A Zam Approach for the Particularly Price-Pinched

  1. #1
    ZamaBama's Avatar
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    A Zam Approach for the Particularly Price-Pinched

    Hi there folks! Yet another Zam admirer here starting on a non-screen accurate version of her Purplieness.

    Here's a little rundown of where I am at. If you have any ideas to help, I'm all ears!!!

    1. I went to local craft stores and happened to stumble upon packages of left-over leather scraps from Tandy of various colors. Each package was 1/2 lb and consisted of different shapes and sizes. Cost: $4.99 per bag

    2. Because dying is a tad bit out of my expertise, I purchased soft fabric paint. I also picked up a bag of dry, rather hard bristle brushes. Cost11.00 for paint and brushes

    3. I also picked up some Suede cloth in a nice purple color that seems to be fairly close to the right color. Cost: $1.49

    4. After reading ZIA's, DCB, and MonCal's descriptions of the skirt dimensions, I began cutting the leather. I have 4 rows done. After cutting, I painted them with the dry-bristles, making sure not to saturate the bristles or the fabric, so it looks distressed. Unfortunately, as of now, the color is still not 100% right. There is too much separated paint-look, not enough solidity.


    5. I have contacted JDFett about his greeblies.

    6. I was in contact with a Zentai company that does customs, however, they can't put seams in the front, and can't mimic the color. I might be purchasing the neoprene, however I'm not sure if my sewing machine can handle it.

    7. Thanks to previous SCA'ing days, I am quite good friends with a armorer, who will be assisting in some pieces for me.

    So, thats where I'm at right now...Trying my darnedest to keep it in budget and still look semi-alright. Any suggestions or aid would be SERIOUSLY appreciated.

  2. #2
    Admin Staff MaulMaus's Avatar
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    Re: A Zam Approach for the Particularly Price-Pinched

    Welcome to TDH ZamaBama! And good luck on your Zam! You're certainly not the first one to try the budget-conscious route for this costume! Nothing wrong with that!

    On the painting/dyeing issue... It looks almost like you were painting the suede side of the leather ... but it's really hard to tell from that pic! I do have to tell you I was scared to death to try dyeing leather the first time! What if I mess up and ruin my leather? But actually it isn't that hard (and we've even got MonCal's Handy-Dandy Leather Dyeing Tutorial to help you out! Just a thought.

    Regarding the neoprene and the sewing machine. I think most home sewing machines can handle it. JDFett said his inexpensive one handled sewing his neoprene without a problem at all. You might want to get a roller-foot for the machine to help the neoprene feed evenly through. I have a thread about Sewing with Neoprene HERE. It gives some more specific information.

    I would also suggest going through the threads here (Use the Search function) and ask questions. One of us has surely wondered or come across the same issue before! Or... made the same mistake...

    Hope you will meet up with us at DragonCon as well!

  3. #3
    ZamaBama's Avatar
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    Re: A Zam Approach for the Particularly Price-Pinched

    After some soul searching, 3 hours of reading, and a bit of **gasp!** nerdom realization, I think I am going to invest the time and money necessary to create the acurate version.

    Oh, MaulMaus....You're right! I'm a bit on the dense side when it comes to leather work, so...I feel dumb! :-D

    Since I want to do everything accurately, I'm gonna copy and paste the "Official Zam Parts" (what a WONDERFUL aid it is!) then copy and paste any and all instructional directions under each heading.

    I'm doing all of this ONTOP of planning my wedding in September. w00t!

    PS: I've PMed MonCal about a helmet...any ideas if he is still producing?

  4. #4
    Admin Staff MaulMaus's Avatar
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    Re: A Zam Approach for the Particularly Price-Pinched

    Yes... awakening the inner geek in you can become expensive!

    Trust me that none of us knew what the heck we were doing before we started this project! *some of us still don't * It's a learning process. It takes time and patience and some money.

    All this and a wedding too? Yikes... I thought I was busy!

  5. #5
    JDFett's Avatar
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    Re: A Zam Approach for the Particularly Price-Pinched

    dont worry about the leather stuff....i had never worked with it before this costume and had no clue either...there is a lot of help here so dont be afraid to ask

  6. #6
    ZamaBama's Avatar
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    Re: A Zam Approach for the Particularly Price-Pinched

    Y'know, the positivity on these boards is NUTS!

    I do have a few questions that have been skirted on the forums:

    1. There is some debate about whether 5-6oz, 6-7oz or 7-8oz is the best...It needs to be loose, that much is certain. I have found 6-7 oz veggie tanned oak shoulders 10 sq ft, for $3.62 a piece, right up my ally in price! It is colorless, so the dye should take well....Still, not sure if I should wet it before I dye it.

    Also, I found a very cheap airbrush kit that came with a "long life" propellant can. Somehow, I just have this feeling that the life isn't long enough for the Zamster, so I am searching for cheap compressors now. Cost for the kit: $9.96, shipping included.

    2. I'm not great with plastics, and I am afraid to try on expensive material. I've found some threads where people are selling their plastic parts, (ie: Shin guards, boot tops, and gauntlets) but I can't determine if they are still in the selling mood.

    I sold my motorcycle yesterday, due to its cost to me on a monthly basis. I'm using a bit of the money to gather materials, and to hopefully start on a Boba for my fiance.....He doesn't know about that, though!

    Just again, you guys rock....I never found anything like this for other costuming ventures!

  7. #7
    Admin Staff MaulMaus's Avatar
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    Re: A Zam Approach for the Particularly Price-Pinched

    It's the fumes... it's made us ... well.. "happy!"

    Now... to answer the questions... (Note - everyone here will give you different answers... just to confuse you even more... sorry )

    1. The skirt leather needs to be thick enough not to curl when you lace it up, but not so heavy it literally drags you down. There really isn't that much difference between 5-6 oz or 6-7 oz. Either one will work fine on the skirt IMHO. The 7-8 oz will work but might start to get on the heavy side. I would NOT wet the leather before dyeing it. The dye soaks in just fine w/o wetting the leather. Just be sure to add a finish to the leather once the dye is completely dry - satin sheen or Resolene work well.

    As far as an airbrush kit - I love mine. A "long life" propellant can lasts about as long as a Skywalker's arm in a Star Wars flick. A compressor is worth it if you plan on using the airbrush for this and other projects.

    2. I hear you on this. I haven't tried casting anything either. As far as I know MonCal is still producing his stuff. Send him a PM. I know he is very busy right now, so it may take him some time to get back to you. But all his products are top notch!

  8. #8
    Cressie's Avatar
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    Re: A Zam Approach for the Particularly Price-Pinched

    Hey ZamaBama,

    For the gauntlets I'm going to try craft foam sheets (30-79 cents per sheet) before I sink a lot of money into a kit. I was going to etch the design in Sintra, but Id need layers of Sintra to achieve the raised parts and its not that easy to work with if you need something intricate (but it works great for the chest armor). They have a great craft foam tutorial here. You can double the craft foam to make the raised areas and you can also etch the designs in it easily with a blunt pencil or pen. It bends perfectly and Im using plastic canvas to back it for stability. Im also coating it in the glue mixture on the tutorial site to make sure it holds its shape and design. Will post pics soon. Best of luck!

  9. #9
    JDFett's Avatar
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    Re: A Zam Approach for the Particularly Price-Pinched

    like maulmaus said many answers here... none are the same but they all are correct...

    i didnt soak the skirt squares, but did run them under water until they appeared wet and even...i found this helped even out the dye...I also used water to dilute the dye...im sure some sort of dye thinner is better, but i found if i mixed the batch everytime i dunked the sqaures they would cover and the dye wouldnt stay under the water...

    I also used a mahogany antiquing paste on all the skirt after it was assembled to give it a tad more reddish purple tone...it also helps protect the leather...

    with the weight i beleive i went with 5-6 oz...as far as the skirt being loose and flowing...good luck on that venture...I think the only thing that helps that is to be sure you dont lace too tight...the only problem with that is over time when the lace stretches out it will cause a lot of space in the skirt and you may find you'll have to tighten it...I just went snug, not tight...then Jamie and I pulled on it from all angles to stretch it a bit...it is still tight but seems better...

    we also ended up spraying the under side of the skirt with leather paint that we watered down and used a areosol sprayer....which is a okay alternative to an air brush if you dont own one...got mine from tandy for a few bucks

  10. #10
    ZamaBama's Avatar
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    Re: A Zam Approach for the Particularly Price-Pinched

    Wow, JD! What a thing to be doing at 1 am..Giving valuable tips on the Zamonator...

    5-6 oz it is then...Still gathering funds to do the big dollar drop on all the parts I can find NOW.

    Looked for the Journey Boots, because they look PERFECT, and they are out of production. Also, looked for white gloves to be dyed, and none I can find have the right look. Also, stopped at an industrial gasses and then a medical supply store to find the right tubing. No go....

    But, I'm trooping it out. I know the right stuff is out there, thanks to the incredible creations on here..

    And, I have read the patterns threads....I'm not very good varying a pattern, so any aid in that would be helpful.

    :-)

  11. #11
    sl/tk8456's Avatar
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    Re: A Zam Approach for the Particularly Price-Pinched

    You'll find good ladies gloves in gardening stores. These can also be airbrushed very well. I make the hand plates/thumb thing but that's all I can help with atm

  12. #12
    Admin Staff MaulMaus's Avatar
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    Re: A Zam Approach for the Particularly Price-Pinched

    Altering patterns isn't that difficult really. You just need to know what your own measurements are and pick out a multi-sized pattern. See where your measurements fit on the pattern pieces then connect the dots.

    It gets more difficult when you have a single sized pattern or are changing the pattern itself significantly.

    Light grey gloves will also work well and might be easier to find. As far as the hoses... *sighs* We've all been looking for the right hoses for years...

  13. #13
    ZamaBama's Avatar
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    Re: A Zam Approach for the Particularly Price-Pinched

    Found a Mccals Pattern for leggings. Obviously, I'll have to figure out my leg size, and length, then add seam allowances to alter it, right?

    I have found 4-5oz Double Shoulder that is "imperfect". Will that be alright? Its a better price than the original, at $2.69 a sq ft. I have also contacted Stretchhouse 3 times and have gotten no response. Did we ride out the neoprene discount or am I being impatient?

    :-)

  14. #14
    Cressie's Avatar
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    Re: A Zam Approach for the Particularly Price-Pinched

    Yup, Strechhouse won't e-mail anyone back, you must call during working hours. I simply asked if the neoprene was on sale and I got it for $15/yd instead of $18/yd as posted on the website. Also, I didn't tell them when I wanted it, so i guess by default they sent it overnight, which was pretty costly ($25). So that was the only surprise on my bill. Hope this helps!

  15. #15
    JDFett's Avatar
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    Re: A Zam Approach for the Particularly Price-Pinched

    ZamaBama said: View Post
    Wow, JD! What a thing to be doing at 1 am..Giving valuable tips on the Zamonator...

    :-)
    ya..i work the 7 pm to 3 am shift enforcing certain galactic laws and get a moment once in awhile to jump on line an ceck out the forums...

  16. #16

    Re: A Zam Approach for the Particularly Price-Pinched

    For the compressor, I think I got mine at Sears for fairly cheap. I've heard that Harbor Freight has them for ridiculously low prices sometimes (not sure if that is a national chain though)

  17. #17
    ZamaBama's Avatar
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    Re: A Zam Approach for the Particularly Price-Pinched

    ***!!!

    My fiance just bought me leather and dye for my birthday! He said if I get on the neoprene company, he'll get me that too!

    Its a very Gift of the Magi type thing, because I recently won him a set of vest armor for his Boba beginning.

    He doesn't know just yet! :-)

    Wow, good day for the Zamabama family!

  18. #18
    Admin Staff MaulMaus's Avatar
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    Re: A Zam Approach for the Particularly Price-Pinched

    Awww.... that's sweet! Congratulations on all the new goodies!

  19. #19
    ZamaBama's Avatar
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    Re: A Zam Approach for the Particularly Price-Pinched

    The fiance is working tirelessly with his tools on cutting the leather in our storage unit... :-)



    Just waiting on punches, lace cutters.....Moving right along!

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