Dragon Queen Scalemail Shoulders


 Since our full scalemail order arrived in the mail, I have temporarily suspended work on the horns, and began construction the bodice for my costume. Although excitement is the primary reason for temporarily leaving work on the horns, equally to blame is the fact that the scalemail is much cleaner (in terms of workspace upkeep) and easier to work on at a moment’s notice, in addition to the fact that I might have to create a replacement for the horn I botched during sculpting, and I’m possibly delaying the inevitable. Although seemingly more straight forward, the scalemail has been equally challenging in its own medium, and there are an equal amount of assembly questions to address in the near future.

For now, however, I have been simply creating basic shapes that presented themselves during my initial diamond (100 scalemail) trial. Pleased by the diamond shape on the shoulders, I decided to incorporate dual diamond shoulder sleeves/ caps, into my design. This section would not only be the easiest to complete first, as there was no technical skill involved in creating the shapes, but it was also a necessary step for transitioning into the chest/ breast area, which would be far more technical. To decide if, or how, the gold scalemail would be used on the cap, I decided to take the old dragon scale diamond I had created in my trial, since it was primarily champagne, and overlay gold in a variety of patterns until I found the layout that I wanted. Although most of it was by ear, the scarcity of gold was a factor in my decision as well. Recognizing that most of the pictures that would be taken of my costume would be from the front, I decided that most of the gold should be visible in the front. In addition, I also found that, when against my skin, the gold actually became more distinguished from the champagne, albeit faint. So I decided, keeping those factors in mind while playing with the pattern, that I would have a transition of gold leading from the shoulder to the chest, where a single row would line my chest, and transition down over to the breast and down the side. This would be mostly visible from the front, and create unique transitions and shapes that would transition to my back.

Using the diamond shape, I started with a one to five gold equilateral Right Shoulder Captriangle (.. yeah I’m a nerd | one top, five base). From there, I decided to have the gold act as if were transitioning to the front from the back, as if it were wrapping around around the shoulder. So, starting at row six, I worked from five to one gold scales, with the gold always on the side that would be facing the front. This created a staggered diagonal instead of a harsh straight diagonal (this would have required me to have five gold scales for the next several rows), which I thought looked more fluid, but it was a preference. The last gold scale, the single gold scale on its row, should end on the center row (the ten scale row), from which all subsequent rows would be champagne. The center row was the last row that would wrap around the shoulders before the cap would pull around the arm, and so the last gold scale placement was chosen specifically, as it would be sitting on my chest. From there, I continued to work down from ten scales to the five scale row. At this point, I had enough rows to pull the arm cap back in around the arm, so I decided to take a minute and see how the gold pattern actually looked on my shoulder. When doing mock placements, I found that ending with five scales instead of one, created a rounded sleeve, instead of a point, and was still short enough where each row of scalemail was distinct. And so, instead of continuing to a single point, I decided to end on the 15th row, or the row with 5 champagne scalemail as it simply looked more attractive to me.

Scalemail shoulder caps on correct sides
Scalemail shoulder caps on correct sides

From here I continued to work on the stomach region, and even started the chest. Yet a reoccurring annoyance that kept presenting itself was the difference of how the chainmail sat on my manikin, as compared to how it was sitting on me. Although all the measurements should be accurate, there was still a noticeable difference between how the scalemail sat on the manikin as compared to reality. So, to accommodate for the difference, I decided to attach the scalemail to a shirt, which would be used when determining placement of the scalemail on the chest, stomach, and back. At first, I started with a regular cotton t-shirt, which was far too stretchy, and instantly lost its shape due to the weight of the scalemail. So, I chose another, more rigid shirt, which wrapped around my neck, and was further secured around the chest to create a stronger base from the scalemail. From here, Stefan secured the scalemail to the shirt with safety pins, and then proceeded to sew the chainmail to the shirt, with full intention of it being removed later (so looser stitches/ not difficult to cut out). It was only during reflection of this post that I actually realized that the pattern was actually backward (. . . – . -), which was due to transitioning from my stretchy cotton shirt to the other, and simply forgetting the orientation. So all of the pictures presented are actually reversed of how they will be in the end (gold is now in the back). Luckily, this was not a permanent attachment, just simply a face-palm moment.

Next I plan on transitioning to the chest, which will require significantly more complex techniques in order to create a fitted bodice, most notably ‘contractions,’ dun. . dun. . dun. This daunting task will probably have an exasperated blog, so I hope that my experience can help others.

Until then, looking forward to the next craft.


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