Today we’re entering the fascinating (heavy on the sarcasm) world of strapping! Oooooh! It sounds super dodgy, but it’s unfortunately not all that sexy. Unless you’re REALLY into Velcro …
Visually, there’s not a lot to show for my efforts, but it’s all stuff that needed doing. I needed to attach all my foam armour pieces to my base layer and/or each other. I started by attaching my chest piece to my base layer. I decided to use magnets and Velcro for this bit, in order to make sure it wasn’t going anywhere when I move around. TIP: check the polarization of your magnets BEFORE you attach them. I meant to, forgot and ended up having to unpick a couple. Super annoying. In the process of doing so, I also managed to cut a hole in my base layer and had to rescue that as well. Don’t get me started on how awkward it is to work with stretch fabrics, else this post will end up with a parental advisory sticker. Anyway.
TIP: when attaching Velcro to EVA foam, it’s best to back it with webbing. This is because the plastic backing of Velcro doesn’t adhere very well to foam, even with super strong glue. I scored the area on the foam that I wanted to attach the Velcro to first as well. After I had sewn the Velcro to the webbing, I hot glued it to the scored foam area. I put Velcro on each of the four curvy back bits and a magnet in the middle. On the front, I put magnets in the middle and on both corners, as well as Velcro strips between them.
TIP: When working with magnets and fabric, make sure you wrap your magnet in extra fabric so the strong pull doesn’t tear a hole in your base layer. Also, for goodness sake DON’T PUT MAGNETS IN THE WASHING MACHINE. Either make the magnets completely detachable or resign yourself to the fact that you’ll be hand washing your costume.
After my chest piece was comfortably attached, I could start working out where on my arm my pauldron straps needed to go. To do this, I had to attach the shoulder of my pauldron to my chest piece, so it would hang in the right place. I used webbing and a D-ring hot glued onto the shoulder of the chest piece to anchor my pauldrons. The pauldrons used more Velcro to loop through the D-ring and attach back on itself. I did two of these setups on both pauldrons because redundancy is key.
Because I don’t want to drive my partner totally insane by asking for help every five minutes, I improvised a solution to help me draw on my own arm – I knew all those fabric scraps would come in handy!! After I stuffed my base layer with scraps to approximate my arm width, I pinned yet more Velcro strips into position on my base layer and sewed them in place. This sounds straight forward but was super fiddly and took HOURS. I used more D-ring/Velcro loops and straps on the arm straps on my pauldrons to keep them fastened around my arm, as well as Velcro-ing the straps directly to my base layer – look at all the redundancy!!
I did find a couple of areas for concern as I went through this whole process. A couple of my arm straps are beginning to tear because they’re so thin. When I move on to playing with thermoplastic, I’ll need to reinforce them all with that to make sure they don’t come off entirely. In the meantime, they’ve been gently placed to one side.