Chainmail Vest and Byzantine Chain

Chainmail is one thing I never thought I would do. Enter Valkyrie, stage left.

Chainmail Vest

I decided that since Valkyries are often lightly armored, and I did not want to do plate or leather, chainmail was the way to go. So I turned to the trusty interwebs, ordered a sample kit of rings (there are square ones and rubber ones and all sorts!) and started thinking about the shape I wanted and how one would create this out of rings. I settled on a simple vest with no sleeves and a boat neckline.

I chose to do European 4in1, because it is a commonly used pattern throughout history, is relatively easy to learn and has a nice drape to it. I am using anodized aluminium rings because they are lighter than steel and I have no intention of going on a battlefield. The ring size is 16 gauge, 1/4 ” (wire gauge, inside diameter). I made a ‘tension square’ ( to use a knitting term), and calculated that it would take about 18, 290 rings. When the bag arrived, it weighed about 5 pounds.

To create my pattern I traced off a sewing pattern, minus  5/8 inch all round since chainmail does not have seam allowances. I was so proud of myself for remembering/realizing this! I then divided it up into rectangles and triangles. My thought was that I could make the rectangular parts first and fill in the triangles to make the neckline and armhole shaping. To my immense surprise, this is working quite well. I am now halfway through the back piece, and just filled in the corners. It is looking very much like the pattern. More to follow…

Byzantine Chain

Shortly after starting the above project, I was working on it at lunchtime at work, and a colleague got very excited. It turns out she teaches jewellery classes and chainmail is one of her projects. So off I went to her next class and learned how to do a byzantine chain. I made a bracelet and earrings.

Now I’m using the byzantine pattern to make a chain for an amazing dragon pendant which I found at the Irwindale Renaissance faire. I chose bronze, gold and orange coloured rings, with the odd red one thrown in for interest. These rings are also anodized aluminium and are 18 gauge, 5/32″. This necklace will eventually be accessorized with a steampunk dress and hat.

Sample packs of different colours, metals and sizes.
chainmail 2
My ‘tension square’.
Chainmail 1
5 lbs of aluminium rings.
The back laid on the pattern, before filling in the neckline and armholes
The back after filling in the neckline and armholes.
Just another lunch hour at work.
Mary's class january 2017
My first byzantine effort.
The dragon chain in progress.

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