Since it’s been Christmas and I don’t have to keep John’s present a secret anymore, I can officially show you all what I’ve been up to! John wears an almost full set of armour to Swordcraft, rain or shine, and the only thing he’s been missing is a backplate. Since he wears a converted version of my old etched breastplate, he’s only been wearing the front steel plate, and as long as he’s been wearing it, he’s been wanting a fancy leather backplate (in the rules system we use, a 5mm leather back plate gives the same amount of HP as a 1.2mm steel backplate). So I made one!
I started with a raw sheet of veg-tan leather. Creating the pattern for the shape to match the front plate was fairly easy coming from a sewing background. I cut the shape, cleaned up the edges and measured out and embossed the diamonds by pressing the side of my edging tool hard into the leather. There’s also the four straps to go into the existing buckles on the front plate.
Since I’ve had very little experience with leather dying, I used the neck hole cut out as a practice piece (you’ll see what I did with that later). It was looking pretty good so I went for it. I used tape to section off the diamonds like I would have if I were painting. But it turns out it was both similar and extremely different to your garden variety acrylic paint…
There was a fair amount of bleeding, and the tape upset the leather, but there was no stopping now…. Here are some progress photos.
I dyed the rough, inner side of the leather purple and slathered the whole thing in a leather conditioner and rubbed it in really well to give it a nicer finish…. and ta-da!
I purposely left the straps un-attached to I could adjust the size to John perfectly. But the end result would look something like this:
I found the blue dye tricker to work with than the purple dye, and in the light it’s still fairly streaky. But on the whole, and considering it was my first attempt at something like this, I’m super duper happy. And John was over the moon too, of course!
It adds so much more colour and individuality to his kit, it honestly makes me slightly jealous of how good he looks on field. I see many more projects like this in the future!
I’ve been feeling so crafty lately!
I used the neckline cutout from the leather backplate I made to practice beveling and dying the leather before committing to the whole piece. I’ve also had a set of leather letter stamps in my tool bag for a while that I was eager to play with. I had no intention of keeping this scrap piece and honestly half assed the stamping and dying. But in the end it actually turned out to be really cute and I grew super fond of it, but had no idea what to use it for. Then the idea struck me to turn it into a belt pouch (you can never have enough belt pouches!)
I made the pouch out of a purple brocade and lined it with blue wool, then attached the leather piece by punching holes along the top and hand sewing it together. I’ve added a button and tassel for aesthetics and eventually will add another tie to keep the pouch closed, but nothing can fall out anyway because it’s so deep. I’m actually so pleased with how this turned out, and I feel pretty cutesy having something matching with John.