1.) For instructions on how to pick good fabric, see the beginning of my How to Make a Brigandine article. I used leftover fabric from my brigandine, so the two would match.
2.) The costume I was working on only needed one vambrace. If you want a pair, double all the materials and the project time. Also, make sure to take the measurements for both vambraces at the same time.
Step 1: What You'll Need:
Total Project Time: 2½ hours
Total Project Cost: $19
• 8 pairs of small D-ring buckles, $3 for 6 pairs
• 1 bag of 1 inch brass fasteners, $3
• 1 roll Scotch tape, $2
• 1 roll of Duct Tape, $4
• 1/3 yard of fabric, about $4
• Measuring tape or long ribbon
Step 2: Assembling the Main Section:
2.) Mark this height on the back side of your fabric.
*Remember, it’s always better to err on the side of too big. You can always cinch up a vambrace that’s too big, but if it’s too small you’ll have to start over.
6.) Draw lines connecting the outer edges of the top and bottom width-lines.
7.) To make the point at the top of the vambrace, draw a line from the center dot you made in the top width-line to the line connecting the top and bottom width-lines. You may have to do this a couple time to get an angle that you like.
8.) You should have a shape like the one above.
10.) Fold the shape in half, and use the Scotch tape to LIGHTLY tape the edge down.
13.) Wrap the vambrace around your forearm to make sure it fits. The edges should overlap, at least a little. If they don’t, you can un-tape the folds and clean off the duct tape gunk to make your vambrace a little wider, though this will ruin the thick-leather look. If even that isn’t enough to make the edges overlap, you’ll have to start over.
Step 9: Making the Buckles:
1.) Measure the width of the D-ring, and double this to get the width of your thick straps. You’ll need one thick strap per buckle.
2.) Use the exact width of the D-rings to get the width of your thin straps. You’ll need one thin strap per buckle.
3.) The thin straps are what you’re going to use to anchor the D-rings to your vambrace. They need to be long enough to loop around a pair of D-rings and accommodate the head of one of the brass fasteners, as seen above.
5.) Thread a fastener through the two left holes. Leave the arms of the fastener closed for now. Do the same thing for the two right holes.
6.) Repeat this for your remaining buckles.
8.) Cut out your thick straps.
9.) Fold the two long edges of the thick strap so that they meet in the center, with the front side of the fabric facing out. Duct tape the edges into place, making sure the duct tape doesn’t wrap around to the other side of the strap. I know this sounds bad, but the duct tape won’t be visible when you’re wearing the vambrace.
10.) Poke the smallest possible hole at the end of one side of the thick strap. Thread a fastener through the hole, with the head on the duct-taped side. Leave the arms of the fastener closed for now.
11.) Repeat steps 9 and 10 for your remaining thick straps.
Step 12: Attaching the Buckles:
1.) Decide where you want the buckles to attach to your vambrace. Again, I recommend you attach them at least an inch from the edges.
2.) First, we’ll attach the thin straps. Lay your thin straps on the vambrace where you want them to attach, so you can see where the fasteners will be. Mark these spots carefully.
3.) Cut the smallest possible hole at each of the spots you marked. If you accidently make the hole too big, you can cover it by scooting the buckle farther away from the edge.
4.) Thread the fasteners through the holes and open the arms.
5.) Lay the thick straps on the vambrace where you want them to attach. Carefully mark the positions of the fasteners.
6.) Cut the smallest possible hole at each of the marks.
7.) Slightly open the arms of the fastener on the thick strap, and close them around a single D-ring so that the ring loops over the strap.
8.) Thread the fasteners through the holes in the vambrace and open the arms all the way.
10.) If it fits, duct tape the arms of the fasteners to the inside of the vambrace. If it is too big, move the thin straps back a little. If it is too small, move the thick straps forward a little.
Congratulations! You are now the owner of a truly awesome vambrace. Wear, flaunt, and enjoy.