How to Escape from a Straitjacket

Even though straitjackets were designed to restrain someone who’s in danger of harming themselves or others, magicians and escape artists often escape from them as part of their acts. If you’re trying to become like Harry Houdini, you may want to consider learning how to perform this trick, which was one of his most famous! Fortunately, although it may seem impossible, escaping from a straitjacket is a trick that almost anyone can learn how to do.

EditSteps
EditGetting Your Arms Free
Pinch the straitjacket as you’re being buckled up, if possible. Use one of your hands to inconspicuously pinch the front of the jacket as it’s being put on you. This will end up giving you about of slack that will help you tremendously later on.[1]
You may not be able to do this if you’re being watched closely or you can’t maneuver your fingers this way for some reason. But don’t worry, this isn’t completely necessary for escaping the straitjacket.

Breathe in and expand your chest when the jacket is being put on you. Take a deep breath and tighten your muscles in order to make your upper body as big as you possibly can. Then, once the straitjacket is fully on, let the air out of your chest and loosen your muscles to put more slack in the jacket.[2]
After the jacket’s been put on you, try to make your upper body as small as possible. The smaller you are, the easier it will be to get out of the straitjacket.

Push your strong arm up forcefully towards the opposite shoulder. Using the slack you’ve managed to give yourself, work your dominant hand up the other arm and towards the opposite shoulder. This will move the slack in your jacket to where you need it to be for the next step.[3]
As your sleeves are pulled behind you, try to make sure your stronger arm is over your weaker arm. This will make performing this step a lot easier.

If your dominant arm isn’t above your weaker arm, simply perform this step with the arm that’s closest to your head.

Bring your strong arm up and over your head. Move your head down and towards your elbow in order to make it easier to move your arm over your head, if necessary. Keep your weak arm where it’s at. Once your strong arm is over your head, pull it down to the front of your body.[4]
Once you’ve done this, you should be able to move your arms around inside the straitjacket.

EditRemoving the Straitjacket
Unbuckle the sleeve buckle with your teeth. Once your arms are loose in front of you, bring the sleeve buckle up to your head and use your teeth to undo it. If you have weak or fragile teeth, you can also use your surroundings to do this.[5]
For example, work the sleeve buckle against a nearby table or door knob to push the strap out of the keeper. Once it’s out, use the same technique to get the tongue out of the hole in the strap.

Use your free hands to unbuckle the buckles behind you. You don’t have to unbuckle all of the buckles behind you; just the top and bottom ones. Simply put your arms behind you and work from underneath the canvas of the jacket to undo the neck and body buckles.[6]
Your hands will not be out of the straitjacket by this point, so what you’ll need to do is grip the buckles while your hands are still covered by the canvas of the jacket.

Step on the sleeves to pull off the straitjacket. Bend your body forward and lower the sleeves of the straitjacket so that they’re on the floor. Step on the ends of the sleeves, then pull your body upwards and backwards to remove the straitjacket.[7]

EditWarnings
Keep the person who helped put on the jacket close to you, just in case you can’t escape and need help getting out.

Never try to do this by yourself!

EditRelated wikiHows
Escape from Handcuffs

Pass Your Body Through a Sheet of Paper

Escape From the Trunk of a Car

EditReferences
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Today in History for 9th April 2019

Historical Events

1833 – 1st US tax-supported public library in Peterborough, Noew Hampshire
1935 – Stanley Cup Final, Montreal Forum, Montreal, Quebec: Montreal Maroons beat Toronto Maple Leafs, 4-1 for 3-0 series sweep; Maroons last defunct team to win the Cup
1969 – Chic Cub Billy Williams hits 4 consecutive doubles beat Phillies 11-3
1975 – 24 OECD members sign an agreement to establish a $25 billion lending facility to provide assistance to industrial nations hurt by high oil prices
1992 – Record 18 golfers shoot in 60s in Masters round 1 (old record 12)
1997 – NFL announces it will give $3M to CFL and possible “World Classic Bowl”

More Historical Events »

Famous Birthdays

1716 – Johann Georg Zechner, Austrian composer, born in Gleisdorf, Austria (d. 1778)
1901 – Paul Willis, American actor (The Little Lumberjack, Little Kaintuck), born in Chicago, Illinois (d. 1960)
1932 – Cheetah [Cheeta, Cheta, Chita], chimpanzee actor (1930s Tarzan franchise), is born (d. 2011)
1939 – Michael Learned, American actress (Olivia in The Waltons, Nurse), born in Washington, D.C.
1949 – Chico [David-Allen] Ryan, American rock vocalist (Sha Na Na), born in Arlington, Massachusetts (d. 1998)
1990 – Kristen Stewart, American actress (Bella Swan-The Twilight Saga), born in Los Angeles, California

More Famous Birthdays »

Famous Deaths

1137 – William X, Duke of Aquitaine (b. 1099)
1886 – Joseph V von Scheffel, German writer (Ekkehard), dies at 60
1944 – Boleslaw Wallek-Walewski, Polish composer and conductor, dies at 59
1945 – Hans von Dohnanyi, “July 20th plotter”, hanged
1961 – Zog I [Ahmed Zogu], King of Albania (1928-39), dies at 65
2010 – Aladár Kovácsi, Hungarian pentathlete and Olympic champion (1952, Helsinki), dies at 77

More Famous Deaths »

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How to Sew an Apron

Aprons are essential for keeping your clothes clean while working in the kitchen or doing housework, but they can be expensive! Making your own apron is easy as long as you have some basic sewing skills and a sewing machine. Buy, download, or create a pattern, choose the fabric you want to use, and get started!

EditSteps
EditCutting Your Fabric
Choose a heavyweight fabric, such as canvas or laminated cotton. Aprons are usually made from a durable, washable fabric. Opt for natural material, such as cotton, but make sure to choose a fabric that is heavy enough to protect your clothing from any food or grease that may splatter onto it.[1]

Buy, download, or create a pattern for the apron body. Purchase an apron pattern in a craft supply store. If you don’t want to buy a pattern, find a free apron pattern online to download and print. To create a pattern, fold an apron in half lengthwise and place it on top of a large piece of paper. Then, trace around the outside of the apron to create a pattern for the body of the apron. Add an additional around the non-fold adjacent edges of the apron body for seam allowance.[2]

Measure the straps and draw them on the pattern paper. Measure the length and width of the strap that goes around the neck. Do the same for the ties at the waist of the apron. Then, draw a rectangle that is twice the width and half the length of each of the straps plus to both measurements for seam allowance. Make a separate pattern for the neck strap and the waist straps.[3]
For example, if the waist straps on the apron that you are using as your example are , then your rectangle would need to be plus seam allowance, so .

Only make 1 waist strap pattern and cut it out 2 times to get 2 waist tie pieces.

Fold your fabric in half and pin the pattern pieces on the fabric. Fold the fabric in half lengthwise and smooth it out to make sure that there are no lumps or bumps. Place the body pattern piece so that the long straight edge is against the fold. Place the strap pieces so that 1 of the short ends is on the fold. Insert pins through the pattern piece and fabric. Place 1 pin every going all the way around the edges.[4]
Pinning your pattern on the fold saves you the trouble of cutting out 2 pieces for each part of the apron and sewing them together again.

Cut along the edges of the paper pattern pieces. Use a sharp pair of fabric scissors to cut out the fabric pieces for your apron. Do not cut along the fold! Cut out 1 body piece, 2 waist straps, and 1 neck strap. Cut out 2 waist strap pieces using the waist pattern piece you made.[5]
Make sure to use a pair of sharp fabric scissors to cut out your pieces and be careful not to create any jagged edges as you cut.

EditHemming the Apron Pieces
Fold the strap pieces in half lengthwise with the right (front) sides facing. Open up one of the strap pieces to its full length. Then, fold the piece in half lengthwise to line up the raw edges on the long sides of the strap pieces. Make sure that the right (front or print) sides of the fabric are facing each other and only the wrong (back or non-print) sides are visible. Place a pin every to secure the folded fabric.[6]
Repeat this for each of the strap pieces.

Sew along the raw edges of the straps leaving a opening. Set your sewing machine to the straight stitch setting and begin sewing along the edges of one of the straps. Position the needle so that it is from the raw edges of the fabric. When you reach the center of the long edge, stop sewing and cut the thread. Then, resume sewing about from this position.[7]
This opening is required to invert the strap fabric through, so make sure that you include it!

Remove the pins as you sew! Otherwise, you may damage your sewing machine.

Invert the straps and push out the corners. Use your fingers to turn the strap right-side out. Then, take the pencil that you used to draw the pattern. Push the pencil eraser-first into the opening you left and push it into the corners of the straps.[8]
Repeat this for the other 2 straps.

The back end of a chopstick or the back of a capped pen will also work to push out the fabric at the corners.

Sew the opening closed and hem the edges of the straps. After you have finished inverting the straps, tuck the fabric under along the opening so that it is hidden and even with the rest of the seam. Place a couple of pins through the fabric to hold the opening closed. Then, sew a straight stitch all the way around the edges of the straps. Keep the stitch about from the edges of the straps.[9]
This will close the opening you left and tack down the edges of the strap for a nice, neat look.

Hem the edges of the apron body. Fold over the fabric on the edges of the apron body piece by . Make sure to fold the fabric over to the wrong side so that the raw edge will be hidden on the back of the apron. Insert pins every along the edges to hold the fabric in place. Then, sew a straight stitch about from the fold to secure the hem.[10]
Make sure that you remove the pins as you sew. Do not sew over them or you may damage your machine!

EditSewing the Apron Pieces Together
Pin the ends of the neck strap to the top edges of the apron. Place the end of the strap so that the right side will be facing out and then the seam will be hidden on the wrong side of the apron body. Make sure that the end of the strap overlaps the top edge of the apron by about . Position the end of each strap so that the outer edge of the strap is parallel to and even with the outer edge of the apron.[11]
Place a couple of pins through the fabric to secure the strap ends in place.

Sew a straight stitch in a square shape to secure the ends of the straps. Start sewing at the top most corner of the apron body to attach the first end of the neck strap. Position the needle so that it is about from the edge of the strap and apron body hem. Then, sew straight down by . Turn the fabric 90 degrees and sew across the bottom edge of the strap. Repeat to sew a complete square through the end of the strap and the corner of the apron.[12]
Repeat this for the other end of the neck strap.

Pin the ends of the apron ties to opposite edges of the apron body. Attach the waist straps so that they are horizontal and the long edge is parallel to the middle of the apron. Arrange the end of the strap with the right side facing out and the seam facing away from the front of the apron. Overlap the top edge of the apron by about . Position the end of each strap with the outer edge parallel to the outer edge of the apron.[13]
Repeat for the other strap.

You may want to slip the apron over your neck to locate your waist before you pin the straps in place.

Sew in the shape of a square around the edges of each of the straps. Position the needle from the edge of the first waist strap and apron body hem. Then, sew a straight line over from your start point. Rotate the fabric 90 degrees and then sew a straight line down the bottom edge of the strap. Continue to rotate and sew until you have completed the square.[14]
Repeat for the other waist strap on the opposite side.

Cut the excess thread and try on your apron. After you have finished attaching your straps, cut the excess threads. Then, slip the neck strap over your head and try on your apron! Tie the waist straps behind your back to secure the apron.

EditThings You’ll Need
An old apron

Paper

Pencil

Measuring tape

of heavy cotton fabric, such as laminated cotton or canvas

Pins

Scissors

Sewing machine

Thread

EditReferences
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