Introduction: Making Leather Modular Armor From Pieceables

About: Hi, we're Dara and Nash. Industrial designers, tinkers, and mayhem builders. Follow our travels.

Lately I've been falling in love with Pieceables, this new design we took to Maker-Faire NC this past year. I made this to stretch my nerdy side with a spiky looking exterior and soft inside black leather. You can use it to design clothing, armor, or just goof off for fun. Sparring matches are AWESOME! I love how quick and flexible prototyping is.  This step-by-step tutorial takes you through the nuts and bolts of using your own. Generally you can put together a vest in 30 min to 1 hour from scratch.


You will need:

A pattern- either buy a pattern (my favorite sources are Wearable Quilts and the SCA)
Lots of Pieceables

Step 1: Get Supplies- Pattern and Pieceables

         You can take any freely available pattern you buy in a store and convert it to grid form. You can either draw one yourself on ABC pattern paper or take an existing pattern and lay it out. I found this really good book called Wearable Quilts which showed how to do this as the first quilts were actually protection from arrows for warriors. It's got a couple hundred patterns and is inexpensive. I highly recommend purchasing a copy off Amazon for $.01-$4.00. The SCA also is a great resource for traditional armor patterns. But my favorite is Wearable Quilts.

        Once you have your pattern you can figure out how many Pieceables you need one per 2 square inches in theory. In practice I feel that it is closer to 3 square inches as they overlap around the edges so small pieces use very little to go a long way.

Step 2: Begin Snapping Pieceables Together

Pieceables operates on a tab system so to put them together simply feed the male side through from back to front and snap.

I like to snap mine together in rows. Once you have enough for gauntlets (20-40 depending on arm size), simply snap in the back. the more connections you have, the sturdier the construction. Think like building a house, more reinforcement is good.

You can also make a bracelet to give you a feel for size.

Step 3: Practice Bracelet

Wow, ok...I'm obviously goofing off and having fun. Here's a goofy bracelet I made in between the gauntlets and vest. Yeah 4 pieces! I'm always surprised at how a little leather goes a long way.

Step 4: Make the Vest

Alright, now you are ready to make your armor. It generally takes 200 pieces to fit an adult male, while my chick top only took 70 (more skin showing).

What will you make?

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