Introduction: How to Sew a Basic Sword Cover
This guide will show you how to sew a sword cover for your Dagorhir / Belegarth / Amtguard / etc sword.
Step 1: Gathering Materials
You will need:
•The finished sword - the blade needs to be completely dry and done. I suggest also finishing the pommel and any other glueing so you don't get dap on the cover, but you can wait until the cover is done to wrap the handle in any rope/ athletic tape/ etc.
•Fabric - something sturdy that will not fray easily, I suggest trigger or duck cloth.
•A sewing machine
Step 2: Laying Out the Fabric
Place the fabric on a table that is flat easy to work on. You want to be able to easily move yourself to reach any area of the fabric, rather than moving the fabric around on the table. It's also best if this isn't the same table you used to build the sword, DAP and junk all over your new sword cover will not help it pass.
Put the sword on the fabric and adjust it until there is enough fabric hanging over the edge of the sword to touch the rest of the fabric on the other side. I put some brown felt under my fabric so you can see how far I've pulled it over.
Step 3: Pinning the Edge
Roll up the extra fabric so you can easily reach your hands around everything to put pins in.
Leave about an extra inch of the sword showing, this leaves room to tape down the cover. If you are making a drawstring cover do not do this, instead leave about 1-2 inches hanging off the edge of the sword so you have room to roll it over and fit a string.
Pin the fabric so it sits on the middle of the blade, not on a corner. This makes it less weird and gives a better fit when we reach the top curved part of the blade.
Pin up the side of the blade keeping the fabric tight to the edge. Put as many pins as you need in the curve to force it to keep its shape, but unlike me try to remember to keep them all facing the same direction.
Step 4: Marking the Edge and Cutting
Holding the fabric tight to the edge (it should mostly stay with the pins) and draw a line down the seam with chalk. Try to keep it even and don't make too many lines, especially around the top curve where sewing can be difficult and you need to choose the right line.
Remove the cover from the sword. It should slide off fairly easily, but if it is too tight and not coming off loosen your pins. It is always more difficult to get a sword on when it is done because there is a seem inside, so if it's not coming off now it's not going to fit well when you're done sewing.
Cut the fabric lining up about with the edge of the folded fabric. I like to leave tons of extra space incase there are any errors and the cover is too tight, this way I can adjust it to be larger and trim the extra fabric down later. You can choose to make this shorter by cutting it now, or trimming after it's sewn.
Step 5: Sewing
Make sure all the pins are facing the same direction OR carefully insert new pins facing perpendicular to the edge being sewn, then pull out the pins used to mark the edge. I like to pull pins out as I sew instead of sewing over them so I just leave them as they are. It also makes the fabric less likely to move around from re-pinning causing the curve on the tip not to fit right.
Using a simple straight stitch that is not too loose or too tight run the cover through the machine. Try to stay lined up with your chalk line.
At the start stich forward, then do a back stitch, then continue forward again. This will help to keep the cover from falling apart at the seem. Also do this at the end.
Step 6: Test Fit and Correction
Keeping the fabric as it is, put the cover on the weapon and see how it fits. It should go on without warping or breaking foam, but it should not slide on easily without any effort. In this case I did not follow my chalk line near the bottom, so I need to make it tighter. Once the cover is flipped inside out the seem will take up a little room, but it will not fill up a gap as large as I made.
While the cover is still on the sword mark any areas that need tightened with chalk and run it through the machine again. Do a backstitch at each end.
If the cover is so tight that it will not go on do not force it, instead get a seem ripper and take out the stitches until it is loose enough to fit. Then re-pin and mark the areas that were too tight, this is where it helps to have the extra fabric.
After you have made any corrections do another test fit. Keep correcting until the cover fits properly.
Step 7: Preventing Tears and Fraying
This is a serger, it closes off the edges of fabric to prevent fraying (ex: the inside of t-shirts). If you know someone with a serger be very nice to them and politely ask if they will sew the edges of your sword cover for you. Never attempt to use their serger because they will hurt you. If you have your own serger you are awesome.
Do not pin any of the fabric, just make sure the tension is right and run the cover through. In this case I used a double overlock stich and left a bit too much extra fabric on the side, but it fits over the weapon fine so I left it. Since this is a bit of a newbie weapon sergering the cover is over-kill, but for my stick jock husband it is essential.
If you can't find a serger you can do a fake kind of serging on a regular sewing machine using a zigzag stitch. It won't hold up as well but it can help to prevent the cover from blowing out on the seam and fraying.
Step 8: Yay It's Done!
Flip the cover inside out and put it on the weapon. This is probably the most difficult and annoying step since you no longer have the side seam to hold onto, and there is now a seam inside, but if the cover goes on without ruining the foam or being too loose then it's good. The tip came out a little weird on this one (too pointed) but it fits well and isn't so loose that it will fling around and hit anyone in the eye.
All this sword needs now is for the cover to be taped on near the handle. This is also the time to do any painting or decorating, since paint does not agree with sewing machines and it would be a waste to decorate a cover that doesn't end up fitting.
Total time was bout 40 minutes, and that includes taking pictures and messing up. With practice you could easily make a sword cover in 30 minutes or less.