Monday, August 15, 2011

Work In Progress - Gaiters

Little by little, my first Steampunk outfit is coming together. This weekend, I worked on making a set of gaiters, which are akin to spats (or spatterdashes, from which the shorter term derives), but which provide coverage not only for the shoes , but also for the lower leg - or limb, if you're being properly stuffy and Victorian...

I own a couple of sets of gaiters - one is a button-up set that unfortunately doesn't fit my calves well at all, and the other is a modern nylon set that I use for snowshoeing (and which subbed for the button-up set in a Halloween costume the year I went as Othar Tryggvasen from Girl Genius), so I've got some idea about how they should go together - but I wanted to try my hand at pattern making, as I'd like a set that are custom fit to my legs.

I found a tutorial on sewing fabric spats that was helpful, but my plan is to make mine out of leather. I could probably buy a set of knee-high boots (and really, I probably will at some point) but for now, I've got a perfeclty serviceable set of black ankle high boots that will lend themselves nicely to some gaiters. I'll be wearing them under a kilt for the most part, but I'd like to be able to wear them over trousers as well, should the need arise. So with all that in mind, I employed a technique I read about back in the days when I was considering making my own leather jerkin (for a very different sort of fandom/cosplay outfit) - I cut up a couple of pairs of oldish socks and pulled them on over my boots and trouser legs so that they were covering the area that the gaiters should cover, and then wrapped 2-3 layers of duct tape around that area.

I cut the duct tape and sock mold up the inside of my leg, since that's an area I want to be solid.

I then removed the sock fabric and covered the slightly less sticky than normal side of the duct tape mold with another layer of duct tape, then taped the molds back together temporarily.

Next up - I'll review the spats tutorial and compare both my nylon gaiters and my cloth ones to see how to cut the leather so that it fits correctly (ideally, 3 pieces sewn together), and then make a cloth sample pair before I buy and cut any leather.