Making this is not a fast project. Even after making several of them, each one takes about 40 hours of work.
- Thin leather
- Patterns - See attached file with patterns.
- Small snaps, preferably size 0.
- Small beads to behave as "rivets".
- Needle, heavy duty sewing needle or leather ones.
- Coat or upholstery thread in a matching or complementary color.
- Thimble or something to push the needle through the leather.
- Scissors - You don't need specialized scissors to cut leather.
The leather can be any color. I used silver. Use vegetable tanned leather if you plan to add carving. You can also draw designs using a Sharpie pen on the finished product.
Careful when cutting leather to not scratch shinny side of leather with scissor handles. You may want to cut the general shape out and then go back and do the fine trimming then. I have also found that holding the scissors upside down (not comfortable) works for me.
Use a thimble or plan on nifty calluses.
This is not an overnight project. Plan 40 hours to do this start to finish. If you do it in less, you have better calluses than I.
Toe nail scissors (they are curved and sharp) are a godsend- they are fantastic at trimming curves and they can reach those hard to get spots.
1/2 side of leather makes about 6 of them.
weight of leather
9 snaps? 3 body 2 pauldrins, 2 hips, 6 legs
fix helm pattern to not use fold
You Will Need
Leather ? Oz. I use silver
Silver beads to act as "rivets" and hide stitching
Grey coat thread
11 1/2 doll-the more moveable joints the better. I have been using a ballerina one because its knees and elbows bend.
Needle(s) - strong enough to go through leather and small enough to go through the bead hole.
Awl - pre-punching holes with an awl simplifies sewing the pieces together
1x2x6" piece of wood: to be under the leather that you are using an awl on
thimble (or really good calluses) - start with one or finish with the other
Scotch tape - holds pieces together while you are sewing them.
snaps-4/0 size 13 of them. However, 2 of them can be slightly larger.
Footwear for the doll - Only mentioning it because I pick the doll for the highest number of moving parts so I have to look for separate footwear.
Trace pattern on leather
Cut out pieces from the leather
Sew 5 beads up the dart, 1/8 " apart, and starting 1/8" from the point of the dart. The beads cover up the thread that holds the 2 sides together. Pre-punching the holes makes this easier.
Tape the 2 sides together on the side where the shoulders are already joined. Match bottom ends. The front piece should overlap the back by about 3/16". Sew the 2 sides together, using beads to cover up the stitching. I use 2 rows of 5 beads.
On the open side, where the body pieces will attach, sew the same 2 rows of 5 beads on just the front body piece, except that the bottom 2 beads hide one top half of a snap and top 2 beads hide another top half of a snap.
Match up and sew bottom 1/2 of 2 snaps on the top side of the back plate.
Sew bottom 1/2 of snap on the top of the back shoulder flap.
Put armor on doll and decide where the top half of the snaps go. Don't sew it on now; you will do so when you attach the pauldrins.
Take off body armor and sew on top 1/2 of snap on the bottom of the front shoulder flap. Use beads to cover up the stitching. I use 2 beads to hide the snap.
Trim piece as appropriate.
Cut out 2 sets of the 3 pattern pieces remembering to flip piece 1 over for 1 of them.
Cut the slits in the top pauldrin piece-just shy of 1/2".
Pivot and tape the two flaps on one side of the top pauldrin piece to create a 90 degree angle. Have the flap closer to the semicircle on top of the other flap.
Sew the pauldrin corner in place using a bead to cover stitching.
Repeat for the other side of the top pauldrin piece.
Sew the 1st piece to the 2nd by sewing a bead in the middle of the bottom of the 1st piece to the middle of the top of the 2nd piece with the 1st piece on top of the 2nd piece.
Decide which side of the pauldrin is the front and which is the back. Place the 2nd and 3rd pieces so that they are parallel and the 3rd piece extends by 3/8"at the back and the 2nd overlaps across the 3rd by 1/8". Tape into place. Sew the 2nd piece to the 3rd by sewing a bead at the rear of the 2nd piece (with the 3rd sticking out by 3/8").
Sew another bead connecting the 2nd piece to the 3rd this time sewing a bead in the middle of the bottom of the 2nd piece to the middle of the top of the 3rd piece with the 2nd piece on top of the 3rd piece.
Sew a 3rd bead connecting the 2nd piece to the 3rd this time at the other end of the 2nd piece. The 3rd piece will extend beyond the 2nd.
Sew the bottom of a snap to the topside of the bottom of the 3rd piece on the end where the 3rd piece extends by 3/8".
Sew the top of a snap to the underside of the bottom of the 3rd piece on the end where the 3rd piece extends by more than 3/8". Hide the stitches by using beads on the topside.
Add decorative beads to the bottom of the 3rd piece.
Clip curve of flaps on the 1st piece.
Repeat steps for other pauldrin remembering that the front and back are opposite of the one that you have just done.
Sew a bead in each of the bottom ends of the 2nd piece. These beads are decorative to the middle of the top of the 2nd piece.
Cut out pieces. Make certain to mark the halfway point on piece 2.
Draw a smaller circle 1/8" inwards on the underside of piece 1. Clip the curves to the smaller circle. This makes little flaps that you use to attach piece 1 to piece 2.
Sew piece 1 to piece 2 using the little flaps. Use a bead at each flap to hide the stitches. Find the midpoint of piece 2 which will be the front. It matches up with either end of the circle. Start from the midpoint of piece 2 and work to the back. You will have extra of piece 2. Trim the excess, parallel with the end.
Once you get to the back, return to where you started and finish the other side. Once the two sides meet in the back, overlap them and sew them together (using about 4-5 beads to hide the stitches). By the way, this part takes the longest and is the most troublesome.
ll be the front.
Cut pieces out.
Sew the 2 large pieces together with 1 piece overlapping the other by 1/8". Use beads to hide the stitching - usually 2 rows of 5. The bottom beads also attach a tab.
On the other side of the hip belt, sew 2 rows of 5 beads with the top beads also sewing the top of a snap on the underside of the leather. The bottom beads also sew the top of a snap on the underside of the leather. I usually put these beads on the same piece that lays on top on the other side.
Determine the position for the bottom half of the snaps and sew them onto the top side of the remaining flap of the hip belt. The bottom snap also is where you sew the other tab.
Sew the bottom of a snap to the outer, topside end one of the tabs on the side seam of the hip belt. Do the same on the other tab on the hip belt. The top of the snaps are sewn onto the leg armor as part of assembling those pieces.
Cut pieces out. When you cut the upper leg pieces, flip the pattern over for one of them. The top leg pieces are mirror images of one another.
Start with the knees (just like real armor). Cut the lines in the side-up to where the curves at the top and bottom start. Overlap the flaps so you make a 90 degree angle. Decide which will be the top and bottom of the knee cop. The flaps on the top should be on the outside of the flaps on the bottom. Sew on 2 beads on each side to hold the flaps in place.
Verify that the knee flaps are symetric.
Trim any excess.
Trim the corner of the top overlapping piece to create a smoother curve from the pivot point where the two flaps start to the opposite corners.
Join the lower leg to the knee. Hold together the two top corners of the lower leg, wrong sides together on the inside. Match the midpoint of the lower leg to the midpoint of the bottom of the knee. Remember that the bottom of the knee is the one with the flaps on the underside. Determine where to sew the "rivets" (beads) in place and use tape to secure them into position. The lower leg should underlap the knee by 1/8". The beads joining the two pieces should be just on the outside of the curve cut into the bottom of the knee. Only one bead is sewn on at each point. You want the knee and lower leg to bend in a straight line.
Repeat the process to attach the knee to the upper leg pieces. With the upper leg piece, the "halfway" point is the point marked on the pattern-1/8" from the sharp corner. Remember that the top leg pieces are mirror images of one another.
Decide which is the left leg and which is the right.
Now for strapping:
Make 6 1/4 x 1 1/2" strips.
Sew the top half of a snap to the underside of one end of each strap. Use only 1 bead on the top side to hide the stitching.
Sew the other end of each strap to the outer side of the leg. The lower leg gets 2 straps while the upper leg gets 1. Use 1 bead on top of the strap to be the "rivet" and hide the stitches. On the lower leg, the top one is 3/4" down from the top. The bottom one is 3/4" down from the top.
Put the legs on the doll.
Determine where the bottom half of the snaps go. Sew them into place.
Now to attach the hips to the legs.
Put the legs and hips on the doll. The tabs on the hips already have the bottom half of the snaps sewn into place. Determine where the top half of the snaps go. Sew them into place using 2 beads as "rivets" to hide the sewing. These are the snaps where I sometimes use a larger size.