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Unread 12-05-2012, 03:45 PM   #1
AshofRebirth
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The best way to go about this... Leather molding

First.. a small introduction.

Hello! I'm Ashley. And I'm insane.
Now that that's out of the way... I want to replicate Balthier's vest.. out of leather.



I pretty much think leather is the only thing that can work for me - which is fine. I don't mind spending the money for the leather and I already have some tools. Because... see how it form fits to his chest and his everything? And it's also embossed..

http://media.giantbomb.com/uploads/0...eckonlarge.jpg

And also to me, it doesn't even look like a fabric. It looks like a thin tooling leather (like maybe 4 oz). The person I'm making this for is opposed to craft foam. Either way, I'm going with leather!



Okay, that being said.. what would be the best way to get it wet formed to his body? I intend on making a pattern off of him first, doing all the leather tooling and stuff, and then wet-forming.. but I'm not sure how patient he is with me forming it to him for hours on end.

Should I tell him to just suck it up (and use an hair dryer to speed up the process), or make a torso cast (of what) to form it over? We are also trying to keep the cost somewhat low, since the leather will eat a bit of the money.


P.S.- If you have any ideas for his pants, shoot! It doesn't have to be real leather or anything. I just want to get the look right
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Unread 12-05-2012, 04:36 PM   #2
verdatum
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You don't particularly need to wet-form leather when it's that light. If you form it while wet, it's just gonna shrink up on him and then he won't be able to breathe.

It should be enough to work out the pattern using a piece of non-stretchy fabric. Whether he has the patience for this or not is mostly up to him. It's probably faster to get a single quick pattern off him than it is to make a duct tape dressform, just try not to stick him with any pins.

Transfer the fabric pattern to the leather (avoiding flaws on the leather can be a bit tricky during this layout), cut the pattern and sew any seams. You butt the seams against eachother, so no need for seam allowances or sewing it inside out. Once together, test fit it and tweak it smaller as needed.

I can't quite tell from these pictures how it fastens together; I would assume some combination of lacing and hook-and-eye fasteners.

You've got a lot of tooling to look forward to. Have fun with that. Careful using the swivel knife with leather that light. If you cut too deep, you can weaken it or slice straight through.
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Unread 12-05-2012, 06:52 PM   #3
AshofRebirth
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Hmm.. Maybe 4 oz isn't the kind I meant then. I'm trying to remember the weight of leather I used to make pouches, because I wet form those. And it wasn't something you could really sew easily XD (I ended up riveting it together)
It was like, the second thickest shoulder from Tandy. One weight away from the 8 - 10 oz.
I may just be spewing nonsense. It's been a while since I worked with my leather last.

I am looking for a type of leather you can wet form though.. to get that form fitting look. Maybe I need to form the back and front separately?

EDIT: Actually the vest design does have an open back! So if I wet form it over him, it won't suffocate him with the open back.. right?
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Last edited by AshofRebirth : 12-05-2012 at 07:01 PM.
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Unread 12-07-2012, 01:55 AM   #4
verdatum
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I think the lightweight stuff is really what you should be using, it's going to be the most comfortable (it's also a bit cheaper). You should be able to get that form fitting look just by fitting it correctly. The inherent stretch in the lightweight leather will take care of the rest. As I see it (and I could be missing something here), wetforming is really only beneficial when making things like leather cases, where you want it to take weird tight corners.

You can actually sew leather of any weight. You just gotta punch the holes first and then handstitch it. The stitch wheel shows you where to make the holes. In the proper technique, you alternate between the needle and the hole punching awl in one hand. But I cheat and punch all my holes with a Dremel, or drill with a tiny jeweler's drill bit.

To get that butt-joint type stitch, you sew a pattern that ends up looking like 'X's on one side, and like horizontal bars on the other. Actually, there are probably a number of stitches that work, but that one is pretty common. (A leather shop near me has a snazzy specialized machine that can actually sew that stitch automatically. One of the wildest things I've ever seen, oodles of moving parts, and looked like it was at least a hundred years old.)

Oh, one other thing. If dead set on trying to wetform it on the guy, do keep an eye out for signs of hypothermia. Water doesn't have to be very cold for it to happen. The evaporation of the water pulls heat off the skin. I don't think it's very likely, but it isn't something to play around with either.
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Unread 12-07-2012, 07:23 PM   #5
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Depending on how built he is, I'm with verdatum - you may not need to wet-form to get that chest curve. Wetforming something that large, it won't just be drying for hours, more like days, and I don't think he's going to sit still that long.

If you really WANT to do it, for added idk badassery (so that no matter how thin or thick or built or not the body inside the armor is, it will still have a curve at the chest to imply nice pecs underneath), you need a form that is pretty much the same size and shape as him. So the plaster body cast would be one of few options. It needs to be something sturdy, so foam or other quicker, cheaper options are right out.
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Unread 12-08-2012, 12:14 AM   #6
AshofRebirth
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Oh goodness. No, I'm not that evil to make him sit there for days. Hypothermia is a good point too.

Yeah, we opted to go with a cast. The more I thought about it, the more I realized it would just be the best option. I can take hours back and forth from doing things to get it just right.
I was really thinking of a plaster cast.. (multiple layers of plaster strips) and then reinforcing it with good glue and possibly even cloth if unnecessary? I really don't want to mess with resin for it though. Like they did -> http://www.craftster.org/forum/index...993#msg3676993
Would I need to buy a tub of plaster in addition to the roll of strips, or are just the strips fine? (I know! So many questions..)

I'm not really sure how I'm going to fit it together yet.. I'll have to look at the pattern deeply and see.

EDIT: You know... those light green sides and lower back look like they're (possibly stretchy) cloth material.. Attaching lightweight cloth to leather??

http://images.wikia.com/finalfantasy...hier-FFXII.png
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Last edited by AshofRebirth : 12-08-2012 at 12:22 AM.
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Unread 12-08-2012, 10:12 AM   #7
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Don't waste money on resin, plaster is WAY cheaper. I have done this. Frankly unless this dude is a singer or does yoga, you will have issues around the lower rib portions while the plaster sets up. Most ordinary people breathe with their whole rib cage, trained singers and practicers of yoga learn to breathe through their diaphragm and thus can keep their ribs still while the plaster dries. "belly breathing" it is commonly called. It isn't hard, but a little forewarning for the one getting casted helps.

Let the one getting casted that plaster gets hot as it cures! It shouldn't get hot enough to cause burns, but it does get warm enough to make people nervous. I have casted and been casted myself multiple times. It's messy, but kinda fun too.

Use the gauze strips to get the fine nuances of shape. Then once you are happy with that, get your pure plaster to almost-too-soft-for-cookie-dough but thicker-than-cake-batter consistency, slather on an inch thick layer of it & wait for it to set up. For an upper body you will need to do the process twice, front & back. The hardest part is making sure the castee is in the same body position both times. It's harder to do the plaster with them sitting upright, but it's more consistent in body position.

Once your casts are pulled & fully set, paint the inside with a varnish, a LOT of varnish, to completely seal the plaster. Now you can trim up the sides, strap the front & back together and pour a new, very wet slushy, batch of plaster inside to get a proper mold. Now you have an exact replica of the torso to work on.

Is it a lot of work? yes, three days worth at least before a single element of the actual costume gets touched. But it's worth it for really high quality work.
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