How to make a pattern for an arm bracer- Part 5; In the costume closet

Now that I have got them to be comfortable enough to wear all day, you may be wondering if they work.  Yes they do. My forearms cleared up within a few weeks and they have now started regrowing hair. When you wear leather for months you start to realize it is not a man made material. You are wearing treated animal skin. Like skin (after wearing it for a while) it starts to conform to the complex contours of the body underneath. After a couple of weeks, they were no longer truncated cones but a true second skin to my arm. By extending the bracer to the tip of my elbow they both protect and provide a stable, nonslip surface for propping. Also the wear has started to affect the black finish. It has created a cool sunburst coloring ranging from the original black to a dark red/ orange.

When I first started wearing them consistently, it was in the late fall and I was wearing them under my sleeves. They made me feel a little like  an undercover kinky bondage Viking. Kind of like wearing your sexy underwear to work. I got the following “compliments” from coworkers: “nice Wonder Woman armbands,” “Are you starting a Judas Priest cover band?” and “your skinny, shiny black forearms remind me of a spider.” Therapists usually say “cool orthosis” which may be the least cool pair of words in the English language. Acquaintances I’m not close with say “I notice you are wearing those arm things now. Is your condition getting worse?” I respond with “yes, now I’m Hell bent for leather.”

A lot of people ask if I will start selling them like my joystick handles. The answer is probably no. They break in like a pair of boots- at the same rate your arms do. Black leather is hot and tying and retying laces is a pain. I think most customers wouldn’t want to deal with that. Of course fashion was never meant to be comfortable. For me it’s worth it. There is something empowering about wearing something unique you made. I think this has helped me put up with a lot more than if I bought them without designing them. They also may be more useful for me than most because I live in Baltimore, a particularly stabby city, and they make great knife protection (If your assailants are considerate enough to only stab forearms). Now, every morning I get to look at my black leather clad forearms and briefly feel like my favorite disabled super villain, Darth Vader. After a little more reflection, in regards to my earlier disavowal of cos-play, I may just be hiding in the costume closet.

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