Concerning Amazons

The Amazon Chainmail Bikini Top (I’ll just call it the Amazon from now on) arose from two sources (cough). The first is the fact that ever since I started making chainmail, people have kept asking me, “so, when are you going to make a chainmail bikini top?” And a good half of said people have been women!

The second source is my growing fascination with chainmail as cloth. Finely woven chainmail feels like cloth, looks like cloth and moves like cloth, so why not treat it as cloth? Why is the only common “seam” in chainmail the so-called 45 degree join? If chainmail is really cloth, then it should be possible to do curves, darts and all the other things that people who make “real” cloth take for granted.

And it should be possible to make a chainmail bikini top that fits as well as a normal one.

So after a great deal of trial and lots of errors, I can report that it is indeed possible. Indeed, it is possible to make a chainmail bikini top that fits as well as a custom tailored one!

Making an Amazon starts with measurements. The measurements do not have to be carried out by me personally, and they definitely do not require any nudity: in fact, the naked breast is not the form a bra or bikini top seeks to create, and one’s most comfortable bra (unpadded) is a much better starting place.

The measurements are quite detailed, and are covered in a separate document.  But to give an idea, there are four parts to the bra: the lower cup, the upper cup, the chest piece and the back. Evidently there are two of each of those parts, which may or may not be symmetrical. To give an example, the lower cup depends on three measurements: the distance around and below the breast (ADB in the diagram below), the distance across the breast (ACB) and the distance from the centre of the breast to the lower edge (CD).

(On a perfect sphere, the first two measurements are equal, and the third is exactly half of the others.)

The measurements do not have to be carried out by me; indeed I do not need to be present at all. They would be challenging for the client to do herself, but they can certainly be done by a friend. It will be beneficial if the person doing the measurements is experienced at making clothes, that is, if they understand why these measurements are needed.

Once I receive the measurements, my first step is to make a pattern for this Amazon, and then to make a prototype. This will not usually take more than a day or two. The prototype is disposable; its purpose is to give the client something to try on to ensure that the pattern is actually going to fit her body.

Once the prototype has been verified (and the pattern has been adjusted if necessary), then I set about weaving the final product. This will normally take two to three weeks.

The price of the Amazon is US$350. Since I am Canadian, I will accept the Canadian dollar at par with the US one. Other currencies convert as needed (at current writing, it would be about £210 or €265). Half is due in advance, and the remainder once the Amazon has been received.

The completed Amazon is smooth on the skin, and dense enough to wear without backing in public. It should fit as well (at least!) as any bra or bikini top you have. It will weigh 200 to 250 grams (approximately half a pound), and consist of four to five thousand rings. It is secured at the back with a thong much like a corset’s. The shoulder straps are fixed, not adjustable; their length is one of the original measurements.

The Amazon is available in a variety of colours: silver, red, pink, gold, bronze, champagne, green, seafoam (pale green), blue, pale blue, purple, lavender, black ice and, of course, black.  Trim can be added in one or two of the same colours at no extra charge. Other colour designs can be discussed, but the Amazon’s construction unfortunately precludes elements such as polkadots or stripes. The Amazon pictured is black with trim in green and seafoam.

The process of creating the Amazon has been a remarkable one for me: I have had to learn a great deal about clothing patterns, how to adapt them for chainmail and even spherical trigonometry (not my best subject!). I am very pleased indeed at how good the final product looks. But my greatest satisfaction was my first client telling me that her Amazon was the most comfortable bra she owned. I hope yours will be too.

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