Chainmail bikinis and the like



It's not very organized, but here it is, with some (poor) illustrations. I don't have any pictures as of now, but I will be getting some in the next three weeks, and will add them to show the differences, at that time.


Explanation of expansion and contraction rows (4-in-1 mail)
(Including the syntax used in my patterns)

Expansion rows:
      An expansion row is a row in which there are more links than in the previous row, without letting them change the width of the overall pattern. This is accomplished by adding links that are connected to only a single link on the preceding row, well away from the edges of the pattern to minimize the spreading effect. The format used in my patterns to illustrate the placement of the expansion rings in an expansion row shows the number of normal rings, then a slash for the expansion ring, followed by the number of normal rings again. For example, an expansion row labeled (4/3/3/4) has a total of 17 rings, 4+3+3+4=14, plus three slashes (expansion rings) for a total of 17. From one edge, there would be four normally-linked rings, an expansion ring, three more normal rings, an expansion ring, three more normal rings, an expansion, and then finally four normally linked rings at the other edge.
      On the row immediately following the expansion row, it is a good idea to make it a normal row, or if expansion is required, to stagger the expansion rings so they do not line up with the expansion rings in the previous row. This helps to smooth out the expansion and keep the rows fairly straight.

Contraction rows:
      A contraction row is a row in which there are less links than in the previous row, without allowing them to change the width of the overall pattern. This is accomplished by adding links that are connected to three of the links in the preceding row, rather than two, and as with expansion rings, the contraction rings should be placed well away from the edges to minimize the distorting effect on the edges. The format used in my patterns to illustrate the placement of the contraction rings in a contraction row shows the number of normal rings, then a slash for the contraction ring, then the number of normal rings again. For example. a contraction ring labeled (3/1/1/3) has a total of 11 rings, 8 normally linked (3+1+1+3) and 3 contraction rings (one for each slash). Counting from one edge, there would be three normally linked rings, a contraction ring, one normal ring, a contraction ring, one normal ring, a contraction ring, and then three normal rings at the other edge.
      As in the expansion rings, again, it is a good idea to have at least one normal row following a contraction row, or at the very least, staggered contraction rings in the two rows.


Basic information

      To attach the cups in the center, you can either continue the weave and connect both sides, or attach each side to a single larger ring. Both methods work, personally I prefer the solid chainmail look, but one woman I had modeling for me liked the solid ring. For the straps, I've been using 1/2" nylon ribbon, attached to solid rings (3/4") at the top of each cup, and on the lower outer corners (axial posterior, for those of you who are medically inclined). This seems to work for smaller cup sizes, but the woman who let me borrow her breasts to fit the C cups seemed to think it would chafe for them, because of the added weight (both steel and flesh).

      With all of these patterns, it is helpful to thread thin (1/4") ribbon through the bottom row of links. If you connected the cups with a large steel ring in the center, sew the ribbon to the center ring, then pull it tight and sew to the outer ring (where the strap attaches). If you used chainmail weave across the connection, just thread it through all the way across and sew it to the outer rings at each side after pulling it tight. This ribbon helps the bottom row to stay even, and keeps it curved toward the body.

      A final note: These are all using 14-gauge 1/4" ID links. It makes for a very tight (non-transparent) weave, and doesn't pinch, at least not that anyone has ever told me.



Different cup patterns: A or small B (symmetrical triangle),
     B (symmetrical triangle), B (asymmetrical triangle),
     C (asymmetrical triangle), C (asymmetrical triangle, pattern 2)

G-string pattern.


A or small B cup:

Make two triangles, with the maille hanging as illustrated:

The number of links in each row follows this pattern:

23-22-21-25 (expansion row: 4/3/3/3/3/4)-24-23-
25 (expansion row: 6/5/5/6)-24-23-22-21-
17 (contraction row: 4/3/3/4)-16-15-
11 (contraction row: 3/1/1/3)-10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1

734 links (367 per cup).

This makes a small cup, it will fit a B-cup, but exposes a lot of flesh.



B-cup

Follow the same pattern, but with the link numbers below, for a slightly larger cup. There is a little more curvature, but much more overall coverage.
28-27-26-31 (4/4/3/3/3/4/4)-30-29-33 (5/5/4/4/5/5)-32-31-35 (6/6/7/6/6)-
33-32-27 (6/4/3/4/6)-26-25-19 (4/2/1/1/2/4)-18-17-14 (4/4/4)-13-12-11-
10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1

604 links per cup.




B cup (asymmetrical)

Use a different basic link pattern, as follows:

NOTE: the numbers are for a FLAT piece of maille, not for the type of curve you'll need for a bra-cup. They are included for illustration only, to demonstrate the way the outer edge is built.


Basically, one side cuts in at the normal rate, the other side cuts in at half the rate. The sharper angle is the inside of the cup, creating more cleavage and less coverage toward the center, as with a normal bra.

The syntax used in expansion/contraction rows is the same as above, with the exception of the addition of the asterisk. The asterisk in the description indicates the inner (or sharper-angled) edge of the cup.

28-27-27-21 (contraction: 5/2/2/2/2/3*)-25(expansion: 6/4/3/2/2/3*)-
25-24-29 (expansion: 6/3/3/2/2/3/4*)-29-28-26 (contraction: 22/3*)-26-
24 (contraction: 6/17*)-19 (contraction: 2/4/3/3/3*)-19-18-
15 (contraction: 9/2/2*)-15-14-11 (contraction: 5/2/2*)-11-10-
8 (contraction: (5/2*)-7-6-6-4 (contraction: 2/1*)-3-3-2

509 links total, per cup.

This type of cup fits much better than the symmetrical triangles, and looks better as well, in my opinion.

With this and all further cups, I added a contraction row after the third row of links. This helps to make the bottom of the cup curve upward, preventing the extra material in the cup from pushing the bottom down to an arc.




C-cup (asymmetrical)

Another attempt at the same pattern style as above, where one edge is a sharper angle than the other, but larger (C-Cup):

30-29-30-23 (contraction: 3/3/2/1/2/3/3*)-29 (expansion: 3/3/3/3/2/2/3/3*)-
29-28-27-34 (expansion: 5/4/4/4/3/3/2/2*)-33-32-
39 (expansion: 6/5/5/4/4/3/3/2*)-38-37-37-36-30 (contraction: 4/5/3/4/5/4*)-
30-26 (contraction: 6/4/6/7*)-25-21 (contraction: 3/4/3/3/4*)-20-19-
16 (contraction: 3/3/3/4*)-15-14-12 (contraction: 3/4/3*)-11-10-
9 (contraction: 4/4*)-8-7-6 (contraction: 3/2*)-5-4-4-3


(This pattern worked, but didn't cover enough of the breast on the inner edge, so it was too easy for the woman to "fall out")

806 links total, per cup.

The same pattern, but with additional links on the inner edge toward the bottom, to hold the breast in better:

35-34-35-28 (contraction: 3/3/2/1/2/3/8*)-34 (expansion: 3/3/3/3/2/2/3/8*)-
34-32 (Contraction: 31/*)-31-37 (Exp/cont: 5/4/4/4/3/3/2/4C*)-36-34 (Contraction: 33/*)-
41 (expansion: 6/5/5/4/4/3/3/4*)-39 (Contraction: 38/*)-38-37 (Contraction: 36/*)-
[BACK ON TRACK WITH ABOVE, HERE]
36-30 (contraction: 4/5/3/4/5/4*)-
30-26 (contraction: 6/4/6/7*)-25-21 (contraction: 3/4/3/3/4*)-20-19-
16 (contraction: 3/3/3/4*)-15-14-12 (contraction: 3/4/3*)-11-10-
9 (contraction: 4/4*)-8-7-6 (contraction: 3/2*)-5-4-4-3

856 links total, per cup

The same pattern, but with the additional links spread more evenly in the bra.
This resulted in a cup with slightly smoother curves, less rigid overall, but it changes the coverage pattern slightly. I prefer this one overall, at least so far.

35-34-35-27 (Cont: 3/3/2/2/2/2/3/3*)-33 (Exp: 4/2/5/3/3/3/3/3*)-
33-40 (Exp: 3/3/3/3/3/4/4/4/5*)-39-39-45 (Exp: 5\4\4\4\5\4\6\6*)-44-
44-43-42-42
41-35 (Cont: 5/5/5/5/5/5*)-
35-31 (Cont: 7/7/7/7*)-30-26 (Cont: 4/5/4/4/5*)-25-24-
21 (Cont: 4/4/5/5*)-20-19-16 (Cont: 5/3/3/2*)-15-14-
11 (Cont: 2/2/2/2*)-10-9-8 (Cont: 4/3*)-7-6-6-5-4-4-3

1000 links total, per cup

G-String (Rather small, but they're sorta supposed to be)

25-24-25-24-23-22-21 (first chains)-20-19-18-17-16-15 (second chains)-
14-13-12-11-10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-4-3-4-3-4-3-4-3-4-3-4-3-4-3-4-3-4

As with most of the cups above, thread thin (1/4") ribbon through the top row of links and attach it to the rings at the corners, pulled a little tight. This helps to even the top row of links, so it looks better, and in this case, puckers it just a bit to fit the minor curvature of the mons veneris.

Steel rings (1/2" or 3/4") are attached at the top corners. At the end of the crotch piece, sew a small loop of nylon or polyester ribbon through the final four links. To this loop, attach a wide nylon or polyester ribbon. This is then lifted to the appropriate tightness and sewn to the waistband (fairly tight elastic, 1/2" or larger) in the rear center.

Hip chains are attached at the indicated places, on the outer edges of the triangle. They connect to steel rings (1/2" or 3/4") that are sewn to the waistband. Another pair of chains connects the rings across the back.
The chains are 3/8" length links in a flat chain, the kind you see on dog chokers and wallet chains (available at most hardware stores).

Hip chains have the following lengths:
Top side: 45 links (2 chains, one for the left, one for the right)
bottom side: 65 links (2 chains, same as above)
top back: 59 links
bottom back: 76 links