Cleaning out the basement, or, finding a use for a stack of beta Proofgrade leather

It’s dangerous when the office has a fall ‘make something’ contest that can include costuming… and it’s even more dangerous when I find a stack of beta :proofgrade: leather in the basement that’s been hanging around for longer than I’ve worked at Glowforge. @Kusmeroglu was kind enough to model the results :slight_smile:


All told, this was about two weeks of mad dash crafting that I wasn’t sure I’d finish (and truthfully, I didn’t finish.) The shoulder armor was intimidating as all heck, especially since the extent of my leather stitching work to date is the wallet that I made in my first month or two at Glowforge… So I made a backup chest piece:

The dye scheme is a combination of Fiebings Light Tan and British Tan, starting by dying the entire piece with light tan, then working in from the edges with british tan to leave some highlights and give it a bit of a worn look…

And the first chest piece wasn’t that many pieces to dye…

Armed with early success, I set off for one of the pieces with the least stitching… something for the arms.

And it didn’t turn out too bad!

Which left me bold enough to attempt a little bit of insanity…

No big deal! Same stitches as the last thing, right? Just more of them?

What have I gotten myself into? But… once you start, nothing to do but see it through! Down to the little details and the best decision I made in the entire project…

Bronze accents? Or Blue ones?

Blue it is! One of the few appearances of :proofgrade: thin leather in the entire build. The Angelus Pearlescent acrylic leather paints are some of my favorite things :slight_smile:

Victory! Also… oops! Nothing like finding out that the rivet holes at the end of your stitch were left the same size as your stitching holes… hand tools to the rescue!

Then on to the next set of details…

I swear, I’m getting over this whole no-stitching thing. Also… I ran out of rivets. If I’d counted before ordering my hardware I might have realized that the shoulder armor was a good 50 rivets all by itself!

But what can you do? I mean, other than move on to the next bit of stitching while waiting for the magic of Amazon Prime?

Wait… Prototyping! I mean, I’m not going to switch rivet colors at this point but my prototypes don’t care what color of rivet I test fit with…

And I could get on with the resin pouring…

Into really tiny vials…

And while the resin was curing, my rivets showed up and I was able to finish the hip bag and potion belt…

Well… not really finish the potion belt. Once I got the pouches fitted I felt like it was just a little too long. I cut a few extra strap bits with the idea of installing a few O-rings where you could clip extra pieces of gear… I figured I could just hand punch in a few rivet holes for that and call it a day… but I was running out of time and I needed to finish the goggles…

I found a mythic piece of thick Green Glass acrylic in the scrap bin that had just enough usable space to get a few lenses out of… and then found that trying to fit a lens that thick into these was more hassle than it was worth and fished some medium clear out of the scrap bin instead. (I’ll try the thicker lenses on another pair when I have more time!)

All told, I’d call it worth it if for no other reason than to get to see the massive grin it put on Linden’s face when she got to try it all on.

Random Trivia…

Total print time: 4 hours (okay, 2 minutes shy of 4 hours, but we’ll keep the difference between you, me and the logs.) Some of that was done on a Basic, some on a Pro.

Total amount of :proofgrade: used: 15 12"X20" sheets of PG thick leather (that includes Mr. Failed Print up there), 3-ish 5"x10" sheets of PG Thin leather (lots of fishing in the scrap bin for those), 2/3 of which was used just making buckle keepers. Of the 15 sheets of PG thick used, there’s a really healthy amount of usable scrap left that will get turned into straps, fasteners, bracelets or any number of smaller projects.

Total hardware count: 3 lobster clasps, 3 button studs, 6 O-Rings, 21 buckles, and ~200 rivets.

Thread used: I went through most of 2 25 yard rolls but there’s a crazy amount of that lost to waste.

And finally, total episodes of Voltron watched while stitching: I think I got through all seven seasons of Voltron Legendary Defender (in fairness, half of those seasons are only 6 or 7 episodes each.)


Looks like it was a lot of fun to make.
Looks awesome.

Thanks for sharing

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That’s fricken impressive! I understand the feeling of “What did I get myself into?!” So as I read this I got sympathy stress/anxiety! So glad it had such a magical ending to the story!


Excellent work. How on earth do you pattern that before cutting?

I really want to make some costume stuff but I think I’m going to do really small pieces that fit together because I don’t understand how to make patterns.

Great work on the leather staining too - love the way you get the highlights with that technique


Very cool!

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Wow, amazing! I really like the creative use of resin in this.

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Holy crap! Amazeballs.

I’m all about the no-stitch leather projects. I don’t sew. (Not a macho thing, but a lazy thing.)

From the staining to the pattern making and finishing… just WOW!


Perhaps the most frequently asked question when one gets into stitching things!

You’ve got the dyeing down to an art! Exquisite!


Wow! What a complete ensemble and the detail and execution are fantastic!

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I take absolutely zero credit for the patterns here (except the potion belt which I’m leaving in the category of ‘in beta’ because there are so many ways I can make it better given more time to do so.)

Tony See over at is a great designer. The patterns he makes are designed to be printed on A4 paper, cut out and pieced together before cutting / punching out the old fashioned way. I spent a few hours in illustrator to go from ‘paper pattern designed for size A4 paper’ to ‘SVG optimized for a 10.75" X 19.5" cutting area on a laser’ but I’m a few months away from generating my own leather designs that require this level of stitching. (I’ve started sketching a corset now that I understand some of the stitches used in this project but that’s ambitious right now.)

Part of why I took this on was to learn, and learn I did!


I’m the same way for much the same reason. The first leather projects I tried hand stitching left me really turned off to stitching. This time around I learned just how much different stitch constructions can make the process considerably more enjoyable. My favorite one was the zig-zag stitch on the hip bag. I think my least favorite one was transitioning from the ladder stitch to a saddle stitch on the goggles. After a few hours though, I didn’t hate any of them as much as I hated stitching before starting this project.


This. Is. Amazing. Wow! Totally impressed…thank you for sharing!


Add me to the group of amazed people. I don’t even know how people come up with these ideas, let alone design and make them. I’m going to go off to my corner and cry now.


Wow, really cool stuff! I just finished browsing and it’s making me want to go all steampunk. Not sure it’s really a good look for me, but if nothing else, I might try my hand at the Indiana Jones hat one of these days!


The corset top hat is one of my next projects… I’m just trying to figure out if I can fit the brim on :proofgrade: or if I need to cut down a bit from one of the hides in the basement and attempt some passthrough sorcery.

There are so many neat projects there… I think I can keep myself busy for a while!


Amazing! I really love how you applied the dye. (Well, I really love everything about the project including the dye).

This is the main reason I rarely make leather projects. You’ve inspired me to give stitching another go. From what you described, I am thinking that maybe it’s the saddle stitch that is challenging for me. I will learn others. Thanks!

Really fantastic work!


Wow I did not realize there was 12 x 20 sheets of PG thick leather nor that working there was so much like working in a candy factory that you could design and eat your own candy!

Amazing stuff there.


That’s what I’m saying! Totally jealous!

Amazing project, I love when the GF team puts up their projects; they never disappoint :grin:


Oh Wow! I’m making some similar steampunk stuff for my daughter for Halloween. They want a bandolier with vials, looking similar to the way you have the vials strapped. I’m a little hesitant because I don’t want glass to hit pavement. How tight fitting are they? Is there a lip on the vials to keep them from slipping through?

They’re snug enough that they’re hard to pull out. Over time, they may loosen but I’ll take several times pulling the vials in and out for leather to relax enough to worry about the vials falling out.

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