Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Scale Mail Corset

Finally my scale mail corset is done! It's not as fancy as the one that was my inspiration, but I really like it :) In the end it took 800+ scales and over 1600 rings to finish. I chose stainless steel scales and rings, meaning that it took some muscle to get the rings open and closed. I did a last touch with aluminium rings, which were much lighter and softer. If I ever do any scale mail projects, I'll go for the large scales and aluminium to lessen the amount of work.

I ordered my rings and scales from Queen Ring that's situated in the Netherlands. All packages (I ordered more supplies many times, because I underestimated the amounts needed!) arrived fast and well packed.



My best tips for working with scale mail

1. Go for the large scales. Unless your project absolutely requires it or you are doing a very small piece, always choose the larger size of scales. You will progress faster and require less material. I used stainless steel small scales and stainless steel 1,2 x 5,2 mm rings and it took a little over 800 scales and 1600 rings. The materials cost about 50 euros plus shipping.

2. Aluminium is nice. Steel is classic, but aluminium is much lighter and softer. Softer rings mean less calluses on your hands, and the lighter weight not only makes your scale mail garment more comfortable to wear, but also is cheaper to ship if you order materials.

3. Decent pliers help a lot! I used two small needle nose pliers that I usually use for putting together jewellery. Mine are not specific jewellery pliers, just regular ones. Pliers with thick handles are easier for your hands, don't go for thin, elegant handles. You want the ones that look heavy duty!

4. If you sew your scale mail piece to fabric, tie each stitch to place so you can remove one easily if there's pulling. I did my sewing in one continuous thread and had to remove it all when one stitch was wonky and pulling the scales. It was quite tricky to sew the scale mail to a corset because the garment has a shape the scales should follow. Also, attach your stitches to the scales, not the rings! Rings have the opening which can be big enough to allow the thread to slip out, or the opening can chafe at the thread.

5. Have plenty of time. My corset's 800+ scales took somewhere around 15 hours to put together. If you take too long breaks (weeks I'd say), you have to learn the technique again. It takes some time until your eyes adjust to the pattern so you can see how many scales each spot requires.

6. Make four-scale units. I first made four scale and three ring strings, then added one more ring to close the string into a circle. My process was to make a pile of these units, then attach them to my scale mail piece, then again make units. I felt it to be faster than attaching single scales, because with single scales you sometimes have to lift the whole armor piece or try to get your pliers into weird angles to close the rings. With units you can do some of the work separately, moving only the little pieces that your can turn in any position.

7. Use the large scales for the love of god! ;D I regretted choosing small scales so, so many times. I also noticed the Bibian Blue corset seems to use large scales, unlike I originally thought.

The base corset I used was a second hand piece. I took out the busk and put in plastic boning to keep the front stiff to take on the weight of the scales. Thanks to the heavy scales the corset really molds to my body. The corset itself is plastic boned and very comfy to wear, but doesn't have very dramatic curves either. I think it works well with the scales. I might add some trim to the top edge to hide the scales' holes on the first row, but they don't look too bad to me.

All in all scale mail is a very fascinating material and it just takes some time to make. It's not very complicated (even when it sure does look complicated when you take a look at tutorial videos!) and not too expensive. All you need are decent pliers x2 and lots of time!

And then some pictures! These were taken with my new Ikea roller blind background. There's two blinds, one functional and the other is just the fabric, glued to the end of the functional one. They work super well for a neutral, easy background.



Sleeve - Lip Service
Corset - DIY (the base corset is by Old Raven but customized)
Skirt - H&M
Tights - Queen of Darkness (sponsored)
Boots - New Rock (second hand)
Leather cuff - Loaned from my other half ;P







33 comments:

  1. Well hello awesome! Looks amazing!

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  2. That is really, really amazing, I think this is my favourite post of yours.

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    1. Thank you, what a lovely thing to say :) I'm very proud of the corset!

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  3. Ihan mielettömän upea! Näyttää kaiken kovan työn arvoiselta. :)
    Korsetti on kaikinpuolin mahtava ja istuu todella kauniisti, mikä ei ole yleistä valmiskorseteissa tai muiden mitoille tehdyissä (kuten tuon epäilen olevan merkkinsä vuoksi).

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    1. Kiitos! Oli tosiaan yllätys että korsetti istui hyvin, ostin sen sokkona ihan vaan edullisen hinnan, sopivan värin ja koon, sekä noutoetäisyyden perusteella, kävi hyvä munkki! Olin kyllä vähän yllättynyt kun plansetti oli ihan lelu, vetkui joka suuntaan ja nousi minimaaliselta mahakummulta hienosti sojottamaan, mutta se onneks korjaantui vaihtamalla tilalle pelkkiä luita.

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    2. Leluplansetteihin kyllä törmää harmillisen usein ja hyvin oppinut korsettiompelija osaa olla käyttämättä pelkkää normiplansettia, usein sen viereen laitetaan luut tukemaan lisää.

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  4. I think you did a magnificent job! this looks like a lot of work indeed. the corset looks great with that steampunk shoulder thing as well

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    1. Thank you! I have to try it out with the shoulder, a great idea!

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  5. Siitä tuli upea! Tosi hienon näkönen ja varmasti kaiken työn arvonen :)

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    1. Kiitos! Hommaa oli mutta suomuja on niin kiva silitellä että kyllä kelpaa ;D

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  6. That's amazing, the way the light shines off it as well. Your hard work really paid off.

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    1. Thanks! I really like how the scales move and shine, they look super nice! I'm thinking that a matching necklace might work really well with this piece :)

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  7. Wowowowow. As a fellow crafter/seamstress, I applaud your work. I would love to see pics of it in progress, do you have any?

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    1. Thanks! I have only a few progress pics, since it wasn't that interesting looking during process :) Here's a link to the previous post: http://bonesandlilies.blogspot.fi/2015/01/scale-mail-project.html

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    2. I've never tried mail or scale-mail, this is so interesting to see the process. I'm all about doing beadwork that is tiny and detailed, but that mail might have made me pull out my hair! So cool :)

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  8. Great, so glam! *.*

    http://retro-electric.blogspot.com/

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  9. Gorgeous, you did such a great job!

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  10. Wow, this is so amazing! I can't imagine the time and attention to detail it must take1 I love the boots and stockings too!

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    1. Thank you so much! I've not worn the boots nearly enough for how awesome they are, I think I need more feet to be able to wear all the things I want to ;D

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  11. Wou! Varmaan aika palkitseva fiilis nyt kun on valmis ja lopputulos noin upea :3

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    1. Kyllä on palkitseva! Oisin varmaan murhannut jonkun jos ei olis tullut hyvä ;D

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  12. Replies
    1. Thank you, I'm really pleased with the result!

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  13. Did you have to wear the corset while trying to attach to make sure the scales fell correctly?

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