The Evolution of Medieval Armor

Since #armor is an ever-popular aspect of #costuming & #cosplay, we wanted to share this video about the evolution of actual medieval armor, which is likely the basis for various types of armor used by multiple sci-fi, fantasy & gaming franchises. While this video focuses on actual metal armor, many #cosplayers wear metal armor, as do re-enactors. We will also add a disclaimer regarding the accuracy for the reasons shared in the video as to why armor changed over the centuries.

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Introduction to Fabrics

While #sewing is an important rudimentary #cosplay & #costuming skill, so is knowing a few things about #fabrics, which have different qualities depending upon the materials used & how they were manufactured.

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1. Fabric Basics

What is a fabric? A fabric (which may also be called a textile or cloth) is a flexible material comprised of a series of interconnected fibers. The three most distinguishing features of a fabric are the type of fibers being used, how the fibers were interconnect during the manufacturing process and the overall fabric weight.

Let’s look at fibers and the manufacturing processes first.

1.1 Fibers

Fibers fall under one of two main types: natural or synthetic. These have different properties that can be divided into pros & cons, which we have listed in the following table.

Natural Fibers

Synthetic Fibers

Composition

Come primarily from plants or animals. Created in a laboratory. Usually a petroleum product.

Pros

  • Easy to dye.
  • Absorbant.
  • Breathable.
  • Strong.
  • Wrinkle-resistant.
  • Versatile.

Cons

  • Plant fibers wrinkle easily.
  • Animal fibers are expensive.
  • Not very breathable.
  • Difficult to dye.

Fabrics can also be made from minerals, but since these are not common in clothing or costuming, we’ll leave that to you to research on your own if you choose to do so.

The most common fiber types are listed below:

Fiber Category

Fiber Types (& their sources)

Animal

  • Wool (sheep’s hair)
  • Silk (silk worm’s unwound cocoon)
  • Cashmere (Indian cashmere goat)
  • Angora (Angora rabbit)

Plant

  • Cotton (cotton plant)
  • Linen (flax, a.k.a., linseed)
  • Rayon (wood pulp)
  • Acetate (wood pulp)
  • Hemp (hemp fibers)

Synthetic

  • Nylon (petroleum)
  • Acrylic (petroleum & natural gas)
  • Polyester (petroleum & coal)
  • Spandex (petroleum)
  • Kevlar (aramids)
  • Nomex (aramids)

1.2 Manufacturing Processes

Of the various ways fabrics can be manufactured, the two most common are woven fabrics and knitted fabrics, which are compared in the following table:

Woven Fabrics

Knitted Fabrics

Construction

Constructed by interlacing a set of longer threads (called the warp) with a set of crossing fibers (called the weft) on a frame known as a loom.

Constructed by repeatedly interlacing loops made from a single, long fiber together in multiple rows.

Qualities

  • Minimal stretch.
  • Strong
  • Won’t snag.
  • Easier for beginners to sew.
  • Available in both 2-way & 4-way stretch.
  • Not as strong.
  • Susceptible to snagging.
  • More difficult for beginners to sew.

2. Fabric Weight

The type of fibers, the manufacturing process & how closely packed the fibers are determine a fabric’s weight. Fabric weight is measured as ounces per square yard (oz/yd²) or grams per square meter (GSM). The lighter a fabric is, the more flowing it will be, but it will also the typically be less durable. The heavier a fabric is, the more stiff and durable it will be. Also, the heavier the fabric is, the thicker it may also be depending upon the type of fiber used.

GSM

Fabrics

Lightweight

1 – 150 GSM

0 – 4.4 oz/yd²

  • Organza
  • Chiffon
  • Voile
  • Taffeta
  • Single Jersey
  • Spandex

Medium Weight

150 – 350 GSM

4.4 – 10 oz/yd²

  • Velvet
  • Cambric
  • Sateen
  • Chambray
  • Interlock Jersey

Heavyweight

350+ GSM

10+ oz/yd²

  • Canvas
  • Denim
  • Hessian / Burlap
  • Poplin / Broadcloth

3. Putting It All Together

Having listed the basics about fiber types, manufacturing processes & weights, here’s a more detailed list about each fabric listed above.

3.1 Lightweight Fabrics

Fabric

Fiber Type(s) & Manufacturing Process

Typical Uses

Organza

Woven silk, nylon or polyester
  • Bridal wear
  • Evening wear

Chiffon

Woven silk, nylon or polyester

  • Evening wear
  • Lingerie
  • Blouses
  • Scarves

Voile

Woven cotton, cotton/linen blend or cotton/polyester blend

  • Window treatments
  • Mosquito nets

Taffeta

Woven silk or rayon

  • Ball gowns
  • Wedding dresses
  • Curtains
  • Wall coverings

Single Jersey

Knitted wool, cotton, synthetic fabrics or cotton/synthetic blend

  • T-shirts

Spandex

Knitted spandex or spandex/cotton, spandex/polyester, or other spandex blend

  • Compression clothing
  • Super-hero costumes
  • Tights
  • Zentai
  • Wrestling singlets
  • Active wear
  • Underwear

3.2 Medium Weight Fabrics

Fabric

Fiber Type(s) & Manufacturing Process

Typical Uses

Velvet

Woven tufted rayon/silk blend, silk (rare), cotton (less luxurious), polyester, nylon, acetate or other fibers & blends.
  • Ecclesiastical vestments
  • Royal & state robes
  • Wall hangings

Cambric

Woven linen or cotton

  • Linens
  • Shirts
  • Handkerchiefs
  • Ruffs
  • Lace
  • Needlework

Sateen

Woven cotton, cotton/linen blend or cotton/polyester blend

  • Window treatments
  • Mosquito nets

Chambray

Woven cotton, similar to denim but lighter & with the white weft visible making it lighter in color.

  • Dresses
  • Pants
  • Shirts
  • Sneakers

Interlock Jersey

Knitted wool, cotton, synthetic fabrics or cotton/synthetic blend; similar to single jersey but both sides are identical and it’s thicker

  • Higher end t-shirts
  • Tank tops
  • Camisoles
  • Bridal wear
  • Receiving blankets
  • Dresses
  • Baby’s layette items

3.3 Heavyweight Fabrics

 

Fabric

Fiber Type(s) & Manufacturing Process

Typical Uses

Canvas

Woven cotton, linen or hemp.
  • Handbags
  • Backpacks
  • Electronic device cases
  • Shoes
  • Artist medium

Denim

Woven cotton

  • Blue jeans
  • Shirts
  • Jackets
  • Work clothes
  • Shoes
  • Upholstry
  • Lampshades
  • More

Hessian / Burlap

Woven jute or sisal fibers blended with other vegetable fibers

  • Rope
  • Bags
  • Gunny sacks
  • Rugs
  • Ghillie suits
  • Sand bags

Poplin / Broadcloath

Woven wool, cotton, silk, polyester or a blend of these

  • Dresses
  • Shirts
  • Upholstery

4. Selecting the Right Fabric(s) for a Costume

The first thing you’ll want to ask yourself is where you plan to wear the costume. If you’re only planning to wear the costume on a cool Halloween evening, then going with heavier / less breathable fabrics might be your better option for staying warm.

If you’re planning to wear the costume primarily at comic or anime conventions, then you’ll want to stick to the most breathable fabrics so that you stay cool and comfortable. After that, it also depends on what type of garment(s) you need to make:

  • Pants: linen or denim
  • Shirts & blouses: cotton voile; rayon challis; double gauze; knit; silk; chambray; cotton lawn or linen
  • Skirts: cotton lawn; rayon challis; denim; knit or linen
  • Dresses: cotton voile; cotton lawn; rayon challis; double gauze; knit; silk; satin or linen
  • Superhero costumes: spandex

If you need to dye a fabric, then you definitely want to use a fabric that is made primarily from natural fibers. Do you need to give the fabric a weathered or tattered look, then you’ll probably want to stick to cotton-based fabrics. Other considerations, such as the sewing pattern you’re using for the garment, can also impact the type of fabric to be used, including any color pattern that the fabric has.

References:

Ever-Changing Rules & Policies for Costumes & Props at Anime & Comic Conventions

As attendee #safety is a very important shared responsibility of comic & anime conventions, conventions establish rules & policies for allowed #costumes & #props. These rules & policies in part reflect local, state & federal laws, as well as any rules & policies of the venue where the convention is taking place. Additional rules & policies may also be instituted by convention organizers.

Invariably, not everyone likes the rules & policies that are established, especially when they change and become more restrictive. What many #cosplayers & #costumers fail to appreciate is that the rules and policies are for everyone’s safety, both physically and emotionally.

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Common Rules & Policies

The most common rules & policies that restrict what a costumer, cosplayer (or any attendee) can wear or have in their possession at an anime or comic convention are as follows:

  • No nudity.
  • No actual firearms, explosive devices, chemicals or devices that can release chemicals or other projectiles.
  • No sharp-bladed metal weapons, such as knives, swords, ninja stars, etc.
  • No sharp points on costumes that can potentially injure others.
  • No dangerous blunt weapons, such as wood or metal baseball bats, or other similar blunt force weapons that aren’t constructed from foam, cardboard or other light-weight materials.

Recent Incidents Involving Safety

Where incidents have occurred, some conventions may institute more restrictive rules and policies that include many more banned items, such as in the aftermath of the man arrested earlier this year at Phoenix Comicon, who was heavily armed with real weapons and extra ammunitions. The more restrictive bans at Phoenix Comicon include the following:

  • Prohibited Items
    The following props and accessories are not permitted at Phoenix Comicon

    • Firearms of any kind regardless of whether it has been emptied, disabled, or otherwise incapacitated, including but not limited to real and replica
      • BB guns
      • cap guns
      • paintball guns
      • nerf guns
      • blowguns
      • water guns
      • pellet guns
      • airsoft guns
      • Toy guns
      • Blasters
      • Any other real or replica weapon that resembles a firearm
    • Tasers
    • Glass Props
    • Stone Props
    • Chainsaws or other gas-powered props
    • Bladed metal or wooden weapons, including but not limited to
      • Axes
      • Daggers
      • Hatchets
      • Knives
      • Swords
      • pocket blades
      • ninja stars
      • metal or wooden shields
      • strung bows
      • bladed or sharp arrows
      • Flails
      • Power and garden tools
      • Claws
    • Real, replica, or simulated explosives, ammunition, and chemical weapons of any kind, including but not limited to
      • Bullets
      • Hand grenades
      • Claymore Mines
      • firecrackers
      • pepper spray
      • Mace
      • Powder caps
      • Cartoon bombs
      • Simulated bomb vests
    • Metal, spiked, wooden and other miscellaneous props including but not limited to
      • Metal Armor
      • Barbed wire
      • Metal spikes
      • Nunchucks
      • Metal, wooden, aluminum, or heavy plastic bats
      • Slingshots
      • Brass knuckles
      • Golf Clubs
      • Hockey Sticks
    • Excessively noisy props including but not limited to
      • Airhorns
      • Bullhorns
      • Whistles

One surprising item that appeared on the ban list was “metal armor” as many costumers & cosplayers wear metal armor, including Star Wars & medieval costumers & cosplayers.

Other Controversial Rule & Policy Changes

New York Comic Con

New York Comic Con also created a stir beginning in 2014 when it made its costume & prop policies more restrictive, forcing many costumers & cosplayers to either give up their props at the entrances or abandoning them in the streets leading to the convention. Things became more heated in 2016 at NYCC when they again changed their props & weapons to policy so that only foam & cardboard props & weapons would be permitted:

Prop weapons and prop firearms will be allowed providing they are composed of foam or cardboard only.

In 2017, the prop & weapons policies at NYCC changed somewhat again, reflecting the cosplay rules & policies established by the venue: Madison Square Garden, but the restriction on prop weapons being composed of only foam or cardboard remained in place:

  • All final decisions on costumes entering the facility shall be at the sole discretion of Madison Square Garden security.
  • Your costume must not be wider than 4 feet across, longer than 6 feet, or taller than 8 feet.
  • You MUST be able to easily maneuver your costume over stairs or ramps unassisted. You must be able to sit in your seat while wearing your costume, or plan to take it off once entering the stadium (limited storage space available).
  • You must have unobstructed vision at all times (i.e., must not need to remove a piece of your costume in order to see).
  • Armor cannot pose a threat to others by way of sharpened metal edges, spikes or bladed surfaces.
  • Prop weapons and prop firearms will be allowed providing they are composed of foam or cardboard only. The barrel of all prop firearms must be covered with brightly-colored caps. No bladed weapons, no metal, no wood, no fiberglass, no PVC, no glass, no firearms of any kind including air guns or cap guns.
  • Any bow-type weapons must be unstrung or strung with a low-tensile thread. All prop arrows must have soft, non-metal, blunted tips made out of foam or cardboard only.
  • You may not include liquids, gels, or other substances which could cause a mess. This is at the discretion of Madison Square Garden staff.
  • You may not use smoke effects, fire, explosives, or any other environmental hazard in any capacity.
  • You may display your prop weapons only as costume pieces. Do not swing or brandish your prop in any way that could be considered unsafe or threatening.
  • You may pose with a prop in a brandishing manner, so long as no reasonable person would interpret for anything other than dramatic effect. NYCC and Madison Square Garden staff may stop you at their sole discretion.

Rose City Comic Con (Portland, OR)

In 2017, Rose City Comic Con has instituted additional costuming rule that are causing a stir on social media for some costumers & cosplayers because it doesn’t involve props: it has to do with symbols:

  • Hateful symbols aren’t welcome at Rose City Comic Con. Historical costumes can be great, but reminders of unspeakable atrocities are not appropriate – this goes for Old School Hydra and Red Skull or any other Nazis from entertainment properties. Those figures, while comic-related, are still very much Nazis. As a result, they are 100% banned, always. This includes any sort of “ironic” or satirical costumes that re-appropriate Nazi paraphernalia or gear. You won’t just be banned from that year’s convention. You will be banned from coming to RCCC for life.

This is the first outright ban on Nazi symbology and costumes by a convention to our knowledge. While some are deeply offended by this new rule, which they view as apparent denial of free speech, current sociopolitical events in the United States were likely the reason for the adoption of this rule. In some countries (such as Germany and Austria), the display of any Nazi symbols is illegal.

Like it or not, costumers and cosplayers need to be familiar with a convention’s rules & policies for costumes & props before they attend. Regardless of how any one costumer or cosplayer feels about a particular convention’s rules & policies, always bear in mind that no one is obligated to attend a comic or anime convention. If you are so offended by a convention’s rules and policies, our only advice is simply to not attend. If you do choose to attend, then your costume and any props will have to comply with the convention’s rules & policies if you want to be permitted inside.

References:

DragonCon: 2 Women Injured by Chairs Thrown from the 10th Floor at the Marriott Atlanta Marquis Hotel; Police Are Investigating

Atlanta police are investigating the incident at #DragonCon where 2 women were injured when chairs were thrown from the 10th floor of the Marriott Atlanta Marquis Hotel onto people below. Both women were hospitalized and released, but it was a very frightening experience for both.

One of the victims, Kelly McDaniel, was walking in a first floor area of the hotel when one of the chairs hit her on the head. She then felt blood pouring down her face. She believes that her #costume hat (she was dressed as Loki from the #Avengers) reduced the severity of the injury.

The Director of Media Relations for DragonCon released the following statement:

“Two women at Dragon Con were injured at the convention early Sunday morning when two chairs were dropped from an outside balcony on the 10th floor in the Marriott to a landing below. The women were treated and released at separate hospitals.

We are grateful that the injuries were not more severe.  And we are proud of the Dragon Con attendees who stepped up quickly, realized the severity of the situation and provided immediate assistance.

Atlanta Police Department is investigating.”

The hotel management also said that they would be taking steps to ensure that this doesn’t happen again in the future.

We again urge anyone with knowledge of who threw the chairs from the 10th floor of the Marriott Hotel at DragonCon to contact the Atlanta Police Department.

Kelly McDaniel

References:

Hotel Guests Allegedly Injured at DragonCon Due to Chairs Thrown from 10th Floor

Utterly #unacceptable behavior: #cosplayers & #DragonCon convention attendees reported injuries after someone allegedly threw chairs from the 10th floor of the Marriott Hotel onto a crowded landing. Folks, conventions can end when hotels refuse to permit them on their premises when there is vandalism and/or other inappropriate behavior. DragonCon, which is regarded as the ultimate #cosplay convention, should be a place for cosplayers to meet and have fun without having to worry about dangerous items being thrown onto them from above.

If the reports are true, we strongly urge anyone with information as to who threw the chairs onto the crowded landing to immediately contact the Atlanta police. The individual(s) responsible must be held accountable for needlessly endangering and injuring others.

Report on Reddit

References:

 

 

Spider-Man Cosplayer Cheers Up Kids in Houston Shelter after Harvey Floods

A #SpiderMan #cosplayer was cheering up kids at a #Houston shelter after the Hurricane #Harvey floods! We highly commend this very charitable cosplayer who understands the positive power of selfless #cosplay #volunteerism


This is what cosplay is all about!

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