rx Care Paranoia

I can't think (or pay attention enough) to write a coherant enough blog essay. So...

I compiled a list of links to various latex designers "latex care tips" pages. Many sites were omitted because they didn't bother to put up a latex care page, I couldn't find it within 30 seconds, or they're under construction/renovation, OR whoever wrote their care tips was on serious crack. In conclusion: it's ok to be paranoid about latex care (try not to be a matyr with your fingernails, tho'); we all say basically the same thing in different words more or less; I hate flash websites.

Disclaimer: I am not responsible for the content listed in these sites.

Cocoon (UK)
Rubber 55 (UK)
Libidex (UK)
Simon O (Austria)
Pressure Corsets
Bodycult (Germany)
Art With Latex (USA)
The Baroness (NYC)
Slyx (VA, USA)
Vex (USA)
Lust Designs (CA, USA) Care tips is towards bottom of page.
Nimues (CA, USA)
So Hip It Hurts (CA, USA) A really fun read.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Bouncing Balls!


Everything you ever wanted to know about rubber...


Now go edumacate yourselfs. Excuse me while I find out WTF a "putomayo" is.

Friday, October 06, 2006

4D Latex Sheet Thicknesses

4D--the premier [aka the supreme dictator. Kidding! I kid! I heart 4D!] manufacturer of latex rubber sheeting for fashion purposes--makes sheeting in various gauges, or thicknesses. The different thicknesses allow us latex designers to make a bunch of different, you know, cool stuff. If they only made sheeting in one gauge, it would make our lives more difficult than it already is.
Latex clothing is tre expensive! I hope this post will help you become a more informed latex clothing consumer or d.i.y.-er (and fetishist!).

4D uses metric measurements. Gauges are specified in millimeters. So, when you see "mm", it means millimeters--not millipedes. FYI: 4D sells latex rolls in increments of 10 and 5 meters, not yards. Similarly, they denote fabric widths by centimeters, not inches. By the way, they only offer two fabric widths: 92cm & 200cm. For $64,000, guess which one costs more. If you see a slip up where I write "yards" or "inches" instead of "meters" or "centimeters", I apologize in advance for being a dumb bourgeois fat pig New Jersey-bred American. Honestly.

Besides depending on the type of colors, the wholesale price of latex sheeting is largely dictated by its thickness, or gauge. Not talking 'bout the actual length or width of the sheet here. The thinnest sheeting is the least expensive, while the thickest sheet is the most expensive. (And boy do they get expensive!). Ergo, expect to pay more for thicker stuff.

0.16mm The thinnest sheeting 4D manufactures for fashion sheeting. Very very thin--much like a condom or dental dam. I rarely see this gauge used in fashion apparel. The norm for ultra thin items is 0.20mm. 0.16mm is great for stuff like props, backgrounds, and anything calling for a super gossamer look.

0.20mm So stretchy and clingy, it actually feels like a second skin! It's also very comfortable to wear over long periods of time. This gauge is optimal for lingerie, stockings, and anything where a light look and feel is needed.

FYI: The thinner the sheeting, the more tricky it is to manipulate, i.e. glue successfully.

Also, this may be obvious but, the thinner the gauge the more "stretchy" the sheeting. Garment patterns should be dictated by which preferred gauge is used. For example, most patterns are now being increasingly drafted for 0.33mm. Although it's often done by latex designers and firms, those patterns can NOT be used to cut a garment from 0.45mm. That's why if you order a particular garment in 0.45mm or 0.55mm, it ends up fitting too tight or being the "wrong size". Well, can't they just use a pattern the size up? My answer: absolutely fucking not. You're dealing with the luck of the draw here. Good thing many latex apparel consumers remain ignorant about these things. Ack! Think about it. Will a clothing company who specializes in, say, spandex body suits suddenly start making them in denim?

0.33mm The standard gauge used in latex apparel, especially women's wear. Think light to medium weight cottons, satins, and menswear fabrics. Great for hoods, catsuits, tops, dress, leggings or gaucho style pants (not very suitable for jeans style). This gauge is great for "pull on" stuff, i.e. garments without zips or any other closure. However, this does NOT stretch as much as a spandex knit fabric would. It needs more seams than 0.20mm to shape a garment correctly without that "flattening" effect.

0.45mm Another golden standard for latex gear. One of the most popular used thicknesses. A very noticeable heavier feel and a lot less stretch than 0.33mm, but still supple and stretchy. This is my favorite gauge. This gauge is awesome when you want a more structured look to your garments without going for the heavier stuff. Great for structured tops & dresses, trousers, light jackets.

0.55mm & 0.65mm If the entire garment is made from this, I find it causes chaffing and that sweat rash when worn longer than a few hours. That's just me. I apologize for not being as hard mutha fuckin' core as you. [I like layering a bunch medium weight stuff.] So which one to use? It all depends on what type of garment and how you want it to look. D.I.Y.ers should experiment (or send me money if they want the answer, like OMSB, 'cuz nothin' ain't free, dawg) and customers should consult with their latex designer of choice.

0.80mm This gauge is great for corsets, accessories, and once again, anything where you want a stiff heavy look & feel. Some designers will "sandwich" the corset boning between two pieces of sheeting to make the corset thicker.

0.92mm & 1.02mm The thickest fashion latex sheet available. Great for accessories, corsets, naughty bondage accoutrements, you get the picture.

Not every set of colors are available in every gauge. For more info on the colors manufactured by 4D read this previous post. Here's a comprehensive list of which gauges are available by color sets:

Supatex: 0.16mm, 0.20mm, 0.33mm, 0.45mm, 0.55mm, 0.65mm, 0.80mm, 0.92mm, 1.02mm

Only black, white, red, and natural is available in thicknesses of 0.92mm & 1.02mm.

Semi-Transparent: 0.20mm, 0.33mm

Vibrant: 0.16mm, 0.20mm, 0.33mm, 0.45mm

Pearlsheen: 0.33mm, 0.45mm

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Rubber in WEIRD NJ!

The most amazing 'zine about NJ ever is now in it's 27th issue.

Except from Weird N.J. #27 in a letter to the editor titled " The Truth About Georgian Court Univeresity":

...The story of someone dying under the huge oak trees that still exists on the campus is true. It was not a child and not a hanging. In November of 1921 Edith Gould, George's wife, was standing near this tree and had just driven a golf ball off the fifth tee of their private golf course. She suddenly collapsed and never regained consciousness. The doctors said that she died of a heart attack. Upon examining the body, they found that she was wearing a rubber suit (similar to a skin diving suit) that encased her from collarbone to ankles. This suit and many other dieting fads Edith had tried were said to have contributed to her death. ...

This reminds me of a song called "What a Way to Die" by The Pleasure Seekers [featuring a post pubescent Susie Quatro]. I offer no further commentary.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Required Rubber Reading

I'm a lover of books. On anything and everything. [Most of my disposable income is divided between books, records, and shoes too painful to wear--heavy emphasis on books and records.]If it's a worthy book on fetish (photography, psychology, history, etc.), fashion (history, theory, pretty pictures), pattern making & grading (not that home sewing shit) I automatically feel compelled to own said book. Before I die, I am determined to own every book published on fetish stuff, vintage rubber mags, pattern making, & pattern grading. Er...Almost. What can I say, it's a hoarding thang. Did I mention I'm neurotic? Anyway...

If you're interested in fetish clothing history and whatnot, you will find these books enjoyable. I've excluded photography and illustration books to concentrate on books with a higher word to picture ratio. 'Cuz we smart, yo. Warning: Some listed are out of print, insanely hard to find, and really expensive if you do come across them. Others can probably be found on ebay for $5.

The following is a short list of books that are relatively easy to purchase online and inexpensive. The continuation of this post will be about (non-fiction) paperbacks from the 60's and 70's.

Rubber: Fun, Fetish, Fashion by Janet Bloor & John D. Sinclair This is primarily a "fun" book. It won't make you smarter, but it's choc full of colored pics and whimsically covers EVERYTHING about rubber from tires to knicknacks to sex toys. The orange textured rubber cover makes this book the best thing you can put on your cofee table besides cheap booze and cheesecake.

The Complete Reprint of John Willie's Bizarre published by Taschen Bizarre was an "all purpose" type fetish magazine published in the 40's and 50's. It covered transvetism, high heels, corsets, s&m, some rubber stuff, and bondage. Big emphasis on bondage. No magazine will ever come close to replicating the total amazingness that is Bizarre. Ever. A must read. Out of print but can be found cheap used on Amazon or eBay.

Fetish: Fashion, Sex, & Power by Valerie Steele This is THE best book ever written about the who's, what's, where's, why's of fetish clothing. The section dedicated to latex rubber is rather small, but it's packed full of info. Latex/rubber is also refered to throughout the entire book, so fear not. Features a decent amount of color plates and many b&w photos. Out of print but very easily found cheap on ebay, Amazon, etc.

To be continued...