by Willow Enright
I’m a huge fan of leather tote bags, satchels, and messengers, and I’ve always wanted a leather satchel of my very own. I happened to have some beautiful leftover hide from an 8-9 oz Chestnut Austin Double Shoulder that was just the perfect size for creating my satchel. Since I was using a leftover bit of hide my satchel bag size was limited, but perfect for me. It was big enough to allow me to fit two large novels into it, so that was a good size for me. This particular style of satchel is pretty simple since it’s basically one large pocket, essentially a long piece of leather with two sides and a shoulder strap.
I measured 10” for each side (20”) and 4” for the bottom, with the top flap at 9.5”-12” respectively due to the natural edge. Each side piece is approximately 4.5” wide and 10” tall. The shoulder strap is 50“ x 1.25” with a 2 ⅛” x 6.5” shoulder pad lined with a 4-5 oz black deerskin. Each end of the shoulder strap has an Antique Brass 1" Metal Egg Swivel Clasp, and both sides have a 1” Antique Brass D-ring and all rivets are medium double capped black.
Once my pieces were all cut to size I went to work beveling and sanding all of the edges. For the technique used please reference, Those D@m# Edges. All of the non sewn edges, including the shoulder strap, were completed with burnishing while the sewn edges were left raw until after they were sewn together. A stitch grover was used to make a line approximately ⅛” from the edge, and then holes were punched with a 6 prong stitch hole punch along both sides and the bottom.
The thread used for sewing was a black waxed nylon thread with a harness stitching needle. The length of the thread for each side was 5 lengths of the area sown, and at the end the knots were burned with a lighter before being stuffed between the two layers of leather. I chose to sew the sides with them slightly concave. The d-ring pieces were riveted to the side pieces before the sides were sewn to the main leather section. This was followed by Those D@m# Edges also being beveled, sanded and burnished.
The shoulder pad has four straight cuts to create the two sections that has the strap threaded through, and the 4-5 oz black deerskin is sewn onto the back to keep the strap from rubbing against your shoulder. The shoulder pad is also sewn with black waxed nylon thread at 3.5 times the length of the area being sewn, and is slipped onto the shoulder strap before the end clasps are attached with medium black double capped rivets.
To finish off this lovely satchel I used Aussie Leather Conditioner, rubbed into the leather and then buffed off with a cloth. Followed by Chamberlain’s Leather Milk no. 3 to penetrate and protect the leather from rain and grime. Now, I have the perfect companion for that trip to the library!
by Willow Enright
We all have our heros, and although this particular hero doesn't wear spandex or a cape he certainly inspires me with his everyday choices. Daryl Dixon from The Walking Dead's T.V. show is the kind of hero I hope that I would be in an End of the World scenario. Not only are his hunting and tracking skills legendary, but his tender heart within his tough exterior melts even the most calloused individual. Below are the steps I took to recreate my hero, Daryl Dixon!
Identifying Costume & Accessories:
Solid Color Shirt
Knife, Sheath, & Belt
Makeup & Hair
Cargo Pants &Boots
All of the clothing in this cosplay was either acquired second hand at a thrift shop, or I already owned it and I modified it. The light brown cargo pants aren't the right shade of brown, but otherwise they worked. Including the newly acquired hole in the butt which is now patched with the sleeve of the dark blue shirt I reappropriated for Daryl's wardrobe. The cargo pants and my Caterpillar boots required the least amount of attention for modification. My boots were already worn and weathered from years of wear and tear, and although they aren't the exact same ones that the actor wears they are a close enough approximation. For the shoe lace straps he wears wrapped around his pants legs I simply used old broken shoe laces tied together for added detail.
Solid Color Shirt
The dark blue button shirt was an old three quarter length work shirt that was annoying with its awkward sleeve length and button popping. So, I tore off both sleeves using a seam ripper to get Daryl's classic sleeveless shirt. I used one sleeve to patch my holey cargo pants, and since the shirt always gave me troubles with the buttons randomly popping open I chose to sew the shirt permantly shut. So, no more button popping! With the sides being a nice stretchy material I can easily slip the shirt over my head like a t-shirt. The seam ripper was used to strategically create frayed seams all over the shirt including the inside collar. In the process of taking off the sleeves I accidently let the seam ripper go wild and created a few rips which I decided added to the authenticity of weathering so I left them as they were.
The long sleeve over shirt was acquired at a second hand store specifically for its pattern and the fact that it was a Carhart brand. Not only did I think that Daryl would actually choose such a shirt, but it also gave me tons of double seams for maximum fraying and weathering without compromising the shirt's structural integrity. Again, the seam ripper was my tool here, and I used it along every single seam that I had the option to fray. Since the button shirt is a man's it was entirely too long to fit my short frame and I had to remove several inches from the bottom. I tore the bottom asymmetrically so that it would look like a walker got me or something. The sleeves were also ridiculously long, so these were both folded and permanantly sewn to keep the original sleeve hems intact. On the left cuff there was some awesome bleach stains on the inside that I wanted to keep visible so I simply folded the cuff and sewed it to have a permantly folded sleeve. A huge hole was ripped in the left elbow as if I had been caught on something, and in my vigorous seam ripping I accidentally tore a big hole that I didn't want next to my breast pocket. So, I used some green twine thread that looked a bit like fishing line to sew it back up crudely like Daryl would. Woredrobe in a Post-Apoclytic world is so easy to replicate all it is is rips, tears, and stains. Although you can't just fling mud on your clothes and say, "Done." It's strategic planning with a few minor "Did I do that," moments thrown into the mix.
Daryl's signature leather vest was a bit more challenging. It took me a good while to find the vest at a second hand shop, but when I did, all the hunting was worth it. It's almost an identical match to the T.V. show one. I split the sides of the vest evenly and used 7 grommets on each side of the split followed by hand stitching to finish off the edges. To lace the panels back together I temporarily used a black shoe lace until I can find the right leather cording.
I also used a pair of old denim jeans for the wings, starting by bleaching them until they were a dingy white. This took several hours of soaking and checking on the denim and I used various YouTube videos to guide me in the process. The wings were sized, drawn and traced and instead of using a fabric transfer marker which would have been easier, I instead used an exacto knife to cut each feather out of the tracing paper before tracing the outline left with a black sharpie pen. Once my wings were drawn onto the denim I used a zig-zag pattern on my sewing machine to go over the sharpie pen lines to give them an embroidered look. I made sure to leave a good half inch of denim along the edges to be frayed for weathering. This was finished with a straight stitch along the zig-zagged edges to attach the wings to my leather vest.
The Crossbow accessory is plastic and was bought at Emerald City Comic Con from official Walking Dead merchandise. The leather strap was made from 8 oz vegetable tanned leather cut, beveled, and dyed with a tan Waterstain and burnished with black Edge Coat and Gum Tragacanto. (See Those D@m# Edges) One end of the leather strap has two antique nickel snaps in order to attach it to the handle and the other end simply wrap ties around the hand hold. The red pocket cloth was an old car cloth for checking the oil that was already dirty and ready for stuffing in my pocket. It was almost like I'd been planing this for years.
Knife, Sheath, & Belt
Daryl's black leather belt was made with black Austin double shoulder leather and a Tandy 2" nickel plated double prong roller buckle. Again, the edges were burnished with the same process mentioned earlier, and an oblong buckle punch was used for the double prong buckle. Medium antique nickel rivets attach the buckle to the leather, and Tandy leather Staples hold the keeper in tact.
For Daryl's Bowie hunting knife I used a 9" Winchester Bowie that I already had, and I made a sheath to match Daryl's . But for Cons, I plan on using a wooden knife that my friend Michael Spidell carved for me in trade many years ago. He designed it to resemble my 9" Winchester. The sheath was put together with a 7-9 oz vegetable tanned leather for the base and belt strap, and a 3-4 oz vegetable tanned leather for the top of the sheath. All leather was stained with black Waterstain before being glued and then hand stitched with black waxed thread. A black double capped rivet finishes off this classic sheath, and Those Damn Edges were burnished like the others after being beveled and sanded.
Makeup & Hair
In order to transform my face into Daryl I followed multiple YouTube videos on makeup tutorials, including a few drag queen videos. Basically I gave myself masculine lines with both brown and grey eye shadows and then I used mascara to create a stipling effect for his beard. A stipling sponge would have been much better, but I managed with the mascara brush. I also used my own long hair to create Daryl's shorter locks by twisting a pony tail in the back of my head to flop over the front of me, and pinning it in place with a bunch of bobby pins. I sprayed it with some mouse and messed it up real good. It looked silly from behind, but from the front it looked pretty authentic.
Since I first wrote this blog, I have purchased a wig and created a Daryl Dixon Wig Tutorial, Now I need to work on creating some foam arrows. I have decided to use foam so that there won't be any issues at future Convention events with the weapon being banned. Especially, since my plastic crossbow can actually fire projectiles around 30 feet or so. Having foam arrows keeps it super safe, and will give my hero an advantage against his foes! Which Walking Dead character is your favorite? Have you or are you planning to create your own Walking Dead hero? If so please leave a comment to share your own creation!
by Willow Enright
Clarke Griffin from the CW's The 100 has more outfits than she does plot lines. It certainly provides a vast array of cosplay ideas to choose from when creating your own Clarke. Since I'm making this Cosplay for my girlfriend, Erin, it was her choice and she decided to go with season two's classic quilted bomber jacket with all the blue accents. We'll be adding other ensemble pieces to this jacket to create the whole Clarke Griffin for Erin as a Cosplay character, but today I'm going to focus on her bomber jacket since this really is the main piece.
I happened across the BCBG Maxazria Black Faux Leather Quilted Bomber Jacket on Ebay by chance. When I saw it I knew I had to snag it to save myself the hassle of building the jacket by scratch since it was the perfect base starting point. Of course I scoured the internet in search of several reference photos to use before I began to actually transform it. I attempt to get pictures from all angles if possible to be sure that my reference is accurate enough.
Since this jacket already had white accents where we needed to have blue ones, that's where I started. I used Angelus Blue Acrylic Leather Paint and craft paint brushes of various sizes to painstakingly make all the white areas blue. This took quite some time since you put on one coat of paint and then wait for it to dry before doing another, doing as many as are necessary to get the shade you want. I did 3 coats over the white until I was satisfied with the hue of blue. The black areas only required 2 coats to match the white stripes. For the horizontal arm bands on the sleeves I mixed Angelus Blue with a dab of Acrylic Heavy White to slightly lighten the blue to match the reference photos. The black faux leather only needed 1-2 coats of this color, especially since I wanted these arm bands to look more worn than the darker blue stripes. You can use a painter's tape when working on something this intricate to keep paint off the jacket and zippers, but I didn't simply because I knew that I would have to mess up my beautiful paint job in the end anyways. Once the initial transformation from white/black accents to blue ones was done I waited for it to fully dry, 24-48 hours.
The next step was to add the blue highlights that appeared to be spray painted onto the jacket. For this step I again used Angelus Blue and Acrylic White only a very small amount on a sponge so that I could lightly dab it over the jacket, which I zipped over my body double so that I could see exactly where I was highlighting with the blue in comparison to my reference photos. I didn't blend the paint on the sponge but rather used a downward motion while dabbing with the sponge to mimic a spary paint can pattern. When I was done with the first pass, and while I waited for it to dry, I checked my reference shots again to see how accurate I was on the first blotching. I felt that it required more color so on my second blotching I used a medium amount of pressure to dab the same spots with more blue paint before leaving it to dry another 24 hours.
In the meantime I did some mild experimenting with different materials trying to figure out what would mimic Clarke's patches closely enough. For the left shoulder I found that using jean material would best match, only the scrap pair of jeans I had in my sewing scrap bin were blue. So, I took a good ol' Sharpie to the square of material transforming it into black denium. I left the edges to naturally fray, but colored them to match before hand sewing this patch into the diamond stitch pattern on the jacket. I realized after the fact that I didn't double check my reference picture, so my patch is diamond shape looking while Clarke's is actually a bit more square shaped... hence, the importance of checking your reference shots even when you think you know what you are doing. Alas. I wasn't going to undue all those hand stitches to turn it, so mine's a bit unique.
The right shoulder patch was tricker to mimic because whatever the material was that was actually used in the T.V. show is unknown to me. I first tried bubble wrap painted silver thinking that using some sort of alternative material would be more post apocalyptic, but it was too obviously bubble wrap. In the end I used a black Italian Lambskin with a bubbled texture that I painted with Angelus Silver. However, I was careful not to paint the leather fully, leaving the black leather in the cracks of the design black for a more weathered appearance. After it was completely dry this patch was also hand stitched onto the right shoulder.
Antique Black Leather Stain was used on a sponge to go over areas of the blue stripes to add some additional weathering before leaving it to dry fully yet again. The painted areas were then treated with Chamberlain's Leather Milk no. 3 to help protect and perserve it so that when Erin takes it into the woods to give it that final weathering effect all my hard work won't be undone.
This is how I created Clarke Griffin kom Skaikru's post Apocalyptic bomber jacket! If you too are a fan of CW's The 100, which character have or would you like to do as a Cosplay? Stay tuned for more blogs as I will be working on more Clarke Griffin in the future, as well as Lexa kom Trikru! "Aai badan yu op en nou moun (I serve you but no other)!"
by Willow Enright
Erin and I recently went second hand shopping and found a wonderful leather cap that was a bit down on its luster. We rescued it and I went to work on bringing it back to life. Below are the steps that I took to give this classic cap a nicely weathered flare.
1.) Clean the leather with a special leather cleaner. I used Chamberlain’s Leather Milk No. 2 formula. Use a sponge or the provided pad to work the cleaner in circles into the leather and let it dry.
2.) Condition the leather. I used Chamberlain’s Leather Milk No. 1 formula, conditions and rejuvenates leather, followed by Aussies Leather Conditioner. Use another pad to first work the leather milk no. 1 into the leather, leaving it to dry, before following that with the Aussie Leather Conditioner in the same application process but using another pad. Leave it to be absorbed before using a cloth to buff the excess conditioner off. Also buff in circular motions.
3.) At this point I had hoped that the areas rubbed down to the split suede would have been less worn out looking, however since they were still rather worn down I decided to give the simple cap a bit of color. I chose to use Eco-Flo Hi-Lite Chestnut to give the hat a more lived in feeling as opposed to the worn out look it still exuded. Add the hi-lite with a sponge in a circular motion followed by wiping the excess off with a cloth or paper towel. Leave it to dry.
4.) Finally, I applied Chamberlain’s Leather Milk No. 3 to protect the leather from further wear and damage. Again, use a different pad to apply the milk in a circular motion rubbing it into the leather. Leave it to dry, and afterwards you have a nicely weathered slightly retro cap!
I started crafting out of leather in 2011, and now I am making it my life's work. I am writing this blog to help myself remember some of the small steps in past projects, sharing my triumphs and failures, as well as my love of leather.