War Doctor: Leather report

One of the better bandoleer shots

Time to focus on that bandoleer. It's an interesting design, and one around which there isn't a lot of agreement within the costuming community. The base appears to be a more traditional leather bandoleer with a strap and bullet pockets. However, over that are a series of plates that are attached to the bullet pockets and cover them. 

So, I decided to stretch a bit and build this thing. I've been meaning to start work on my leather chops and this seems like the right kind of first project. Off to the internets!

Sizing the 2"  base strap

Using spacers to determine the spacing along the two leather straps (0.75" inches along the base and 1.5" for the pockets)

Cutting soft leather for 1.25" wide bullet pockets

Marking spacing along the 2" base strap. Similar marks were placed along the soft leather strap.

I started off with a 2 inch black strap of leather which I shaped and sized on my body form. I also cut a thinner, softer leather to the width of the bullet pockets (1 1/4 inch), and used some wooden spacers to set the space between the stitching lines on the leather strap (0.75 inch) and the lines on the soft leather bullet pockets (1.5 inch). I marked the spacing on the two strips of leather and then started stitching.

The awls, cord, and stitching needles. I alternated between the two awls to keep them sharp longer (and they came as a set).

The stitching needles are both pushed through new hole from opposite directions, forming the stitch.

Aligning the spacing lines on the straps and then akligning to the vice jaws in order to punch the stitching holes

First strip of soft leather pockets stitched along the base strap. Two more soft leather strips are used for all of the pockets.

I bought an awl and some leather sewing needles along with waxed, black cord.  I used a fork to set the hole positions along the stitch line of the soft leather. I didn't get a picture of that, but you can see the fork on the table in the background of the next photo. I lined up the stitch line on the soft leather to the stitch line on the leather backing strap, then placed the pieces in my vice so the stitch line is just above the jaws. A light clamping pressure holds the leather in position and gives me the support to punch the awl through both pieces of leather. Then the sewing needles go through the hole in opposite directions, setting the stitch. The last photo in the set shows the bandoleer after I finished stitching the first strip of soft leather.

Stitching the two ends of the bandoleer strap together

The base bandoleer is completed with 32 pockets along the front.

Two more strips of soft leather were cut for the rest of the bullet pockets on the bandoleer. A total of 32 pockets run along the front face of the strap. Then I sewed the joint between the two ends of the heavy strap finishing the base bandoleer.

This was my first piece of leather work, and I'm pleased with the results. Now I have to figure out the little plates that run along the outside of the bullet pockets on the face of the bandoleer.