The last things to make were the wrist and upper arm bands. These were both made with leather (turned hems) and leather cut-outs that were sprayed gold and glued in place. For anyone trying to do this technique I will pace on a valuable tip (learned the hard way!)... If you lay cut bits of leather on paper, then use a spray can of paint, the air forcing the paint also blows the leather bits all over the place! Holding them down results in gold finger nails (a look some may find fashionable - but not MY style). Solution: use the fabulous, amazing temporary basting fabric spray. I use this spray - found in fabric stores - to apply fabric to other fabric and hold it in place while I top stitch it or quilt it. It works well to spray the paper, then lay the leather cut-outs flat in place. Then the spray paint will not move them. After drying the pieces lift off with little effort and very little residual glue. It is then easy to lay them in place and hot glue them down.
The pieces were finished with Velcro fasteners to allow a snug fit to the arm.
Here is the whole set on display.... I will be doing the final fitting tomorrow, just in time for the Halloween Weekend!
Estimated time working on this costume... 16 hours. Not including shopping for supplies and fittings. This took longer than the wedding dress!! but how cool is it? I am very pleased.
A plastic sward, the wrong colour, was sprayed silver (blade) and gold (handle), then leather was wrapped around the handle and glued in place.
I used a separating zipper to close the back of the dress....
and added a layer of skirting (matching fabric) under the panels. It is shorter than the layers, so just finishes it off without being seen much. I also (cleverly) added a pocket into that skirt that can be accessed by the right hand beneath the panels, for such important things as booze money and house keys! Warrior Princesses must be prepared, but must also NOT carry a purse!?!
The knee pads were made by layering leather with quilt batt sandwiched, top stitch quilting and pieces of cut leather sprayed gold, glued in place and quilted around the designs! A few hotfix gold "rivetts" made the look and some elastic and ties attach them to the top of the fabulous purchased boots.
Photo through a mirror of me in the boot with the pad attached... not very clear but you get the idea...
The sward holder is cardboard, covered in leather and decorated like the knee pads, then attached to a mid back panel, that has corresponding hooks and ties to connect to the side fronts and to the back of the shoulder pads. She should be able to reach the sword from over the right shoulder.... handy (and deadly if it weren't plastic!). A round thingy weapon is cut from plastic and sprayed with silver paint, then attached with Velcro to the right front of the outfit.
The outfit on my model.... starting to look almost finished!!!
Only wrist and arm bands to work on. Good thing, as there is only two days left to finish.
The tricky part of the armour is to give the appearance of metallic embellishments. I decided that foam sheets, sprayed with gold may be easy to cut and apply to the leather shoulder pads. Hot glue gave it a bit more definition. I drew the curly-cue pattern and cut the foam with scissors, then applied hot glue lines, then sprayed with gold paint. After it dried, I glued the detailing to the shoulder pads.
The pads were made by cutting two layers of leather, sandwiched some quilt batting in between, and sewing around the edges. In the photo you can see how I added some D-rings to allow the pads to be attached to the front breast plate and the back piece (that will also hold the sward scabbard).
The other detail is the small metal embellishment at the lower front of the leather dress. This is made by drawing the pattern on paper, tracing it with the glue gun, twice. Then I sprayed it with gold paint. I peeled it off the paper, and glued it to the dress. I think I will also have to further secure it with some gold thread stitching. The glue may not be secure enough. Next, mounting the armour together, wrist and knee pads, and sward scabbard, and roundy thingy weapon....
This is probably the most challenging part of the costume... the breastplate armour.
Here is where ALL the crafting skills come out... paper mache, glue gun, painting skills.
The challenge... to make an antiqued gold metal breastplate with no gold, no metal and new (not antique) materials... hmmm
First a couple of paper mache bowls. I used shallow soup bowls and lined them with clear wrap, then coated with a few layers of paper mache.
After they were dry, I trimmed them and glued them to a cardboard cutout of the rest of the shape needed. Attached rings (to mount to the other parts of the armour (with duct tape) and cover the whole lot again with a few layers of paper mache.
When that was dry, I drew the lines where the embossed lines stand up on the breastplate. I used piping cord (from the fabric store) and the hot glue gun (crafter's best friend) to attach in the curly pattern I had drawn.
Of course there were the mandatory finger burns... ouch. Cover all of this with fine strips of paper mache. Dry, then spray with gold paint. Then accent the lower areas with gold paint mixed with black to "antique" the whole thing.
Darling Daughter has asked for a Xena, Warrior Princess costume this year. She has wanted this for a few years, but has lived away (at the University of Waterloo) and has been too far away for fittings. This is the year. Here is the photo that we will copy....
Here is the bodice work. I used a McCalls pattern 4109 for a corset type bodice. The fabric is a distressed dark brown fake leather. The bodice has many seams, all top stitched .25 inches from the seam, and piped at the bottom edge.
The "skirt" is made of many strips of leather, rounded at the end. I made these by bonding two layers together (right sides out) and top stitching around the edges.
There is a second layer of "riveted" half circles. I sewed these together just out of view under the next layer and the "rivets" are actually hot-fix metallic studs. I am working out the kinks of making the metallic overlays for the wrist, knee, arm-bands. The shoulder-pads are leather with metal overlays, and the breast and back plates are more difficult and will likely need paper mache, painted metal... not sure yet. Stay tuned!
I golf, knit, sew and work in the Beautiful Niagara Region, the banana belt of Canada. I work in the optical field, and love to combine fashion and great vision in eyewear. I golf 4 times a week, 8 months a year, with a couple of golf trips south in the winter. I knit, and sew, most of the other hours of the day.