Sunday, 10 April 2016

The Nausicaa Project: Accessorizing Kai - Saddlebags

This week's post continues with accessory making for Kai - this week I'm writing about how I made the saddlebags. In all of my references (the manga, watercolour concept art and movie screenshots) Kai is pictured with two saddlebags which are attached on either side of his back behind the saddle. As usual there was variation to be seen - in the movie they're green and more rounded in shape, whereas the watercolour references and manga show a more rectangular type of bag. As with everything I've made so far, I've had to find a medium between all of the references which looks good in 3D. This picture, which I found in the manga, was my main reference for the side of the bags:

I began by drawing a scale image of the bag and working out the pattern pieces. It's quite a simple design - four sides with a base and a flap that folds over the top. The sides are curved to get that nice shape, as seen in the picture above. I then transferred the patterns to tracing paper and cut them out in the fabric. They're made from a sandy coloured suede material, which is cut up from a coat I found in a charity shop.

The side pieces were tacked together, ready for sewing. 

I sewed the sides together on a machine with a leather needle. The resulting bag was nice and strong. Here it is with the base also attached.

The next stage was making the lid, which was sew to the back piece of the bag, the edges folded under and glued to create a neat hem. In this picture I was checking I was happy with the size...scale looking good!

The bags needed to be joint in some way, but there's never any evidence of how they're supported in the artwork, so I had to imagine the look for myself. I did some research into western saddlebags, and designed a middle piece based on the images I found. 

Next it was time for the details: straps and toggles. The straps are made from a very tiny strap leather cut to shape, the toggles from small wooden beads I filed down. 

This view of the bags from above shows the curve in the centre piece, which fits nicely around the back of the saddle. I plan to add small leather straps which will hold the saddle bags securely to the saddle so they don't move around.

At this stage, the saddle bags were almost finished. I was yet to add decorative metal studs on the straps, which I am yet to photograph!

I'm very happy with this little pair of saddlebags. I feel that all of the accessories have really helped bring Kai to life. Next week I'll continue with Accessorizing Kai: my post will be about how I made his bridle. Thanks for reading!

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