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manarante

Finishing scale halter, need help with details

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First post here! I have started working with scales a few weeks ago and find myself rapidly becoming addicted to it. I am sure everyone here understands how awesome and slightly scary that is.

Just got started with scales after my fiancee saw a halter at the ren faire that she wanted. Most of the pieces I saw online required the lady to wear a support undergarment to provide support and shape, and that is not something we desired. I took a crack at constructing one and, after 40ish hours, the below piece is the result.

scale halter gallery

I've since got around to removing the covering on the aluminum and handstitching the strap that is safety pinned in that picture. My goal with this top was to make something formfitting that also provided (some) support so that it could be worn without anything underneath, as my lady is a DD and could not survive without a bra otherwise. I used contractions at the bottom end of the cups to provide support, then ran macrame cord through the contractions. The cord is looped through three split rings on each side of the halter and is tied behind the back corset style in order to provide additional support. The neck strap is a stretchy lingerie strap from the craft store which is sewn to fit. It is not adjustable yet but I will be sewing those little plastic dealies (That is definitely the technical term )

post-15922-0-88608100-1340478312_thumb.jpg

I have received some interest from others for commissions for additional halters and I am super excited about this, but I have some design problems I need to work out first. I can kludge most of them, but my concern is having a professional product that I and the buyers will be happy with. I have some questions and conundrums for the more experienced folks on this board. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

#1: The strap

I think the neck strap looks okay, but I am not 100% satisfied with it. It could look cooler, so I am considering new materials. Requirements: It needs to be able to support a bunch of weight, it needs to be comfortable, and it needs to be adjustable. The strap is responsible for a lot of the lift. I don't currently know anything about mail, but if there is a weave that would meet my needs and could be banged together relatively fast I would learn. My main concern with mail straps is time and cost, as any dramatic production time increase would make the final price of commissions a lot higher.

#2: The cups

Everyone who tried to sell us a scale halter insisted that the inside of the cups was comfortable and stimulating. The lady says that the cups I have made are itchy against bare skin--I think this is due to the amount of pressure on the cups. Putting a liner inside is probably my best bet, but I don't even know where to start there. Would removable inserts be a turn off? What materials would be best for to counteract the poky split rings and sweaty body?

#3: The ties

The ties look like big thick shoe laces, but I think they are necessary because they lace through the contractions to help provide lift. I don't know what to do about these, but I know that tension on the laces does not look appealing with back fat..... hmm. I am lost here also.

#4: Split Ring Residue

This is the easy one. After working with the stainless split rings and anodize aluminum scales I find my fingers covered with a grey reside that I believe is from the steel. The same thing happens to the skin of people who wear the finished top. Is there a way to keep this from happening? I'm sure it is a common problem and easily resolved, but I have had a hard time coming up with the proper google search to unravel this mystery.

I know most of these problems could be solved by wearing another garment under the halter, but that's not very fun. Any suggestions or comments would be greatly appreciated!

post-15922-0-60413800-1340478083_thumb.jpg

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1.the main concern I can see with the neck strap is if it is a halter design and worn for long periods of time it puts a lot of stress on the neck from the weight of the scales and split rings., this would be increased greatly if you went with all chain straps around the neck and possibly a material that doesn't stretch might help provide better support. I have used ribbon/strapping/web belt like materials for scale and chain mail tops, similar to the look you already but a bit wider and a finished appearance, use a solid ring attachment for these, run strap through, fold down-glue with fabric glue then hand stitch to finish.

2.haven't tried lining them yet, no time sorry. Hey Brimley's mom...you are our seamstress go to...

3.leather lacings maybe? I have used those for girls who want a less modern look , leather being more authentic then cloth I guess, lol

4: tumble/wash the split rings before assembly...(see Blue dawn threads) or do what I do , tie into a pillow case and run through the washer and dryer with a load of towels. just split into smaller loads if you have a lot of heavy rings.

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Nipples are the most sensitive part of the breast, so I would start with nipple covers to improve the comfort of the cups. Bonus is that they are generally skin-tone. If that is insufficient, you could try the cups they put in bathing suits...check your local fabric shop for preformed cups.

BTW, I plan to try out the nipple covers for the dress I have planned.

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1.the main concern I can see with the neck strap is if it is a halter design and worn for long periods of time it puts a lot of stress on the neck from the weight of the scales and split rings., this would be increased greatly if you went with all chain straps around the neck and possibly a material that doesn't stretch might help provide better support. I have used ribbon/strapping/web belt like materials for scale and chain mail tops, similar to the look you already but a bit wider and a finished appearance, use a solid ring attachment for these, run strap through, fold down-glue with fabric glue then hand stitch to finish.

2.haven't tried lining them yet, no time sorry. Hey Brimley's mom...you are our seamstress go to...

3.leather lacings maybe? I have used those for girls who want a less modern look , leather being more authentic then cloth I guess, lol

4: tumble/wash the split rings before assembly...(see Blue dawn threads) or do what I do , tie into a pillow case and run through the washer and dryer with a load of towels. just split into smaller loads if you have a lot of heavy rings.

Thanks for the response. I'm clearly going to have to play around with materials for laces and straps! Comfort wasn't a problem, but I gotta find something that looks nicer. I will try the ribbon suggestion.

I'm not going to be able to wash the halter I have right now since it is assembled and I am sure the wash/dry would ruin the mirror finish on the scales. I think my best bet would be to handwash the rings on the back of the existing halter with a washcloth or something. I've already spent 40 hours on this prototype, what's a few more, right? ;) When I wash the split rings in the washer/dryer in the future, would you suggest using laundry detergent? And do I need to worry about staining any light colored towels I wash with them?

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Nipples are the most sensitive part of the breast, so I would start with nipple covers to improve the comfort of the cups. Bonus is that they are generally skin-tone. If that is insufficient, you could try the cups they put in bathing suits...check your local fabric shop for preformed cups.

BTW, I plan to try out the nipple covers for the dress I have planned.

Actually, the picture was taken with electric tape covering the nipples and that worked out fine. The reported itchiness was from where the rings dug into the rest of the breast. I will look into the preformed cups a little further. The craft store did not have any in the right size (DD) when I went the other day. Thanks!

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ok please tell me the electrical tape was on the inside of the top not ...shudders, well you know. I just use my standard laundry soap (discount Sam's club brand) avoid anything with bleach or citrus though. I have managed to get the dirty aluminum rings to look nice and shiny, with it. I usually used my darker colored towels and have one pillow case set aside just for this task since it did pick up the dark gray color from the first load of dirty aluminum, but even it went away with future loads of the machine cut BA I did later.

Edited by calisandra

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ok please tell me the electrical tape was on the inside of the top not ...shudders, well you know.

Funny, seems I recall somebody recently mentioning little black electrical tape "X's" covering nipples (to make them "street legal") being commonplace at some such events....HaHa...

But seriously, has anyone ever tried wearing those stick on bra cups they make for strapless and/or very low cut dresses to give support under a halter? Seems these would be just the ticket, as long as the top were designed for enough coverage that the bra cups didn't show. I know they can do surprising wonders, seem 'em in action, but never heard of anybody using them with maille.

also,

#1: The strap

I think the neck strap looks okay, but I am not 100% satisfied with it. It could look cooler, so I am considering new materials. Requirements: It needs to be able to support a bunch of weight, it needs to be comfortable, and it needs to be adjustable.

There was a tute I saw somewhere recently, I don't remember if it was from TRL, or RioGrande, or maybe etsy...but it concerned making necklaces from ribbon that had been interwoven with chainmaille links (I guess they're actually just jump rings until they're woven into chainmaille, though...) the overall effect was almost like a helmchain necklace, where the connectors were actually ribbon. See, for instance:

http://www.etsy.com/listing/101025883/chainmaille-ribbon-choker-doubles-as?ref=sr_gallery_10&ga_search_query=ribbon+chainmaille&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_ship_to=ZZ&ga_min=0&ga_max=0&ga_search_type=handmade

(I didn't want to post a link to etsy, without permission), but just for example...there are lots of other similar ideas if you type 'ribbon chainmaille' in the search bar (at etsy) and the kind of thing I'm talking about comes right up. You can get plenty of examples of what I'm thinking. Anyway, what if you linked those to the top of the halter, and behind the neck it could be tied off? Or run a length on each side with a clasp of some kind behind the neck with a (I'm lacking the usual term for this) length adjuster chain thingy... Maybe you could also use something like this for your "corset-like back straps". It looked pretty easy to do, and I don't think the materials would cost that much, might be just what you need. Kind of bridges the gap between scales, chainmaille, and ribbon/cloth/leather for a nice cohesive look, I would think.

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There was a tute I saw somewhere recently, I don't remember if it was from TRL, or RioGrande, or maybe etsy...but it concerned making necklaces from ribbon that had been interwoven with chainmaille links (I guess they're actually just jump rings until they're woven into chainmaille, though...) the overall effect was almost like a helmchain necklace, where the connectors were actually ribbon.

Here's the Tutorial I have bookmarked on that.

http://howdidyoumakethis.com/blog/2012/3/3/make-this-ribbon-woven-chain-necklace.html

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But seriously, has anyone ever tried wearing those stick on bra cups they make for strapless and/or very low cut dresses to give support under a halter? Seems these would be just the ticket, as long as the top were designed for enough coverage that the bra cups didn't show. I know they can do surprising wonders, seem 'em in action, but never heard of anybody using them with maille.

I tried those and they don't work for greater than about a C-cup. I couldn't even get one to fit around one of my ladies.

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I tried those and they don't work for greater than about a C-cup. I couldn't even get one to fit around one of my ladies.

Sorry, trying not to laugh, but that's kinda funny. I'm not laughing at you, I'm laughing with you! ;)

Here's the Tutorial I have bookmarked on that.

http://howdidyoumake...n-necklace.html

Yep!! that's the one...

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Sorry, trying not to laugh, but that's kinda funny. I'm not laughing at you, I'm laughing with you!

I took it the "right" way. Just imagine what it was like before the doctor removed 4 pounds total. That should have you rolling in the aisles. :biggrin:

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No no no....that wasn't really exactly the humor, I had more of a Laurel & Hardy, 3 Stooges, silent movie-slapstick kind of vision of wrestllin' the ornery lady...never mind, my brain works sorta funny...sorry!

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I've done a fair number of scale tops. here's my advice:

1. Tumble the rings first to clean them (mentioned already but important).

2. Don't use split rings for tops. Use regular rings - stainless or titanium rings (less weight but more expensive...) This is what is causing the ichyness. I've never had any complaints from my customers about the rings bothering thier nipples or being scratchy.

3. Make sure you closures are perfect.

4. Personal opinion here - Don't use large scales for tops. It's not flattering, at all. Use small scales. Yes, it takes more time but it is more form fitting and with the contactions can cup the breast better.

azbaron

Edited by azbaron

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sorry azbaron but I have several very happy customers who would definitely disagree with the comment about the large scales not being flattering.in fact they prefer the look of them to the small scales because they look more like armor. and while I do agree that butted rings , the split rings are more durable, and with lining should be ok. since most of my girls wear these as part of their over all costume and not by themselves , they usually have something under them already so I haven't had to line any yet.

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Calisandra - I know there are people that like the large scale look for female tops. I don't and I don't like how it looks. This is why I stated that it was my opinion at the start of the line. I have no problem with people not agreeing with me on that point. I've sold a lot of scale tops and have yet to have anyone ask for one. Since I run a business, if someone wants one I'll make it for them but I'll show them the difference between the two first.

While split rings are more durable, unless the person is wearing it for LARP or other combat stuff I've found it to be overkill. Again, that's my opinion but I've had it proven to me over the years by never having had to repair a top I've done. YMMV...

I do agree, that if using the split rings for a top, that lining it would be a good ideal. To me, lining it just adds extra time and cost that can be avoided by using butted rings. Again, my opinion. I also look at this from a business stand point. It takes longer to do split rings and lining therefore less time for other sales, but again, if a customer wants that, then that's what they'll get but they be paying for the extra time it takes. For the casual hobbiest who has all the time in the world to complete projects it's not an issue.

azbaron

Edited by azbaron

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Not to hijack this, but there is a way to do a sort of cupped form that might work for the more well-endowed ladies out there.

Start with two equilateral triangles. Do a 45 degree link, the width of two triangles together should be just enough to cover your widest point. Turn your linked triangles so the 'seam' is arranged vertically, this will give also give you a straight line of outward-angled scales along the top. See the last two bottom scales linked together in the middle? Attach a scale between those two (one ring onto each 'triangle' scale) and finish the row to the outer ends of the triangles. By the time you hit three rows below your original triangles, they have been pulled in to form most of the cup. From there you can contract the weave after you've rounded the curve so to speak to finish the cup, and cover the opening left by the 45 degree seam with a row of scales. The angled scales on the top can still be attached to a regular sheet of scales running either horizontally or vertically in relation to it, and you should not have any real issues with the bottom as it has been pulled around to hang like a normal sheet. It does take a bit of finagling to get it to hang nicely with a vertical sheet mind you, but it is not too hard to do...

I've made the spaulders of my aluminum scale shirt in this manner, minus the contractions since I only wanted to cup the top half of my shoulders and let the rest drape over my upper arms.

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No no no....that wasn't really exactly the humor, I had more of a Laurel & Hardy, 3 Stooges, silent movie-slapstick kind of vision of wrestllin' the ornery lady...never mind, my brain works sorta funny...sorry!

That's exactly how I took it. Just imagine how much more slapstick there would have been when the ladies were larger.

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hey I know it was your opinion but the blanket statement about the large scales ""Don't use large scales for tops. It's not flattering, at all."" seemed a bit harsh even if was just your opinion. I was also just stating mine in that I happen to like the look of them both on and off the girls I have sold the tops to. and so do the boys who keep buying them for their girl friends, lol. I will grant you that yes the small scales lend themselves to a more form fitting top , but for me and most of my customers they can't afford what I would have to charge for making the ones with small scales. I have offered to make them my peeps don't want them. Yours do...guess we have different peeps, lol (can we agree to disagree and be friends) :biggrin: I use butted rings for most of the girls tops too, partly because of the time factor, but a lot because of the added weight since they are stainless

oh and Paladin you are an evil man who has now made it impossible for me :fish: to go sleep today without trying your suggestion...

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Man, I leave the forum for a few days and the replies stack up.... thanks for all the advice! :D

Let me ask about the butted rings: Do I need to worry about the scales slipping out? These tops aren't necessarily intended for active wear, but if people wear them to a con or faire and run around a bit I would hope they would be able to stay together.

And I agree with the time factor for the small scales: I am new at this, but the design and construction of this halter with large scales took almost 40 hours! I'll pick up speed as I get better, but man, I would have to charge a buttload more for the small scales if I did a full size halter.

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Not to hijack this, but there is a way to do a sort of cupped form that might work for the more well-endowed ladies out there.

Start with two equilateral triangles. Do a 45 degree link, the width of two triangles together should be just enough to cover your widest point. Turn your linked triangles so the 'seam' is arranged vertically, this will give also give you a straight line of outward-angled scales along the top. See the last two bottom scales linked together in the middle? Attach a scale between those two (one ring onto each 'triangle' scale) and finish the row to the outer ends of the triangles. By the time you hit three rows below your original triangles, they have been pulled in to form most of the cup. From there you can contract the weave after you've rounded the curve so to speak to finish the cup, and cover the opening left by the 45 degree seam with a row of scales. The angled scales on the top can still be attached to a regular sheet of scales running either horizontally or vertically in relation to it, and you should not have any real issues with the bottom as it has been pulled around to hang like a normal sheet. It does take a bit of finagling to get it to hang nicely with a vertical sheet mind you, but it is not too hard to do...

I've made the spaulders of my aluminum scale shirt in this manner, minus the contractions since I only wanted to cup the top half of my shoulders and let the rest drape over my upper arms.

Thanks for the suggestion. I'm going to have to give it a shot when my next order of scales arrives tomorrow. It's definitely beyond my skill level at the moment, but I imagine ten hours of butting my head against the 45 degree seam should help me learn.

...actually, the next halter I am making is for an A cup, so I might hold off. But the one after that I will try the 45 degree seam.

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As long as your closures are good, there's only occasional slippage. And from what I've seen posted now and again, it seems to happen more with the small scales and the large steel scales than the large aluminum scales. (Though of course it can happen with those too despite them being thicker on average.) If you want to avoid split rings altogether, you can get a little insurance by adding the extra butted ring for a full 4in1 weave at "load-bearing" areas, though split rings are a safer bet. My first suit is all butted galvy rings woven 4in1 with the hardened steel scales and I haven't lost a scale yet. Also mail borders help take a bit of the stress off and allow you to get the scales to hang nicely along the edges.

If you don't know what I mean by adding that extra ring, look at the underside of a diamond of four scales, you will see four rings laying beside each other. Slip a fifth ring through them just like with euro 4in1 mail.

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As long as your closures are good, there's only occasional slippage. And from what I've seen posted now and again, it seems to happen more with the small scales and the large steel scales than the large aluminum scales. (Though of course it can happen with those too despite them being thicker on average.)

Hmm. So the butted rings would solve one problem but introduce another... I guess that means I need to order some butted rings and do some testing.

(Edited for clarity)

Edited by manarante

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if you use aluminum butted rings (yes I do those sometimes when weight is an issue for the wearer) there is more of a chance that repairs will be needed. I have found most of them hold just fine for a weekend of NERO so there is some running around and some getting beaten on with padded plumbing supplies. my girls know that if they need repairs though they can come to me anytime and I will fix their armor for them for free(i only charge when repairing someone elses work, lol) I have been using stainless butted rings lately because they do hold their shape better and there is less chance of loosing scales and if you won't be seeing the purchases on a regular basis (like sales at Renn Faires) they will hold up better. I usually only recommend spit rings for guys who want full heavy scale shirts who plan on being aggressive fighters or have a tendency to roll around on the ground.

So if you go Butted ring try to use Stainless whenever possible 16G 5/16 is the recommended size but I have made them with 18g 1/4 , it makes for a tighter weave but the still lay nicely over what they are designed to lay over. if you should decide on Aluminum do not go any smaller then the 16g.

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If price isn't an issue, wouldn't using titanium butted rings be the way to go? Sure they're pricey, but they have the advantage of being light and strong. (Heavier than aluminum, but still substantially lighter than stainless, and wicked strong)

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