Thursday, July 17, 2014

Creating Armour

  My working life is never boring due to the fact that I may be called upon to make almost anything in any given season, and the only common denominator is menswear. Usually that means tailoring which I love to do, but at other times it could be spandex bodysuits or togas, or what I was doing last week, which was armour.
We needed Roman style armour to go with the togas and chitons required in one of the shows I have been assigned. We had some in stock but all in big sizes and not in great shape, or the right colour of leather for the designer.
So I took a look at what we had and drafted up a set of armour in a smaller size.
I started with a general fit using a very heavy denim fused with canvas, tweaked that a bit and moved onto a set in 5mm thick industrial felt, fit that and then tweaked the pattern a bit more before it was cut in leather.

This is the armour in water buffalo hide, in an unfinished state.
The fronts are quick changed in advance so that you can adjust the fit slightly with the straps but the strap mechanism then snaps over so the buckles do not have to be undone to get in and out of it.
The shoulder pieces still need to be riveted down to the body and we need to attach a d-ring on the shoulders for the capes to attach. The designer was contemplating adding a removable apron front, so that may still need to be worked out.

There is a lot of hardware involved- close to 220 rivets per set, 8 sets of buckles, 20 D-rings, 8 sets of snaps, its a lot of hammering.
The backs are adjustable by lacing tighter or looser, so these should fit  quite a few of our guys.

This was a fun project to do, and something that comes along only once in a while, but it certainly keeps things interesting.

They will also be a welcome addition to our stock for future use.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Something old....

I have to tell you that the availability and affordability of trim for period garments seems to be getting worse with every passing year.
We still have a lot of trim in stock but it is old stock, purchased by the 50 m and 100 m rolls many years ago.

Within this cache is a stash of really old trim. I think it must have been a donation many moons ago. Probably 1920's vintage, and we have scads of it in both silver and gold. We have it in widths from 1/4" to over 2" wide, and it is so pretty with its label and the black paper that separates the layers.

I have always loved this trim, as have many designers over the years.

Sadly, the silver trim is a little less stable and we no longer use it on costumes as it doesn't withstand the wear and tear and cleaning, but the gold has been pulled out to be used on a costume we are making. 

It is a bit finicky to put on and doesn't bend around corners very well, but I think Susy has done a fabulous job with it.
Oh in case you were wondering- this is a view of the back hip area of an eighteenth century coat we are making.
Here's the coat in progress. I still have to do some alterations and correct the sleeves, and the collar is just a basted idea at this stage, but it is coming along.