This article will outline how I used woven boning and Fosshape to create an armor look. The end result is not strong enough to be armor, it is light weight and rigid enough to hold the shape but not rigid enough to withstand any impact. I’m creating a “woven bone” aperture and then draping Fosshape over it to create the outer surface. FYI this is my first attempt doing anything like this.
The “armor” that I made is a single shoulder shield, decorated with leaves. My plan is that it will be the colour of oxidized copper “verdigris” but at this point I’ve not found paint options (in my town) that will allow me to get this look. I may have to settle with tarnished silver.
The armor is shown above on black dress-form, against a black backdrop. I’ve put a white corset on the dress-form so that you can see how the armor will sit, although it is not hugging the waist in this image and it is sitting well above the shoulder of the dress-form, which it is supposed to do.
I used Fosshape 300 (the lighter weight version) as that is what I had, and I used 10mm wide white woven boning (Product Code: 15-8110-01, found in the notions section) and the rubbery tips. All items were from Farthingales.
Woven boning is like “Rigelene” was. There are long narrow hard strips woven together with thread. You can sew through it and when you cut the ends they fray and can be prickly; hence the need for tips.
Scissors, extra long yellow head pins, a marking pen, pliers (you’ll need them to pull the needle through the woven boning) and a thimble - yes, you absolutely need a thimble! A leather needle, buttonhole thread and glue.
These are not my good fabric scissors! Not just any needle will do, an ordinary “sharp” will break when going through the woven boning. I used a Leather Needle. The thread is not ordinary thread, you need heavier thread. I chose red so it will be easily seen in this sample. The glue I used is “Jewel Glue” by Unique as it’s what I had available.
Gloves help protect your hands from heat. I got these in the garden section of a “Dollar Store”. The white are gave no protection! An oven protective sheet helps to.
If you have a heat set press for setting heat set crystals you may use the sheets that are used with it. Some form of heat it required to set the Fosshape, I use and inexpensive steamer and I used a tradtional iron too. Last but not least I used a dress-form to “drape” my project on and I picked up spray paint from my local hardware store where the only option was automotive spray paint. I chose silver and matte black…though I’m holding out for other options.
Woven Boning Aperture
The woven boning comes on a coil and unlike steel, woven boning will retain the curves of the coil when you unpack it.
To straighten the woven boning I pressed it between a Teflon sheet and the Teflon coated ironing board cover with my iron at “silk” setting. I pressed a few meters at a time.
I draped a length of the woven boning on the dress-form to get an idea of the length of pieces I would need and then I cut 4 pieces to that length. I slid a rubbery tip onto the cut ends and then began to pin them to the dresform to create the desired shape. The images below show a woven bone with a rubbery tip applied to the end and the shoulder of the dress-form with the woven boning pinned in place.
Pinning the woven boning in place takes some “playing around” to get the shape you want and structural soundness (which you get when bones cross each other and can be secured together). The dress-form I’m using is a “Uniquely You” one and it is made of foam, so I can stick pins directly into it. This ability made this step of the project easy. I also pinned every intersection of the bones, by just sticking the pins straight through. The yellow heads make them easy to see and to handle. I continued to pin pieces in place to create the shape I wanted and the structure needed to support that shape. Note that I've pinned directly to the dress-form as well as pinning the boning together at each intersection.
This process takes time. You may place and adjust the boning several times until you are satisfied with the shape and the stability of the structure.
I love these yellow head pins because they are easy to see, easy to remove, strong enough to go through a few bones and long enough to go into the dress-form when I need them to. Once all the pieces were where I wanted them (this was determined by the shape and how stable the structure had become) I added two short pieces of woven boning at the back and front where all the pieces converged.
When all the pieces were pinned in place it was time to start hand sewing the intersecting points. Basic needle and thread cannot be used as the needles break and the thread frays. A leather needle works well and heavy duty thread doubled, makes the job go more quickly, but it is still time consuming!
There were times when I needed to use needle nose pliers to grip the needle and pull it all the way through two or three layers of boning.
When I got to a point where I needed to remove the “cage” from the the dress-form in order to complete the sewing I made sure I still had pins at every intersection of boning that had not been sewn yet.
I remove the cage from the dress-form and stitched the intersections where they are pinned, being careful as I worked around the pin points – it was a bit awkward.
After all the intersections were stitched, I added a dab of glue over the threads on the inside of the cage to secure them. To be honest, I cheated and gluded some of the intersections without having stitched them (but I don’t recommend skipping the stitching). I used a piece of the boning and dipped it in the glue, then slide the glue between the two intersecting bones (not removing the pin) and used a paper clip to add extra pressure at the contact point until the glue dried.
I finally decided which corset I’m going to use as a foundation for this shoulder armor and I placed it on the dress-form and set the cage in place. It would be best to determine this first…unless like me, you are just experimenting.
This is all for today, perhaps the computer it tired or maybe it's me. No matter what I do and formatting has been a nightmare. I will attempt to blog about how I used Fosshape 300 to cover the aperture and create a base, on another day...if I don't toss my computer out the window first! All images show up perfectly in the back end...but not on the blog post, so I can't see how to fix them.
You can find out more about Fosshape by clicking the link below
And you can find out more about Woven Bones (Rigelene) by clicking