15 Jun Maker’s Monday: Belt Systems Part 3
Good morning everyone! Welcome back to maker’s monday! This week we’re finishing off belt systems. Let’s get into it!
Supplies I’m using this week: 2 & 5mm craft foam, nylon strapping, parachute buckles, acrylic paints, enamel paint, modge podge, & sewing machine.
First thing we’re going to do is put the actual belt together. I’ve made a lot of cosplays over the years that have needed belts, and I’ve made them a number of ways, but it took about 7 years for me to finally internalize that if you want a belt that matches your cosplay, then one of the easiest ways to achieve that will be sewing craft foam onto a fabric backing. So once I got my hips measured out plus additional length for the buckle that’s the technique I employed! I’m sewing 2mm craft foam over a nylon strap that would usually be used as a strap for a bag. It was a little tricky to get the sewing machine to pass the craft foam through smoothly but if you’re having this problem it can be pretty easily solved by just putting some wax paper over the craft foam half! I did find that once the feed got going it went pretty smoothly, except for a couple hiccups with the backstitching at the ends. The flaps I had to sew over the buckle turned out to be a little more finicky but bad stitching can easily be covered up with strategic placement of other foam strips.
Got a belt now? Great! The first thing I’m gonna do is paint mine. Usually you want to figure out the placement of the things you’ll be putting on your belt before you do this, but I’m both terrible at and not always fond of planning ahead. To get the color I wanted it took two layers of Master’s Touch Acrylic in Burnt Sienna, the same color I used for both my holster and the paneling on my chest piece. To get the matte shine that leather often has I sealed it with a layer of matte Modge Podge. The buckles will be painted after placement has been figured out.
Speaking of placement – let’s take care of that. I’ve got a few things that I’m going to have to fit on this belt: places where I can buckle on my thigh holster, a spot for my functional pouch, a spot for my two non functional pouches, and two scabbards, and only so much room to fit all of that. Now I’m right handed, so I know for sure the holster and the functioning pouch will be sitting off my right hip which means once I have those placed properly where they’re not going to take up too much room but also not brush up to hard it’ll be easier to figure out the placement of the other things.
Now the holster system ended up being slightly different from what I was originally imagining when I designed the character last november. Originally there were two belts in the design, one to hold the pouches and swords, and one to attach the scabbard to. But if you’ve ever worn anything that has multiple decorative belts or holsters both can be a pain to wear. So step one. I’m eliminating that second belt. The new system has the holster just clip directly on to the original belt, so if I want to do something crazy like say, sit down, I can easily just unbuckle it to make sure my leg has it’s full range of movement when sitting without wrecking anything on the cosplay. I thought briefly about sewing the buckles on to these straps like I did the belt, but because they’re not weight bearing it was much easier to just use contact cement.
For what I’m referring to as my “functional” pouch, it’s just the sporran that came with my kilt. I know for a fact that it can hold my convention wallet, my phone, and a pair of prescription glasses or sunglasses depending on what event I take it to so if I need a pouch these days and don’t want to build one, it’s my go to. It has two little d-rings on the back that are usually attached to a chain belt, but in this case I slipped a clip o-ring through it so that I can take it off the belt when I’m not wearing it. This attaches to a simple craft foam flap that I added while I was adding the clips for my holster.
On the other hip I’m attaching two decoration pouches. They don’t open, so obviously they can’t hold anything, but I like adding pouches to belts so they’re here anyways. I keep the scabbards on the back portion of my belt, and they’ll have their own post detailing how I went about making them (and how much I now hate non standard sword shapes) but they were built in advance just so I could get a feel for how I’d actually go about attaching them alongside everything else.
And that’s Leo’s belt system! Next week we’ll be having a guest blog for Maker’s Monday, so make sure to keep an eye out for that before we get back to our regular schedule!