Ok, so unlike what I said before, I have NOT managed to keep up with this blog.
Needless to say, I’ve gotten quite far on my armor project by this time (since I was still recounting what I had done thus far AFTER the fact the last time I posted). So, let’s just, for the moment, sum up what I’ve done to say that after three “failed” attempts, I now have a breastplate! Yes, it’s all shiny and new and it fits me like a glove.
So, let’s just go over what I’ve done in a nutshell, shall we?
Attempt 1: 30g sheet aluminum- I attempted to hammer out a breastplate using a hammer and a mallet. This didn’t work too well. The aluminum was very uncooperative and, couple that with the fact that I live in apartment building, the project was very LOUD. Scratch that.
Attempt 2: 30g sheet aluminum- I actually measured and created a pattern for this out of a brown paper bag before cutting out the metal. I decided that I would need to create darts (or little fold over triangle things, for those of you who don’t sew) in order to get the metal to bend. In short, this worked really well! There were two parts to the breastplate: a cup section and a band that was supposed to go around the front of me. After fighting with the metal, I managed to put the darts in. And then, I realized that I couldn’t bend back the top part (yes, I need to share pictures!). To combat this, I decided to add another dart. Well, let’s just say that this didn’t work and that the whole thing ended up looking like crap and fit horribly. (However, it does fit my boyfriend quite well. Maybe I could use it for his Dwarven armor?) Anyway, scratch that.
Attempt 3: 30g sheet aluminum- This actually didn’t end up looking so bad. I used the same pattern as before with a few modifications, and I actually planned for two sets of darts instead of one. And lo and behold, the thing actually turned out well! But I came to a standstill when I got to the wrap around band (the shape wasn’t right) Plus, the breastplate had taken quite a bit of abuse in the process of making it that no amount of Brillo (which I’ve been using as sand paper) could buff out. So, I took this breastplate home to my dad to see what could be done…
Attempt 4: sheet aluminum (aka- roof flashing)- So my dad actually suggested using something thinner. Roof flashing is actually very cheap, and I got a whole roll of the stuff for $10. So, kudos for bargains. The stuff is very flexible and shiny, and actually in no time at all I used the same pattern as in attempt 3 in order to cut out a new breastplate cup piece. it turned out looking really good and I didn’t destroy it in the process. My dad helped me to shape the band the correct way, and we riveted the whole thing together. Very pretty! I was originally going to make a back plate, but this stuff is so flexible that I actually decided to create “wings” off of the original armor to just wrap around me and lace up the back. Sure, it’s not period accurate. And the armor is so thin that I will be in constant fear of denting it during the ren faire and convention. However, it looks right and it feels perfect. I just hope it will fit over the corset…