Had a very disappointing shopping trip yesterday trying to find the right fabric for my next sewing project. Nothing was quite what I wanted. To cheer myself up, I played with some bits from the House of Objects. They always have boxes full of these little black rubber disks with protrusions on the back. I have no idea what they are actually for, but I’ve been experimenting with using them for futuristic armour for my 5000 REM character.
I’ll break down the various panels I’ve come up with. All of them have the nubby bits cut off the back of the disks. They snip off really easily with wire cutters, but it would be trickier to get them flush. For holes I used the smallest setting on my leather punch, which worked well on the bigger disks but was painfully difficult on the smaller (probably wouldn’t be for anyone else, but I struggle to use a leather punch for all but the thinnest of leather). I tried using an awl to pierce holes too, this worked, but it’s trickier to get the wire links in, and they don’t move around easily afterward. I reckon they would tear more easily than the punched holes.
The thin rubber went through my sewing machine with a normal zipper foot and a heavy jeans needle. It didn’t much like the thicker middle sections though. For the sewn pieces without fabric backing, I used tracing paper to hold everything in place then ripped it off afterward. It worked brilliantly, the foot slid over the rubber easily. If I was going to do a larger section I’d use paper on top of the fabric backed pieces too, to help smooth the rubber under the foot.
This is front and back of a ring maile style panel. It looks ok, quite flexible and light. I like the back, it’s got a bit more texture. Fairly strong, but it might start tearing under strain. I like the pattern, but might struggle to find enough smaller disks to make a large piece.
Another maile style panel. The little metal rings I’ve used were ones I had kicking around, I think they’re steel, they’re fairly sturdy. Thicker than jewellery jump rings. This pattern is less flexible than the previous one, but would work up quickly.
Sewn down scales, front out. I stitched them down line by line at the top of the disks. Works up quickly, looks ok lying flat, not so much on the curve.
Same scale idea but with the nub facing out. Adds a bit of texture, and makes it easier to line the disks up when sewing them down.
Stitched down disks. Works up quickly, would be easier with paper on top. Could apply it to pre-made clothing easily. Stronger stitching than the scales.
Stitched down nub side out.
Stitched down with alternate sizes. A bit trickier to put together, but still doable for a larger piece. Looks better, still robust.ought struggle to find enough smaller disks.
Disks stitched together with normal sewing thread. Would tear quite easily, but could use stronger thread.
Disks stitched together with crochet cotton in the bobbin. A bit more robust than plain sewing thread. Moves nicely, flexible. Could use coloured crochet cotton for different looks.
That’s it, for now. I’m undecided on them. Some look kinda cool, but I’m not sure they look like ‘armour’. They might work as panels on larger pieces though, maybe as flexible sections between rigid plates. There is a class of armour in the game described as ‘reinforced clothing’ which some of these might suitably physrep. We shall see, I’ve got a couple of other projects before I can realistically approach this one, so I’ve got time to toss it around in my brain a bit!