Alrighty! I wanted to cosplay as Aela the huntress for at least four years! The thing that had me worried and kept me from starting this costume all those years was the thigh mail armour thingies. I wasn’t sure if they were going to be too heavy, whether I could find the rings or be forced to hand craft them one by one, how expensive they would be, if I had the mental strength to link them (again, one by one), and how much it would hurt my hands. After cosplaying in full body armour for the last three years, I have decided to try a light and comfortable costume for a change, and this cosplay came to mind. So I started playing Skyrim once again…for research.
The first thing I bought was wire. SO.MUCH.WIRE… In total I used 90 metres of 2mm silver aluminium wire. I took an old marker and coiled the wire on it and then cut each ring with cutting pliers (and eventually scissors). This hurt my palms a lot! I made sure I had made a lot of rings before I started the next step.
Luckily the pattern was a very common and relatively easy one to weave, once you understand how to do it. If you can’t be bothered with the pictures, watch any video about a European 4 in 1 mail.
So, after you cut off the rings, take 4 and close them. Depending on how soft the wire is you can either use pliers or your hands (mine was relatively soft but sometimes it required pliers). Then take 1 open ring, put the 4 closed ones in it and close that ring too. Again, I made sure I had a lot of 4 in 1 linked pieces before moving to the next step
This is the complicated part. Once you understand this then it’s easy from that point on. It’s just repetitive.
Pic 1: Take two of the 4 in 1 links you created and place them flat in front of you. Take an open ring and pull it through the one side of the left link (ring 1 and then ring 2)
Pic 2: Make sure that all your 4 in 1 links and your connecting (black) ring are facing the same direction. Then pull the connecting ring through the other link on the right (ring 1 and then 2)
Pic 3: Close the connecting ring
Pic 4: All done!
Now about the direction that I mentioned in Pic 2. It is crucial that the middle ring from all the 4 in 1 pieces and the connecting rings between them are facing the same direction. The following picture can be used as a guide.
So just keep doing that until your hands bleed and you can’t feel your fingertips! Also, avoid snacking (or use a fork) while working with wire because it doesn’t taste good!
Next was the fabric. I had some leftover light brown pleather from a previous costume and decided to use that. Since it’s supposed to be a bit darker than the rest of the costume and most of it is hidden by the chainmail, it didn’t matter if the tone wasn’t perfect. The only problem was that the fabric was too thin and very elastic and it couldn’t support the weight of the mail. In order to make it heavier and more tear-resistant, I glued on the pleather a 2mm foam sheet and sewed two layers of black polyester fabric.
Then I weathered it with a black wash. I was too lazy to get up and grab a pair of gloves or a rug so I just wiped most of the excess wash with my hands!
Finally after sewing and weathering the fabric, I placed the chainmail on top of it and started stitching it to place with fishing line. Even up close, the line is almost invisible! I had to pull the mail away from the pleather so I could locate the stitches and take the picture!!
I overshot the length of the mail compared to the fabric, so I will have to remove the lowest row of rings. It’s heavy enough to drape nicely but not too heavy to slide down. Next step, the skirt/belt/thingy (as you can see I’m fluent in costume lingo).