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I made post-apocalyptic leather leg armor!

The costuming aesthetic for the show I'm working on, Brecht's Caucasian Chalk Circle, is a combination of deconstructed post-apocalyptic with the traditional garb of the Caucus region. Recently the head costumer gave me the arms of a leather jacket she cut up to make something else and said I could mess around and try to make something with them if I liked. I knew she'd used most of the jacket to make armor for the chest to be worn by some soldier characters. So I decided to see if I could make something to be worn on the legs.

First I cut open the sleeves so that the leather lay flat. Looking at them laid out this way, it struck me that I could make something along the lines of chaps, which are basically detachable pant legs that are held together with a belt that serve as horseback or motorcycle riding gear. I also dug out an old, falling-apart leather belt I had in my stash.

Since they would likely be worn by a man if used, I decided to use Bernie as my model. He held the belt around his waist while I positioned the leather pieces where I wanted them to hit on the legs. I decided I wanted them fairly far to the front, but not so far that they looked like pants that just didn't have a crotch. Initially I thought I might use them with the cuff side down, as you can see here as worn by Adelaide, who is of more delicate proportions than Bernie.

I wasn't sure how to style them, except that I knew I wanted them to look pieced together, as if made out of layers or "plates" even though they were leather. Bernie found this image on the Internet which proved to clarify my thoughts, and I decided to model mine after it.

I cut each leather sleeve along the other side seam so I could remove the piece designed to hold the elbow; it didn't lay flat and looked bulgy. But otherwise I didn't want to wreck the leather in case I didn't like what I tried. So I folded it over onto itself in three places, held down with alligator clamps, to make it look like pieces of leather laid on top of itself. When I arranged that to my satisfaction on both legs, I ran a little line of hot glue instead the creases to keep them in place. Then I sewed them down on my sewing machine, which I was pleased to find handled sewing through all the layers of leather with minimal trouble. I ended up flipping the pieces so that the cuffs were at the top attached to the belt, as I liked them tapering down the leg better than up it. Finally I took my scissors to it to make it a little less squared off at the places where one "piece" supposedly joined the one above it. Here is Adelaide in the current finished product.

Kinda cool, huh? The belt still needs a buckle, it's held on with another surprisingly useful alligator clip. And they might be most wearable with some kind of buckle holding the chaps down onto the legs. But I think those would be best designed once the wearer has been determined so that any such attachments can be sized correctly. But I'm pretty happy with them. They look appropriate for a post-apocalyptic setting, I think, and have an interesting suggestion of a beetle carapace. I will show them to the costumer today and see what she thinks.

About Me

My name is Phoebe. I'm Boston area theater professional and English professor focused in writing, acting, directing, and modeling. I'm known for having lots of interests, lots of opinions about those interests, and a very high estimation of the value thereof. This blog is for talking about whatever's on my mind, from my daily life to my activities to musing on any number of abstract topics. Thanks for taking the time to read.

My productions:

Upcoming Productions:

MRS. HAWKING part 2 and 3

at the Watch City Steampunk Festival 2016

presented by The Chameleon's Dish

Vivat Regina
by Phoebe Roberts

at 2PM


Base Instruments
by Phoebe Roberts

at 6PM

Saturday, May 13th 2017
at 274 Moody Street, Waltham, MA

Other Achievements:

"The Tailor at Loring's End" screenplay
Quarter Finalist in the Final Draft Big Break Screenwriting Competition 2013

"Adonis" screenplay
Top Ten Percent in the Bluecat Screenwriting Contest 2015

Latest Month

April 2017


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