The Blog

Costume Breakdown:

Fantasy Barbarian

Some products listed in this article contain affiliate links, others are one of a kind, handmade (OOAK), items, or made by other eternal non-affiliated artists and/or brands. Links are provided whenever possible to assist readers in building their own costumes regardless of whether or not the creator is an affiliate. 

It could be argued that this armor is ultimately what led to the creation of this site and my finding success as an independent artist. That is a broad claim, so lets elaborate. 

Elements used in this character began to manifest as early as 2015; Some pants I originally altered for metal shows, a chainmail shirt made for a Lagertha costume, Shoulder armor I originally paired with a chain bikini, and so on. These pieces were used in a myriad of different costumes before I ever thought to combine them; and once they were all put together, the original character that had been waiting all along was born. 

It was the earlier photos of this character which began to build the following needed to start this site. Since then, the character has been a reoccurring favorite on Instagram and Tiktok as well as in the exclusive content here such as my Original Armor Removal video, the cinematic After the Battle video, and the Barbarian Fog photo collection. 

This character has been in slow, continuous, development; and her costume has sparked more questions than any other garb I have had the honor to photograph. 
I owe much thanks to, Dale Caldwell of Diggers Leather, the crafter who created the costumes most recognizable pieces of leatherwork. His creations truly made this character come to life.  

Element Breakdown

Base Layer

Basic brown long sleeve top

Thrifted

This was a random brown long-sleeve I found in a thrift shop. I default to using this one mostly because the higher sides and back of the neck help add some padding around the leather neckline of the chainmail top I layer over it. 

Altered Jeans 

by Lady LeananSidhe

Earlier versions of this costume used a pair of black pants with laces up the side from Hot Topic. After years of heavy use in costumes and “Metalhead concert attire” those eventually died and I remade my won version of that design by altering a nicer quality pair of jeans.  
To do this, I cut up the sides of the jeans, sewing in a hem along the edges, and then used a Grommet Press to add a lace opening every 2 inches. I then died them black and added some leather padding/detailing around the knees. 

Combat boots

by Dr. Marten

The Boots I use with this costume are an old pair of Dr. Marten’s Triumph 1914 boots. I got these boots over 10 years ago and I absolutely love them. I really wish more women’s boots would come in this style as I have not found anything similar. 

Costume gloves

by Forum Novelties

These gloves are crap. I will likely replace them when I eventually stumble upon a better option for underneath my bracers. 

Bandage wraps

by Lady LeananSidhe

The wraps I use over the gloves are ace bandages that had been soaked in black dye. 
These were actually made by my husband for use in an apocalypse costume, but they have since found uses in several other costumes. 

Armor Layer

OOAK Leather & Chainmail shirt

by Lady LeananSidhe

I made this chainmail and leather top for a different costume years prior to the culmination of this ensemble.  To make this, I cut a pattern for the leather sections out of cardboard  to ensure the correct sizing and then traced the shapes onto a sheet of Veg Tan Leather. I then added holes & grommets on the sides and shoulders for the adjustable closure and added smaller holes on all other sides for the decorative lacing and to attach the chainmail. The pieces were then Dyeied Brown and finished off with  Atom Wax Leather Balm

For the chainmail sections, I opted to buy a couple premade Chainmaile coifs And cut them up to fill the sections I needed. I then attached these sections to the leather by weaving Flat Leather Cording through the rings and the holes lining the leather pieces.

 These days you can order “sheets” of premade chainmail from sites like Epic Armoury, which would would have been a much easier rout if it had been available at the time. 

Originally, this top was done with shorter chainmail sleeves, however I eventually extended them so the chainmail would peak out below the leather pouldrons I wear over it. 

 

 

Leather Pauldrons

by Diggers Leather
Artisan best contacted via Facebook or email diggersleatherwork@gmail.com

These pauldrons along with the bracers were the first pieces of armor I had purchased from Dale Caldwell of Diggers Leather. I purchased thee impulsively while attending Renaissance Fair; and by impulsively, I mean I had been eyeing a single shoulder one the year previous but kept telling myself buying armor was impractical. Until I put these suckers on and decided, reason be dammed, I’m buying armor!
I used this set for years in “Bikini armor” looks before thinking top pair it with my chainmail’; and from there my Fantasy Barbarian custom character was truly born. 

Leather Bracers

by Diggers Leather
Artisan best contacted via Facebook or email diggersleatherwork@gmail.com

As mentioned above, these bracers were purchased as a set along with the Pauldrons. This set is sized perfectly to smaller feminine wrists and the slight, seemingly decorative, bend in the edge of the leather prevents any uncomfortable digging into the skin around my hands. 

They make an obvious complement to the shoulder armor, though I have also used them on their own several times with concert attire. 

Leather Tassets

by Diggers Leather
Artisan best contacted via Facebook or email diggersleatherwork@gmail.com

The tassets and greaves came maybe 4 or 5 years later than my original pieces of armor from Digger. 
The tassets in-particular were actually a custom request. Digger’s standard offering for the lower body was a “war skirt” style of scaled loincloth. While those look pretty sick, I did not think it fit with the character I was developing, so I inquired about making some custom hip armor that would fill out the silhouette of the figure instead. 

In the end, they came out super epic and he also offers them regularly now 🙂  

Leather Greaves

by Diggers Leather
Artisan best contacted via Facebook or email diggersleatherwork@gmail.com

Why are greaves extra awesome? Because you can wear whatever comfortable shoe you want and these instantly make it look like you have insane ass-kicking boots. That is one heck of a win. 

Occasional Additions & Accessories

Fantasy Mjolir pendant

by Arcana XIII Gothic Jewelry 

I came across this artist on Etsy ages ago and enjoy a good number of their creations. This piece in particular may also be one of the most creative takes on a Mjolnir that I have found thus far.

This pendant I tend to pair with a dragon headed leather collar I found in a thrift shop. 

Bronze Axe Necklace & Earring Set

by Grimfrost

This set from Grimfrost has made it into a couple of my costumes lately. The small bronze axe earrings and matching necklace makes for a simple and highly versatile  jewelry detail. 

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Axe

by RowanWitch

This axe, and its twin belonging to my husband, were handmade as a wedding gift by a dear friend. They are absolutely gorgeous and I love them dearly. 

These axes are usually on display in our home. They are only added to a costume when I am shooting on our land. 

Various Pelts 

Thrifted

I often include various pelts with ay armor shoots, generally either in the form of a cape or as set props. 

If you are looking to purchase pelts, I highly encourage looking for thrifted items or purchasing from a local hunter/trapper with sustainable practices rather than from any large fur manufacturing farm. 

Norse Style Brooches 

by Grimfrost

Norse style Tortoise brooches are a staple piece in many female Viking reenactment looks; often securing the straps of apron dresses and holding elaborate strings of glass beads across the chest.  
Blatantly, they are being used in an alternative way with this costume. Often holding pelts onto the straps of my armor. 

These can come in a wide variety of sizes and designs. Many re-sale shops will offer smaller, mass-produced, versions for quite cheap. These generally look fine, however, if you are actually looking for the larger & more historically accurate look; you should look to more reputable shops such as Grimfrost

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Darthhallow
Darthhallow

This would be sooooo perfect for the zombie apocalypse!!!!

Vahlemon
Vahlemon

Love the breakdown! Especially how you show the layers clearly! 😀

Lady LeananSidhe
Reply to  Vahlemon

Thanks!
Layer by layer seemed to be the most effective rout when the ensemble has so many pieces

moondoll230
moondoll230

The chain shirt is so sick!

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