I got inspired to create a dwarf costume after seeing an awesome knit beard/hat combination. With that already in place, I set out to complete the outfit. I wanted the costume to be low-cost and reasonably warm, and I decided I wouldn't worry how things looked from the knees down.
My main task was to come up with something knee-length and sleeveless that was made of leather, or at least had that appearance. I also wanted to create the appearance of wearing chain mail beneath this garment, but wasn't interested in wearing actual heavy chain mail.
First stop: thrift store.
Step 1: Secure raw materials
At the thrift store, I headed to the coat section. I scanned the bottom edge of the rack, looking for the longer coats that hung lower than most of the others. I was lucky enough to find a long fake leather coat with a color that resembled deerskin.