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nschneid

Scale Halter Top help

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I'm trying to make one of these and a couple of issues I'm having following pictures from ones others have made is that they don't really seem to have a "cup" and there isn't really any support built in that I can see, like an underwire or something. My client has repeatedly voiced that concern... she only buys Victoria's Secret bras because they're the only kind that will hold her up and in place correctly. Apparently the belly dancer outfits you can buy are made for women who either don't need any support or who should have it but don't, and it ends up looking tacky on them. :-O

So far what I have is basically a flat sheet that is roughly the shape of one side of the thing, and I was thinking about running a wire through the edge to force it to conform into a cup shape. I'm not sure if it would work right since there's no contractions or anything built into it. I tried to put some in and it quickly got too confusing to follow. Maybe I did too many too close together, but I ended up taking them out. Now it looks too flat.

I thinking about starting over, making two identical triangles and joining them up one side, thinking that would get me more of a natural cup built into the fabric, like how people do with maille. Would this work, and would it be a better approach, or should I stick with my original?

edit: third alternative, going back and re-inserting contractions into the piece. If anyone wants to offer helpful advise on that, that would be super, so I don't have to fumble around for hours to figure out that it's not going to work right.

Also, how do you line this stuff? Basically all my experience so far has been one hauberk that I made for myself, and I have no experience tailoring with fabric or leather or anything, so maybe some links would be better than trying to talk me through it.

Edited by nschneid

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I have virtually no experience with this, so bear that in mind.

Personally, the triangles method with most designs seems like taking an easy way out that results in pyramid shaped cups to me. I don't have breasts but they don't look like they'd be the greatest for support to me. (if I had breasts, I sure wouldn't wear them). I think a more organic contraction/expansion plan using 4-1 would yield a better fit, and the most often recommended method of creating support ribbing and edges are switching to a stiffer weave like 6-1 for areas of concern. (I may not have experience, but for an odd reason, the chainmail bra is a very interesting design concept to me because it looks like it could use MUCH improvement)

I think since comfort and support are major concerns, I would focus on trying to make a nice top with the support needed, and then do scale placement afterwards to get the correct look and feel. It could be a nightmarish project to do so, but fit seems to be a major concern to your client.

Also, from all that I have asked, typically the answer has been that something is work under the mail rather than attaching something to it. Which makes sense. After all, how are you going to clean the fabric portion? toss the whole chunk of mail & scale into the washer?

Edited by The Postindustrialist

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I must admit I have not tried to make a halter out of scales yet. You haven't mentioned her cup size, though I am assuming it is large because of your difficulties. Under that assumption, make a thin patch of three or four rows a bit longer than you need to cover one of her breasts with a dagged bottom; little triangles formed from five scales each. Between each of these triangles is where you put in a contraction and add the needed scale to make the bottom a straight line. This will form the bottom of the cup while making it easier to keep track of where your contractions are. Then build upwards the same way as needed. The nature of the scales limits some of the forms you can make, and you always want to contract down from your largest part; expansions are a problem with them. You cannot really get much support from the scales themselves because of this, at least not in any comfortable, non-pointy way I can think of, but you can still coax them to attach nicely to a custom made undergarment like say, a suede halter lined with a smoother, more comfortable fabric. You might feel like some perverted geek, but ask for one of her old bras too. I made a piece for a woman that is a natural 'g' cup before; even with all the necessary measurements, I would have failed miserably without having something in front of me to work from. Having a form to drape your panels over will make your life much easier I think. Good luck with it.

I edited my descriptions somewhat, hopefully they make sense to you.

Edited by Paladin

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the other option is what I am doing my armor which is to make the scale piece and attach it to a bra. the one I am currently working on is sewn at the top of the bra only and I replaces the straps with the clear ones you can get in most stores. I then put straps of 4in1 over those making sure they chain attaches to the top row of scales. it is more work, but it gives more support , unlike the ones I have made for someother younger...shall we say perkier girls who don't need nearly as much support.armor2.jpg?width=240&height=320

the choker piece is actually a separate piece which i was trying out for this one, but decided to do something else with.

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I think a more organic contraction/expansion plan using 4-1 would yield a better fit, and the most often recommended method of creating support ribbing and edges are switching to a stiffer weave like 6-1 for areas of concern. (I may not have experience, but for an odd reason, the chainmail bra is a very interesting design concept to me because it looks like it could use MUCH improvement)

I think since comfort and support are major concerns, I would focus on trying to make a nice top with the support needed, and then do scale placement afterwards to get the correct look and feel. It could be a nightmarish project to do so, but fit seems to be a major concern to your client.

Also, from all that I have asked, typically the answer has been that something is work under the mail rather than attaching something to it. Which makes sense. After all, how are you going to clean the fabric portion? toss the whole chunk of mail & scale into the washer?

Thanks, this was helpful. I have gone back and rather than slowly contract the cups on the way down, I instead brought it down vertically to almost long enough and then did three contractions on the same row. On the edges, instead of doing the standard scale edge technique, I bunched it up. I should show pictures I think to make it make mroe sense.

To me it kind of feels like cheating to attach the scales to something. I'd rather use more authentic-looking materials so that no matter how you look at it, it looks real. I actually have a lot of design freedom as those criteria are pretty much up to me, but it does need to fit and be comfortable. I was thinking of going with some sort of fur lining for this purpose, like a rabbit pelt cut into shape and sewn into it. You couldn't really wash it in a machine but there are other ways of cleaning.

I must admit I have not tried to make a halter out of scales yet. You haven't mentioned her cup size, though I am assuming it is large because of your difficulties. Under that assumption, make a thin patch of three or four rows a bit longer than you need to cover one of her breasts with a dagged bottom; little triangles formed from five scales each. Between each of these triangles is where you put in a contraction and add the needed scale to make the bottom a straight line. This will form the bottom of the cup while making it easier to keep track of where your contractions are. Then build upwards the same way as needed. The nature of the scales limits some of the forms you can make, and you always want to contract down from your largest part; expansions are a problem with them. You cannot really get much support from the scales themselves because of this, at least not in any comfortable, non-pointy way I can think of, but you can still coax them to attach nicely to a custom made undergarment like say, a suede halter lined with a smoother, more comfortable fabric. You might feel like some perverted geek, but ask for one of her old bras too. I made a piece for a woman that is a natural 'g' cup before; even with all the necessary measurements, I would have failed miserably without having something in front of me to work from. Having a form to drape your panels over will make your life much easier I think. Good luck with it.

I edited my descriptions somewhat, hopefully they make sense to you.

She is around a 'D' so on the larger side, but compounding that is that she's had a kid and thus, from natural events, needs support. How do you make a five-scale triangle? Do you mean six? I can see what you mean about having something to work from. I will do that.

the other option is what I am doing my armor which is to make the scale piece and attach it to a bra. the one I am currently working on is sewn at the top of the bra only and I replaces the straps with the clear ones you can get in most stores. I then put straps of 4in1 over those making sure they chain attaches to the top row of scales. it is more work, but it gives more support , unlike the ones I have made for someother younger...shall we say perkier girls who don't need nearly as much support.armor2.jpg?width=240&height=320

the choker piece is actually a separate piece which i was trying out for this one, but decided to do something else with.

I am wanting to go in this direction but I'm not wanting to use a pre-fab bra... I'm wanting to make a leather/fur one out of skins, with an underwire as well (because even with all the contractions, the scales still don't really seem to be able to make a strong enough form). I'm not sure whether it would be better to make the bra first and then attach my scale patches or just sew the leather/wire into the cups to make a lining out of them.

From doing some reading, the cups need to be constructed right to provide support, and the lift is all about how you join the cups in the middle, and how the straps fit.

This does feel kinda pervy but eh, if I can do a nice job with this and then create a formula, I might end up making more :-P

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Define real. If I recall correctly there are several times and places where scales like this were sewn onto leather or fabric for armor. In fact I think linking them with rings is an oddity, not the normal case. I mention this not to make you change, but to allow you more options while keeping things "real." If your customer wants a garment that is only made out of metal, then the entire thing is out the window.

Does anyone else think it is funny that when we want strucure and support in a metal bra we look to fabric?

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Define real. If I recall correctly there are several times and places where scales like this were sewn onto leather or fabric for armor. In fact I think linking them with rings is an oddity, not the normal case. I mention this not to make you change, but to allow you more options while keeping things "real." If your customer wants a garment that is only made out of metal, then the entire thing is out the window.

Does anyone else think it is funny that when we want strucure and support in a metal bra we look to fabric?

"Real" i think would mean that someone who didn't know any better might pick it up and think it was reasonably authentic, either from a fantasy (it is a metal bra btw) or from a historical perspective, at least possible to have been made in that type of setting.

Sewing them onto a bra is fine, but when I do it I require the bra be made with primitive materials (leather, cloth). If you take a Victoria's Secret Wonderbra and put scales on it, then someone who picks it up could see that and part of the illusion would go out the window, because they know that Wonderbras are a modern item. At a fair I was just at, a booth was selling Viking-type helmets with horns that were basically decorated construction hats with fake horns and some fur on them. Ruined it for me, because I knew that even though it might look the part when it was on, it was in no way other than a brief visual inspection anything like what the Vikings or anyone else from whatever period they were supposed to be from would wear. That might be acceptable from a prop perspective, but when I'm making something, I like knowing that at least the materials I'm using (ok, ok, I'm using stainless steel, but I guess that doesn't cross that mark to me because it's metal and clinky), if not the tools and fabrication, were at leaset avaliable to the people in that setting.

Kind of like how the Black Cat can't stand Peter Parker, but is head over heels for Spider-man, even though she knows they're the same person?

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Even edited my description is still sub-par... :P You can think of it as 6 scales if you are including the scale from your bottom row, or 5 if you are just adding to that bottom row to make your triangles. I think it best to keep the top part flat (no funky links or contractions) so it will want to drape over the curve of her breasts naturally. As for the under bra part, I made the cups in segments of suede, like an orange peel. I had an eye shaped piece front and center and the rest were strips; think of the knee or elbow arrangement on plate armor, that's kind of how I did it. The overall pattern was an 'abbreviated' cuirass, so I really only had to worry about cup placement and attaching to the back piece at the sides and shoulders, not the play between the cups and straps like you'll have. She did the lining and additional decorating herself, so I am no help to you there either.

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"Real" i think would mean that someone who didn't know any better might pick it up and think it was reasonably authentic, either from a fantasy (it is a metal bra btw) or from a historical perspective, at least possible to have been made in that type of setting.

I understand your point perfectly. To fit into this perhaps having a period acceptable garment with scales sewn onto it may be your best bet. The other idea is to have leather/fabric garment do the heavy lifting when it comes to holding the girls in place, and have the halter be entirely decorative. I'd think that most women would prefer to have something under a garment like this when doing something as active a belly dancing.

Chainmail is great stuff and I love the look, but large pieces of it tend to require padding under them in my book.

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Even edited my description is still sub-par... :P You can think of it as 6 scales if you are including the scale from your bottom row, or 5 if you are just adding to that bottom row to make your triangles. I think it best to keep the top part flat (no funky links or contractions) so it will want to drape over the curve of her breasts naturally. As for the under bra part, I made the cups in segments of suede, like an orange peel. I had an eye shaped piece front and center and the rest were strips; think of the knee or elbow arrangement on plate armor, that's kind of how I did it. The overall pattern was an 'abbreviated' cuirass, so I really only had to worry about cup placement and attaching to the back piece at the sides and shoulders, not the play between the cups and straps like you'll have. She did the lining and additional decorating herself, so I am no help to you there either.

ah OK that makes sense. So you're actually making trapezoids, and effectively pre-fabricating your contractions. That seems like a really good way to do it in general: make top part, make contractions, make bottom part, tie it all together.

I understand your point perfectly. To fit into this perhaps having a period acceptable garment with scales sewn onto it may be your best bet. The other idea is to have leather/fabric garment do the heavy lifting when it comes to holding the girls in place, and have the halter be entirely decorative. I'd think that most women would prefer to have something under a garment like this when doing something as active a belly dancing.

Chainmail is great stuff and I love the look, but large pieces of it tend to require padding under them in my book.

This does seem like a good way to go. Do you think a fur-on leather (say rabbit skin, soft side in) would work well, or would it be safer to go with some sort of fabric? I was thinking the leather because it's soft on the inside and fairly tough, thus you could sew the rings right to the leather, one row at a time, but (re-emphasizing) i've never made something like this or worked with any materials other than 14AWG galvy wire, so I don't know the complications or hardships behind them.

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Sort of. I will try to explain more clearly. Make the patch of scales that will go around the breast just above where you need the contractions. Add the triangles to the bottom of the patch where you need the contractions. Then you can add a flat upper panel shaped as needed to cover the top of the breast. Since there are no contractions or funky joins on the bottom of the upper panel, and none on the top of the lower panel, they will link together easily, and the triangles on the bottom make it easier to keep track of where the contractions will be placed. Doing it pieces like this might seem overly complicated, but you can drape them over a soft form like a stuffed bra without it being deformed so much by the weight of the metal.

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Here's are a few pictures of a halter I designed to fit and support a EE cup.

gallery_15_14553.jpg

gallery_15_11423.jpg

gallery_15_21950.jpg

gallery_15_584.jpg

This link goes to a diagram of the construction superimposed over a picture that shows the shape of the scale material and the points where contractions are needed.

http://www.mailleartisans.org/gallery/pics/32216halterdetail.jpg

Hope that helps.

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Here's are a few pictures of a halter I designed to fit and support a EE cup.

This link goes to a diagram of the construction superimposed over a picture that shows the shape of the scale material and the points where contractions are needed.

Hope that helps.

Wow, thanks Lorenzo, that is very helpful.

Three questions:

1) Did you line it with anything? If not, is she wearing anything (like a regular bra) under that? The back of the scale construction is not particularly comfortable.

2) Is there an underwire of any kind involved or is she just supported by the sheet of scales?

3) Is it made with the large or the small scales? I'm wondering because I would think the back of small scales would be smoother, but at least to my eye, they look like large scales.

You guys are really helpful. I will be sure and post pictures of my work in progress and the final rev.

Edited by nschneid

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1) Did you line it with anything? If not, is she wearing anything (like a regular bra) under that? The back of the scale construction is not particularly comfortable.

It wasn't lined, the first generation scales and rings were much smoother and made by a different manufacturer than TRL, good enough for her to wear for short periods. You should probably line yours.

2) Is there an underwire of any kind involved or is she just supported by the sheet of scales?

Good question, I almost forgot to mention the flat section at the bottom of the scale material has extra rings linking it together so it doesn't stretch sort of like an underwire chain.

3) Is it made with the large or the small scales? I'm wondering because I would think the back of small scales would be smoother, but at least to my eye, they look like large scales.

Small scales.

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Here's are a few pictures of a halter I designed to fit and support a EE cup.

How did you fit it? Top-down, bottom-up or center-out?

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It was a long time ago but I think I worked from the top down. It was pretty easy I just took measurements and then built it to match.

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