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 Giving Kamas a Sense of Weight

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Bare Col'Mera


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Giving Kamas a Sense of Weight
« on: Feb 10, 2011, 11:51 AM »
Howdy all,

I've been looking through galleries and threads collecting inspiration for my kit, and I've noticed a lot of people integrate a kama into their costume.  However, many of the examples I've seen just look like bedsheets that were cut and sewn onto a belt; they don't really look as though they would serve their purpose of protecting the wearer from enemy fire, thruster burn, or the environment.  Does anyone have any ideas or suggestions on how to give a kama a sense of substance and weight?

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Hondo Karr


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Re: Giving Kamas a Sense of Weight
« Reply #1 on: Feb 10, 2011, 11:57 AM »
Personally for me, I would avoid fabrics such as duckcloth and I would also avoid vinyl for kama's. Duckcloth requires multilayering or added weight otherwise it's too flimsy. Vinyl is just too stiff and you have the funky underside to deal with. Tanned suede's and leathers are great but expensive. My curretn kama is a faux leather. It's an interesting material, if I can figure out a name/brand I will surely let you know. It comes in a variety of colors, I have the brown but it also comes in black, tan, red and another shade of brown. Ive seen the same material in the mammal leather print which is what I have or a generic reptile print as well. The fabric itself almost has a suede feel to the touch, the inside is much like a vinyl, with the black coating if you will. it's not nearly as stiff as vinyl, it flows much nicer and it's not as light as a duckcloth or other light fabrics. I have it layered front and back so the print is on both side. I think my kama took 2 yards and produced some scrap. The stuff was about 6.00 a yard I believe. i got it at walmart.

« Last Edit: Feb 10, 2011, 01:59 PM by A'den Skirata » Logged

Pointoforigin


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Re: Giving Kamas a Sense of Weight
« Reply #2 on: Feb 10, 2011, 12:00 PM »
I'm no longer planning a kama for my kit, but what I had figured was three things, using lighter weight fabric.

One, double layer the fabric and make the seams be folded over, and then over again. The edges are what will give the illusion of weight.

Two, do what people do with vests - put a thin layer of foam in it.

Three, line the bottom edge with small weights. Quite literally, this instantly adds weight to it. Depending on how you place them though, you might not get good results.

For my loincloth I'm going to go with number one.

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Bare Col'Mera


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Re: Giving Kamas a Sense of Weight
« Reply #3 on: Feb 10, 2011, 12:08 PM »
Thanks for all of the tips.  I'll certainly look into these things.  To be honest I didn't know if faux leather would look good, or if it was too obviously fake.  I guess it all depends on the execution though. With duck cloth, I like the look of it, but I'm already using it on parts of my build, and I would like to avoid a single aesthetic covering my entire costume.

To A'den:  What was so time-consuming about building your kama? 

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Pointoforigin


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Re: Giving Kamas a Sense of Weight
« Reply #4 on: Feb 10, 2011, 12:17 PM »
I think he meant to write "yards" instead of "years" lol.

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Mafio

Re: Giving Kamas a Sense of Weight
« Reply #5 on: Feb 10, 2011, 12:36 PM »
Well,  a Thick cloth ist not anything.  I had once the idea  to fill my Kama with a thin Foam  or  a Interfacing (like in the Collar of Business-shirts).  But i rejected that idea  because  those materials  would make it  to stiff.  And the whole fall of the Kama would would look more like some kind of  rear spoiler.

I btw. use  a Kama made out  of  2 sheets  of artificial buckskin.  it feels a bit thicker  due the 2 sheet thing and feels a bit heavier so the fall of the Cloth is  good i guess.  Its also a little bit static and  snuggs sometimes to my legs  ;D

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BedlamX


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Re: Giving Kamas a Sense of Weight
« Reply #6 on: Feb 10, 2011, 12:54 PM »
My kama and my vest are made the exact same way. I searched around and found a nice, soft vinyl that was the color I wanted, then lined it with some stuff I had laying around that I used to use for Resident Evil flak vests (called storm cloth and was originally used to make expensive car covers with).

Mine "flows", but not so much that it looks flimsy. There is really no need to add foam or interfacing to a kama unless you use some seriously flimsy material.

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Kel Toi


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Re: Giving Kamas a Sense of Weight
« Reply #7 on: Feb 10, 2011, 12:57 PM »
Im butchering a leather jacket that i got from the Cancer care shop for a fiver , i will post up a wip as soon as i start it .

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Hondo Karr


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Re: Giving Kamas a Sense of Weight
« Reply #8 on: Feb 10, 2011, 02:00 PM »
To A'den:  What was so time-consuming about building your kama?  

Your question baffled me! Then I went and reread my post and saw a significant gramatical error... 2 yards, not 2 years yoinks!

Yeah, a foam or even heavy batting filling will be the opposite problem of the thin material. Instead of having something that flows like a bedsheet on a line to dry, you end up with something so stiff and rigid it looks just as convincing. The trick is to use a material that won't float away or be so stiff it won't move of actually bends instead of drapes if you kneel etc. Something that clearly looks dense, will flow as you move and drapes properly when it collapses down. That's why I love the material I use.

« Last Edit: Feb 10, 2011, 02:05 PM by A'den Skirata » Logged

Chro


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Re: Giving Kamas a Sense of Weight
« Reply #9 on: Feb 10, 2011, 02:06 PM »
I used a semi-suede for the outside, and some quilted cloth for the inside. Gives it some beef and actually is more comfortable than usual to sit on.

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Bare Col'Mera


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Re: Giving Kamas a Sense of Weight
« Reply #10 on: Feb 10, 2011, 02:11 PM »
To A'den:  Ah... It makes sense now.  

Is the faux leather as hard to sew as the real thing?  I remember reading about how you needed special thread and needles to work with the genuine stuff.  Also, what about adding weights to the seam, as Point suggested?  Is that necessary or advised with the faux leather?

To Chro:  Interesting.  Does the quilted inside make it too stiff?

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Hondo Karr


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Re: Giving Kamas a Sense of Weight
« Reply #11 on: Feb 10, 2011, 02:13 PM »
No special needles were needed for mine. Leather itself does typically need heavier gauge needles though.

As for weighting the ends. Ive can't recall seeing it in person anywhere or knowningly seeing it in pix. My only concern again would be the weighted ends could effect the natural flow that it should have.

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Kora


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Re: Giving Kamas a Sense of Weight
« Reply #12 on: Feb 10, 2011, 02:57 PM »
While I haven't used anything to weight down my kamas (other than the trim maybe adding some weight but not much), I have used pennies to weigh down the fabric on my old Slave Leia skirt. Just put at the corners they made a lot of difference and helped it flow better, but I would think it would be a pretty light weight fabric to actually need weights (and I would only be using that kind of flimsy fabric for a decorative kama, not effective protection kama). Faux leather fabric flows and hangs pretty decently on its own.

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Re: Giving Kamas a Sense of Weight
« Reply #13 on: Feb 10, 2011, 03:18 PM »
I use a 14 or 16 needle in my machine when I do vinyl. It may be a bit overkill, but it has always worked, so I ain't changing. The only thing tough about sewing vinyl on a machine is that the foot doesn't slide as easily as it does over regular cloth materials. There are many ways to get it to slide better (personally, I use baby powder cuz it's easy to wash off...but I've seen tissue paper, graphite, and some kind of oil used, too). The strain of sewing through the heavier vinyls can wear on some of the wimpier machines, though. I went though a couple before getting my ancient heavy-duty one.

Leather should really use a leather needle. It has a tiny blade on the point to slice through the leather instead of just punching through like a standard needle. They aren't much more expensive and always good to have on hand. You may also need to lubricate your needle to sew real leather. I know I have had to do it a couple times on the thicker stuff.

Weights shouldn't really come into play unless you use some really light weight materials for the kama. My wife's is made from some black, snake skin-like stuff that was incredibly thin. I backed it with some more thin material and it hangs with no problem at all. Any vinyls will weight themselves down with no problem, too.

It really all depends on what you want. My kama is a bit stiff, but still bends and flows some. But I wanted a heavier, more armor-esque kama for my kit. My wife's is a very free-flowing version. But she wanted a more aristocratic kit (we call hers a "contract negotiator"  ;)). My son's is pretty much in between the two (a very light weight vinyl with a cloth backing). I've even seen them done with Roman-like strips and Samurai-esque plates. Both looked cool to me. Just go with what you personally like.

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Re: Giving Kamas a Sense of Weight
« Reply #14 on: Feb 10, 2011, 03:48 PM »
Leather doesn't actually need special needles either.  When I sew heavy leather, I pre-punch the holes with a finishing nail and then use a normal needle.  Light leather I machine sew with a heavy duty sharp (Bad experiences with a wedge point)  I LOVE that baby powder trick.

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