Oct 18

The Mad Person-Who-Stitches: Armor for Aerialists

Princess Zelda wears gold pauldrons with textured decoration:

I needed to recreate these with the following constraints: (i) my version must allow complete freedom of the shoulder joint and (ii) my skills are with fabrics and associated tools.  While I would like to learn to make armor, that is a someday project, not a “this thing must be done as part of a completely new costume with a deadline in three months” project.

Here is my solution:

upper arm piece

shoulder piece


To meet the first condition I choose to make two separate pieces.  The piece for the top of the shoulders ties onto the bodice shoulder strap in three places with cheap satin ribbon, while the upper arm piece has an elastic band.  Because in the screenshots of Zelda, these appear to be one solid piece with no joints (unrealistic, but fantasy characters’ costumes will just work by magic), I decided not to try connecting my pieces.  From a distance, I think it completely worked.  We hope to have video of the performance soon on the site, and you can judge for yourself.

To meet the second condition, I bought two pairs of large pre-made shoulder pads for formal business jackets.  For the top shoulder pieces I shaped them by sewing a strip of stretched elastic to the underside.  For the arm pieces I stripped off the original lining fabric to get at the foam, and cut and shaved them with scissors and a boxcutter.  Then I re-covered all the pieces with shiny gold stretch fabric that I had in my stash from making Princess Tutu’s necklace last year.  Detailing was done freehand with 3d fabric paint.