Let’s Talk About Armor Making – Planning For Armor Pieces

This post originally appeared on the GlitzParty Cosplay Facebook in 2017. It has been preserved for posterity to aid other cosplayers here!

#WhoopsItsWednesday instead of #TutorialTuesday this week. Things have been really hectic but we wanted to continue a little of last week’s tutorial since so many people found it useful! Once we have electricity (still working on that!) and are settled into our new workshop, we’ll continue with some more detailed tutorials on how we go from these blueprints to actual costume pieces!

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For this tutorial, we’re going back to our Leo and turning off all of our layers except the ‘main piece’ layer. We’re looking at the big picture for this tutorial, so anything more detailed will be too much. It’s gonna get cluttered!

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The first thing we’re going to add to our blueprint is an ‘overlap’ layer. With this color, we’re going in and extending all of the pieces that we intend to connect directly to each other and giving them enough space to firmly stick. Whether you’re sewing or building, giving enough excess for the layers to hold onto is key! You can always trim if you need to, but if the seam/bond isn’t wide enough to be solid, you’ll have a hard time making it work with what you’ve got, and you may even end up having to redo it! Better safe than sorry!

If you find this to be overkill, just make a note somewhere to do it when you’re tracing your pieces out on your material of choice. It definitely gets cluttered fast!The first thing we’re going to add to our blueprint is an ‘overlap’ layer. With this color, we’re going in and extending all of the pieces that we intend to connect directly to each other and giving them enough space to firmly stick. Whether you’re sewing or building, giving enough excess for the layers to hold onto is key! You can always trim if you need to, but if the seam/bond isn’t wide enough to be solid, you’ll have a hard time making it work with what you’ve got, and you may even end up having to redo it! Better safe than sorry!

If you find this to be overkill, just make a note somewhere to do it when you’re tracing your pieces out on your material of choice. It definitely gets cluttered fast!

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When you’re doing your overlap, it may be useful to include some edges that aren’t necessarily going to end up connected, but that will flesh out the pieces you’ll need to make to get the right effect. A curve at the top of the greaves will make the transition down from the kneepads more seamless. The tops of the boot guards will look best if they’re a solid piece. Again, do what makes sense to you and what you’ll need to look at later! If it’s overkill (like doing the tiny overlaps on the boot guard pieces), just move on!

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Now that we have our overlaps noted, we need to think about how our pieces will connect to each other that AREN’T sewn/glued directly. We already sussed out the best ways to make this work, so that will be saved for another tutorial, but you’ll want another layer (or two) to hash out the details. Think about spots you’ll need to be able to open a piece up (such as the torso piece!) and where straps, zippers and magnets can be hidden to arrange everything to stick/hang in the right spot. Even if you’re not sure yet how you’ll do something, use this opportunity to sketch out ideas on new layers. You might change your mind in the future, but having a rough plan is better than having no plan!

Last but not least, if you’re having trouble using a mouse to draw your lines and want to get a tablet, we want to suggest getting something small and cheap rather than splurging on a large, name-brand tablet. If you’re not going to be using it for actual art, or you’re not sure if you will be, it’s better to start small!

Our recommendation for a tester tablet is the Huion 420. It comes in at 19.99USD and is fulfilled by Amazon if purchased here: 
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00DTPYWBG/

We bought one of these after our Wacom’s pen went missing, since it was discontinued and couldn’t be replaced. We were really strapped for cash and had some commissions that needed to get done ASAP, so we took a chance on it and weren’t disappointed! We can confirm that it works great on both Windows and OS X, and it was actually more pressure sensitive than we were used to! We actually turned the sensitivity down to use it how we were accustomed, but it’s definitely a good problem to have! The only real downside, other than the real estate, if you prefer large tablets, is that the pen does not have an eraser sensor in it. The eraser on these is used to turn the pen on and off, as it is battery powered. It runs with 1xAAA battery and we have not yet had to replace the battery since May 2016. If you want to try out a tablet to use for blueprinting or art, this is our cheap and quick recommendation!

Tune in next week for our third part of this series which answers the question of how you turn your blueprint here into a pattern for your pieces!

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