Jump to content
matrain1

Chainmail Skirt

Recommended Posts

Hello,

A friend of mine who goes to clubs often has inquired about a short chainmail skirt. I have not made a skirt or any other waist clothing before. I was curious if anyone perhaps has suggestions for me about rings sizes, patterns and also how to secure it around the friends waist so that it does not come off.

*The friend will wear shorts under it so small spacing is desired but some visibility is not an issue.

Thank you,

Jesse C.

Edited by matrain1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Some advice: use aluminium. Anything else will be too heavy to secure around the waist without it hurting.

I made a skirt for a fashion show some time ago. It has 1.6mm / 9mm galvanised steel rings (16ga 3/8") in a vertical E6-1 pattern. No expansions/contractions, and if I recall correctly I made it round and just big enough to fit nicely. It used a big elastic string at the top to keep it from slipping down, but since the thing weighed way too much for a skirt, that didn't work too well. It was okay for the fashion show, but for clubbing, I'd suggest something else. Maybe if you use aluminium it would work though.

chainmailskirtbyxzorby.jpg

As for rings and weaves: that really depends on how much time you have, how dense you want it, and how you want the weave to behave. HP3-1 sheet 6 for instance is really dense, flexible in one direction and stiff in the other - used vertically it could look pretty cool on a skirt. Japanese weaves are really flexible, but probably too opaque (not sure if that's the right word). "Standard" e4-1 can be made dense enough with a low AR. Oops (e4-1 unbalanced) is a nice weave (variation?) that is both dense and flexible (even with a low AR).

If I had to make a skirt again, I'd go with 1.2mm (18ga) aluminium in Oops, but at an estimated 20000 rings, that is a LOT of work for a small skirt.

The same thing in 1.6mm (16ga) would be only 60% of the work, and 110% the weight of 1.2mm (18ga) at the same AR.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would suggest 16G 1/4" Bright aluminum rings in euro 4-1. Fairly dense and not too heavy. Edging it at the top with Half Persian 3-1 would look good. making the edging in Stainless steel 16G 1/4" would make it much stronger.

Movak

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Some advice: use aluminium. Anything else will be too heavy to secure around the waist without it hurting.

................

As for rings and weaves: that really depends on how much time you have, how dense you want it, and how you want the weave to behave. HP3-1 sheet 6 for instance is really dense, flexible in one direction and stiff in the other - used vertically it could look pretty cool on a skirt. Japanese weaves are really flexible, but probably too opaque (not sure if that's the right word). "Standard" e4-1 can be made dense enough with a low AR. Oops (e4-1 unbalanced) is a nice weave (variation?) that is both dense and flexible (even with a low AR).

#1, I agree completely. I'm currently making a skirt, with a second one on order, and I couldn't imagine doing it out of anything heavier than aluminum. My plan is taking three measurements. waist, hips and thighs, plus the length. then i've made a tube that can accommodate the widest measurement (usually the hips, but it varies person to person) in the case of my skirts, i'm planning for a hip measurement of 34", then i'm doing the top inch and a half with alternating rows of BA and rubber rings with a gentle contraction so it'll form an elastic waistband (like underpants lol) it's an experiment really, but I don't see why it won't work. Additionally I plan on building in some belt loops for #2 because she's got a bad ass belt that will go amazingly with it. just for that additional security.

on to point #2 japanese weaves are not opaque, they would be transparent or at least translucent. hp3-1 sheet six would be opaque. opaque means you can't see through, translucent means you can kinda see through, and transparent means you can totally see through. I wouldn't reccommend an oriental weave unless your client plans to wear a slip of some form underneath the skirt, or shorts, or whatever.

for mine, i'm using e4-1 with 16g 3/8 rings. I'm probably going to do a strip at the hem of 6-1 to bring it in more so when she's not moving it looks fairly solid, but as she moves, there's flashes of skin underneath. should be fun :)

AND CLEAN THE DAMN RINGS!!! LOL there's black crap all over my hands from those damned rings.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
AND CLEAN THE DAMN RINGS!!! LOL there's black crap all over my hands from those damned rings.

I realize that when Sir Osis says "aluminum" he probably means "bright aluminum". In my mind comparing aluminum to bright aluminum is the same as comparing mild steel to stainless steel. Aluminum have a lot of black rub off; much like mild steel rust. Bright aluminum is much cleaner after you was it and has very little black rub off. The black rub off from aluminum can not be cleaned off as it regenerates; it is a layer of aluminum oxide.

Movak

Edited by Movak

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In my opinion anything with little/no rub off and good strength is great for waistbelt, not that entire thing has to be made of that metal ..

Example of my recent work...

Jen002.jpg

Brass roundmail with a single row of stainless spring steel coming off it for "stress" strength.

not that I object to BA

progress1.jpg

I rather like the effect that can be achieved. But limiting yourself to one material is not always the best of ideas .. vis a vis

Flame009a.jpg

Annodized Alum and EPDM has a very nice effect of pulling the rings closer together than they normally would be, allowing a flair (read stretch!) at the waist for movement, while keeping attached there.

EPDM has a nice secondary use in that you can skip a buckle or clasp, if you make the piece correctly :)

Suggestion on that is to make the piece with 18gauge 1/4 inch rings (check EPDM sizes on TRL, and use that), measure the hips and butt at the widest point + 1 or 2 inches make the entire piece that big. Then last thing add in at least 2 rows of EPDM at the top they will cause it to shrink just enough to make it fit, and still have stretch to get over the hips. Now that's a simplistic answer but a fine starting piece for waist work.

Another point. If you use a low strength metal <like BA> in a small gauge and/or a large ring size or loose weave you will have problems with her sitting on it, ie distortions/tearing, allow for that (EPDM) or upgrade the metal .. add -2 gauge size or shrink the rings size.

Hope something helps.

Edited by Euar

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you everyone for your help. :) I will post pictures once I start making it. It seems to me that I can take advice from everyone that has posted in order to make the skirt. Again thank you so very much.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

doesn't negate the need to wash it. Even bright aluminum is pretty dirty when it arrives.

Oh totally. I usually wash all my raw metal rings. the only ones I don't are anodized or Enamelled.

so here's another skirt question. given a plain skirt, requiring roughly 2.5 square feet of rings (assuming euro 4-1) what would you folks charge to make one for someone??

someone on here (who shall remain nameless) suggested in the neighbourhood of 1500 to 5000 based on lots of rings, lots of time and lots of adjusting. what do you all think???

My opinion, based on what i've accomplished so far in a set period of time, is that 500 is a more reasonable price, perhaps even less considering it's just made of BA and EPDM.

or am I just horribly shorting myself lol

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lets see;

2.5 sqft of 16g 1/4 half BA and half EPDM.

BA cost $20.

EPDM cost $50.

Total $70.

If I charged $400 that would leave $330 for my time. At $20/hr that would be 16.5 hours to make the skirt. I am very confidant that I can make that much in that time.

Movak

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lets see;

2.5 sqft of 16g 1/4 half BA and half EPDM.

BA cost $20.

EPDM cost $50.

Total $70.

If I charged $400 that would leave $330 for my time. At $20/hr that would be 16.5 hours to make the skirt. I am very confidant that I can make that much in that time.

Movak

Exactly what I was thining Movak. So far i've maybe put in 8 hours, and i'm more than 2/3 done. I may have to go back over it and check my closures, but I'm quite sure that it'll be done in 16.5 hours or less. add to it that i'm working on it during night shifts and already collecting pay for it. it's not like i absolutely have to make a fortune on it.

5 grand...I wish.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2.5 square feet of rings (assuming euro 4-1) what would you folks charge to make one for someone??

someone on here (who shall remain nameless) suggested in the neighbourhood of 1500 to 5000 based on lots of rings, lots of time and lots of adjusting. what do you all think???

2.5'? .. that's a tiny person your making it for 1' x 1' x 2 + 1/2" x 2' Two panels front and back both 1x1 ft and a belt. Even a 24 waist comes out to about 4-5 sq ft and that's a short short skirt. ^_^

lots of time and lots of adjusting - this shows inexperience - 3 measurements for a skirt are all you need , Detail work can take an adjustment or two , lots and lots is not required, fun yes, not required tho.

#1 waistline, or the line she wants used as the "waist" usually just above the hip.

#2 hip/buttline (THE widest part of hips - if you can't loosen the tape by moving up or down your in the wrong place), note; do NOT let women do this themselves, they will get it wrong :angry: and you don't want to deal with saying "The biggest part of the hips and the widest part of your butt in combination" , your dead for sure, .. women usually end up measuring what they can see as the "widest" part which is the flaring of the hips, but that's not usually the longest part of the full circle, it's usually 2-3 inches lower, but not always :unsure:

#3 and distance between #1 and #2

#3 tells you how fast the pattern has to expand to reach the #2 line. ie how many expansion lines are *required* to make it within a given pattern using a +1 expansion (e5-1). Number 3 is the most criticial.

I added all that so you can see that 2.5 is low .. if your going to base you cost on number of rings *reasonable* then your way off just starting out ( unless of course your making something for a 6 year old )

Next is number and size of rings, doing 20 gauge 1/8 inch, you gonna use 9,126 rings per square foot 18 gauge 1/4 inch you use 2,304 approx and be much easier to open and close.

5000 for 1/8th .. sure .. high price but still within reason (I personally wouldn't do over 2500 but that's me but I don't do sales)

5000 for 1/4 .. no way massive overprice .. 500 would be on the high end.. but not impossible.

Figure it this way .. Price of sq ft of metal used x hours spent making x PITA factor (Pita scale is 1 to 10) ..

note PITA = Pain In The A** "1 is not a pain - 10 is horrible I have to learn multiple somethings I didn't have to and I don't like you no more and I have the flu and you want it WHEN?"

18 gauge 1/4 in = 2.5bags per foot $3.68 a bag and go with 5 sq ft (you have to buy it to have it)

say 10-20 hours actually making...

E4-1 really easy for me ..

18.4 x 20 hours x 1 = $368 = $13.80 an hour which is a fair wage minus the cost of materials.

That's an easy calc. I know jewerly workers who do fabulous things very fast (highly skilled) that demand $200 an hour for their work, that's where the PITA factor comes in, hate doing e4-1, that makes it harder on the MAKER and a higher PITA factor in the equation. Dragonscale that's a PITA factor of 2-3 maybe :)

Anyhow .. rambled on .. good luck

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I know this isn't much for input, but 2.5 sq ft isn't that low of an estimate... I own a few skirts and honestly there's not much material to them. A skirt is easily 8" long, possibly 1 ft (for a longer skirt). A 24" waist would only use 4 to 5sq ft of material if the skirt was a couple feet long.

Am I wrong in assuming that a skirt should not be over 1.5ft long? A skirt is a dress that ends above the knee, isn't it? I know I'm not a girly girl, so I may be wrong, but 2.5sq ft isn't that bad an estimate for a chainmail skirt. Just my 2 cents.

-Kryston

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I stand by my numbers Mabusmaille, tho I know they seem off to you, experience tells me different. Think of it this way, 2 1ft by 1 ft panels that leaves .5 sq ft or 24" x 1/2 inch for the belt. Doable at 2.5 for pair of chain loincloth. But trust me, unless shes 6-8 years old, there's no way those panels are going to touch. Measure your waist then measure #2 above (or have someone do it for you) the widest place on your hips including your butt .. it won't be 24" (or whatever your waist is) 24" waist usually comes out 30-38 or so depending on age/height/childbirth etc. Now measure (loosely) from the top of your belt to the bottom of what you would be comfortable showing (shorts, skirt, kilt) over a buttock, betcha it's longer than 1ft.

Women are harder to fit, just ask any woman who has worn levis etc, the difficulty makes it interesting!

Edited by Euar

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I know this isn't much for input, but 2.5 sq ft isn't that low of an estimate... I own a few skirts and honestly there's not much material to them. A skirt is easily 8" long, possibly 1 ft (for a longer skirt). A 24" waist would only use 4 to 5sq ft of material if the skirt was a couple feet long.

Am I wrong in assuming that a skirt should not be over 1.5ft long? A skirt is a dress that ends above the knee, isn't it? I know I'm not a girly girl, so I may be wrong, but 2.5sq ft isn't that bad an estimate for a chainmail skirt. Just my 2 cents.

-Kryston

i know i know i was using it as an example, not an actual skirt. i'm currently making one that's 3.25 square feet (38" at the hips, by 11.5 inches long)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

#2 hip/buttline (THE widest part of hips - if you can't loosen the tape by moving up or down your in the wrong place), note; do NOT let women do this themselves, they will get it wrong :angry: and you don't want to deal with saying "The biggest part of the hips and the widest part of your butt in combination" , your dead for sure, .. women usually end up measuring what they can see as the "widest" part which is the flaring of the hips, but that's not usually the longest part of the full circle, it's usually 2-3 inches lower, but not always :unsure:

I don't have anything to add to the conversation...this just made me giggle. :P

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Euar,

I am new to the forums and learning some chainmail techniques. I love making the different but I was wondering I have a large project (read long term...year or so) and I was wondering if you had a pattern for that lovely flame dress that you would be willing to share? I would appreciate any guidance as I am planning on making a chainmail dress for an event but I have plenty of time for screwing up and planning :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Heh, the flame dress was actually never supposed to be completed :)

I was doing an experiment with some left over black AA rings. I was seeing the expansion of that ring size in relationship to hang. But once I started I realized I had to at least make a skirt to see it correctly. So I ordered some more rings and started making a full skirt. Realized that wasn't going to work because it was such a unique piece I had to make a full dress. heh

Here's what I did. I made the skirt bottom, in e4-1, the black line, big enough that a women at full stride could take a step without worry. I guessed this at about 5-6'.

Then I wove the flame pattern by hand and randomly up to just below the bottom of the beltline. Still e4-1. A tube about 3' across

Then for the belt I switched to an area e6-1 with the same size rings. Adding EPDM/Rubber for stretch. There is exactly the same number of rings in the belt as there is at the bottom. E6-1 is just denser.

You can see the 6-1 area in the colors of the flames. That's ALL 6-1 .. the rest of the belt is still e4-1 with EPDM. The 6-1 area has no EPDM.

You can see it in this picture .. if you look close.

post-1028-0-37287000-1335064533_thumb.jpg

The 6-1 was my contraction. I kept it contracted till I hit the bust line then "frittered" it away :) .. and noone the wiser :innocent:

Almost noone notices the experiment .. even to this day .. heres another photo showing how small the dress "hangs" .. no pleates or darts or anything, it hangs straight down and hugs the curves like it was spandex :flower:

post-1028-0-68143100-1335064531_thumb.jpg

Look at the bottom vs the top picture .. both of those are unchanged chain .. I was really pleased with how this came out

I hope that's good info for you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes it was wonderful thank you so much. I am going to work with scales rather than links as I am not confident that I can have the patience required for chainmail. I have been screaming over the flowers as a practice so I am undecided at this point. I appreciate you giving me the information very much. You have no idea!! I will post a picture once it is completed. The change I am making I hopes works well. Being so new at this I am afraid to stretch my wings but I suppose I can fly or nosedive and only I will never know if I don't try :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

claveau, as long as you don't weld it, you can always undo it, right? :)

Euar, thank you for sharing the information and pictures of the dress. Very nice piece and very helpful info.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

2.5'? .. that's a tiny person your making it for 1' x 1' x 2 + 1/2" x 2' Two panels front and back both 1x1 ft and a belt. Even a 24 waist comes out to about 4-5 sq ft and that's a short short skirt. happy.gif

2.5'? .. that's a tiny person your making it for 1' x 1' x 2 + 1/2" x 2' Two panels front and back both 1x1 ft and a belt. Even a 24 waist comes out to about 4-5 sq ft and that's a short short skirt. happy.gif

To calculate the length of the skirt when one has the circumference and square footage the following equation is used;

square footage x 144/circumference

Therefore a 24" circumference skirt that is 4 square feet would be 4 x 144 / 24 = 24'

and a 24" circumference skirt that is 5 square feet would be 5 x 144 / 24 = 30'

A shirt that is 30' can be knee length.

Lets do your figures in inches and then convert to feet; 12"x12"x2panels + .5x24 = 300 square inches = 2.08 square feet.

I have a skirt that has been worn by my girlfriend. it is 36" around and 12" long; 36*12/144= 3 square feet. 36" is a large waist for a girl.

As for needing to measure the widest part of the skirt and using that measurement, it depends on how the rings per square foot was calculated. In the case of the TRL numbers, which I used, they are calculated using the maille at half stretch. There is still quite a bit of stretch left in the maille to make up for the larger butt size. Even if you need to do a few expansions as you go down it should only add a half a square foot to the skirt. Lets say on average expansions would start at 4 inches from the top of the skirt. On average one is adding a rectangle 8"high by x wide to make 1/2 a square foot; 8x=72, x = 72/8. x=9. Therefore a 12 inch high skirt that expands from 36" at the top to 45" at the bottom would take 3.5 square feet.

If the waist was 28 and the butt was 36 one would need the following square footage for a 12" long skirt.

12'x28' + 8'x8 = 400 square inches = 2.77 square feet.

Neither of those are anywhere near 5 square feet unless you go to a skirt that is about 22' long. That is mid thigh on many women. I would suggest you show your math when making estimates.

Movak

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you Movak

My calc, that I did talk about was the 2.5 sq ft one. Giving a warning on how small that was actually going to be.

but thank you for doing the math and bearing out what I was saying about a 4-5 sq ft being short -4sq ft would have been even shorter than mid-thigh-.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If we look at the 24 waist measurement on a 5'6" woman 4 square feet would produce a skirt that would be 24" long which would be knee length. Five square feet would produce a skirt that would be 30" long which would be a midi. I think the issue is in the definition of short. As with many relative terms whether a skirt length is long or short the determination is relative to the perceptions of the observer. Yes 12" is very short but it would be called a micro mini and many women wear skirts that short and it is not out of the question to make one. A midi would be considered long to the 18 to 30 year olds where I live. A knee length skirt, which you seem to consider to be short, would be considered average where I live. It all depends on what the customer wants; It is to the craftsman's advantage to fulfill the need.

Movak

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×