Only one way to skin this art car

Playa armor for mutant vehicles comes in mad variety: weathered clapboard, diffraction-foil paneling, lycra skin over bent-steel skeleton, fur.

Back when we first dreamed up JANUS, I was thinking it could be a pipe-steel skeleton with some sort of canvas draping.

But David’s design turned out to be a lot lighter and tighter – and it required a different approach to the skin.

To keep the surface close to the original curves in the design, I started draping the material – 8-ounce coarse-weave canvas dropcloths from Home Depot – over the profiles that make up the pianos’ “shoulders.” I clamped them in place at the top …

… and then pinned the fabric taut over the edges of the shapes.

Then I took them home and shoved them through the sewing machine.

This turned *quite* ugly on several occasions. Thick Chinese canvas – quadruple-layered at a few key junctions – is a bit too thick even for denim needles and the best of sewing machines.

Oh, that and the fact that some sections of fabric require you to put a swath of fabric four feet wide through the machine’s tight jaw.

But after a few hours of sewing and cursing, I had something that actually fit.

Here’s how the left front corner came out.

Here’s what it looks like up high…

And here’s the front section. I’ll be sewing a panel shortly to cover the grille and front bumper, leaving ports for the headlights.

Since the Department of Mutant Vehicles insists that mutant vehicles can look nothing like street vehicles, I was advised to install a scrim that hides the line of the vehicle while still letting you see through.

This cheap polyester lace ($5.99/yd at JoAnn’s) should do the trick.

Then, lots more sewing. I’m sleeving a bungee here that will keep tension along the edge of the cloth covering the tabletops next to the front doors. Don’t ask.

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