Shannan Costume – The Sleeves and Bracers

Part 5 of the Construction behind my Shannan, the Daughter of Allon costume.

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The flowing sleeves were purely for aesthetic purposes and attached to the jerkin itself. The idea behind them was three-fold.

  • To be unique and add a little femininity
  • In keeping with the forest surroundings, they were to be cut to look like leaves
  • To be related in design to Wren’s, the Guardian Trio Leader of the Southern Forest (and one of Shannan’s protectors) costume

I found a beautiful sage green fabric at Hobby Lobby to use for the sleeves. I wanted to keep everything as natural looking as possible, but getting them cheaply was a whole other issue. So, as with the cowl, I compromised a purchased a poly-suede fabric. (I even went outside to test it against the trees by the porch. It matched! Although it’s hard to see in the photo below, it has shades of umber and slate grey in it.)
IMG_2176In the sketch, the sleeve was a full circle sleeve. Mrs. Elrod suggested we go for a half-sleeve instead, only attached to the front and back armpit of the jerkin. It would save a bit on fabric and keep from having more fabric that could potentially bunch up under the armpit. I agreed and we moved onto the next step. In the end we went with the pleat sleeve as the one of the right looked too courtly for Shannan’s costume.
IMG_2793I had no specific design in mind for the bracers when I first designed the costume. My knowledge of archery and leatherwork was nil. All I knew was that I didn’t want the tubed laced-down bracers that I’ve seen at renaissance faires. I wanted something more durable, more substantial, and a bit different looking. It was frustrating at first as all I seemed to be able to find were bulky designs made for muscle men and certainly not for a gal with a six inch wrist. To make matters worse, everything looked too clean, too modern. I finally turned to Deviantart as I knew there were some actual leatherworking artists under the costuming section. After a few hours of searching I came across a fantastic costumer leatherworker by the screenname of Sharpener (http://sharpener.deviantart.com/). I adapted a design from his various bracers. Mine was much more crude and simplistic, but it got the job done.

Mrs. Elrod drew up her own sketch to jot down sewing notes. We decided to go for an extended triangle front on top of the hand to protect the wrist as well as to cover the archer’s glove on the right hand. In addition, Mrs. Elrod added a triple stitch around the top panel. This tri-stitch is repeated through the whole costume.
IMG_2795The mock-up
IMG_2839 IMG_2844I then tried on the mock-up to make sure it fit properly. Thankfully, with the straps, it had enough room for the undershirt to fit in, but snug enough that it was form-fitting.
IMG_2818 IMG_2819 IMG_2822 IMG_2823Now here’s some amusing trivia on these bracers. Guess where the fabric came from! Yep, a pair of leather pants from Goodwill (and a suede skirt. Alas I didn’t get a picture of the skirt before it was diced).
IMG_2153The straps ended up being a little long, so we cut them in half. In addition, the straps themselves needed more weight to them as we were working with a soft, light leather and not a heavy duty one as most bracers are made with. Mrs. Elrod placed plastic boning in the middle of the top layer of layer and a bottom layer of poly-suede. The layering gave a thickening effect and it made it easier to hold the straps down lest they slip through the D-rings if I decided to start flailing (which is almost guaranteed. I tend to gesticulate wildly sometimes. 😛 ).
IMG_2828The next time I saw the bracers they were finished. I didn’t think to ask for a closeup of the bracers during my photoshoot, so here’s the closest shot (as well as the sleeves).
IMG_0551

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