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Costume Creations
The Belt and Holster

 I have seen Mara wearing four kinds of holsters for her blasters. They have been on her left forearm, on her right thigh, on the back of her belt, and she has also been shown to have a very large holster for a rifle which she wears hanging on her belt.






The two more common belts are undecorated brown leather with a floating strap which drapes down on the right side. The floating strap is attached to the main belt under the front buckle and at the center back. The buckle is always plain silver and rectangular. The buckle clasp is always hidden on the back side of the buckle.








For my first Mara costume, I made a thigh holster in the traditional "cowboy" style. I bought my supplies from Tandy Leather, using a two inch belt blank for the main piece of the belt, and a 1.5 inch strap for the floating strap. Because this belt was to be worn with a cape, I didn't bother to put the back arch of the floating strap on my belt. It would never be seen, afterall. The belt and buckle blanks were easy to work with, and the leather was easy to dye. I scuffed the leather pieces up a bit with sandpaper, especially at the edges, so they wouldn't look brand new.


The holster was made from a piece of 5 ounce scrap leather. I soaked the leather in cool water (NOT hot!) until it became flexible, and then I folded it over the blaster, which had been wrapped in saran wrap to protect it from the moisture. I let the leather dry overnight, and then I trimmed away the excess leather, dyed the leather, glued everything in place with contact cement, and then used a leather awl and waxed thread to sew the seam lines. This was the first time I had ever made a holster, and I found that it was a relatively easy and pain free process once I figured out what I was doing. Well, it was pain free until I stabbed the leather awl clear through my finger, anyway....





I chose to place a false buckle on the front of my belt so that I wouldn't have to worry about finding a way to attach the floating strap to a working buckle. I sanded the buckle with 600 and then 800 grit wet/dry sandpaper to give it a nice finish, and angled the edges with a cutting wheel and belt sander. Then, I took the back clasp section off the buckle, and glued everything together on the front with contact cement. The real buckle is on the back of the belt. I also made a leather pouch from the same leather as the holster, which I wear on the back of my belt. The pouch slides over the buckle to hide it, and gives me a great place to store things like my camera and keys.








When I made my second Mara costume, I decided to make the blaster that Mara wears in an assassin style holster on the back of her belt in many of the comics references and on her first action figure.






To make this holster meant that I had to start over from scratch. Once again I purchased a 2" belt blank, a 1.5" leather strap, a buckle blank, and a piece of tooling hide from Tandy Leather. I designed the belt differently this time, making the front buckle a real, functioning buckle. The floating strap is attached to the back of the main belt with contact cement and a hidden rivet for extra strength.



When you first get the leather strap for the floating belt, you will find that it does not lay flat against your hip the way it should. To make it lay correctly, you will have to shape the leather. To do this, first make the upper section of the belt. Soak the lower belt piece in cool water for a few minutes to make it soft and flexible. Then, stretch the lower edge and compress the upper edge of the strap, gradually shaping it to the curve you will need. Once you have it in the correct shape, you need to KEEP it in that shape until it dries. The best way to do this is to wear the belt for a few hours. I used large plastic clips (wrapped in scraps of cloth to protect the leather from getting marred) to hold the floating strap on my belt. Then, I just wore the belt and attached floating strap until the strap was dry enough to hold its shape. At that point I set it on the table with some folded towels to keep the curves supported, and I let it dry overnight. The next day, the belt was ready to dye and assemble. Always be sure to dye and clearcoat your leather BEFORE you put glue on it. Otherwise, any place where glue smeared or ran will not accept the dye, and you will end up with lighter splotches on your belt.





I had to use a different technique to make the holster this time. While some of the reference pictures have added seam and structural lines to the back holster, my favorite version is a simple leather box worn on the back of the belt. To recreate this look, I once again soaked a piece of leather in cool water until it was flexible. Instead of shaping the leather around the blaster, I shaped it by hand into a squared off tube, which I made sure was large enough to hold the blaster. (Remember, leather shrinks as it dries!)  I made a separate piece for the base, which is just a bottom cap with sides that will fit into the end of the holster. I let everything dry, and then realized that I couldn't sew the seams this time. There was no way I could get an awl or needle into those tight corners! So, I had to settle for assembling this holster with contact cement alone. There are a few hidden rivets on the back which hold the holster onto my belt, but other than that, it is fully dependent on the cement to stay in one piece. It seems to be holding up quite well, to my great relief! The safety strap is cemented to the back of the holster. The strap has a snap on the end, which connects to the other half of the snap, which I placed on a small square of lightweight leather. That leather was then cemented into the inside edge of the holster. It is fairly easy to open and close, though my gloves do occasionally make it more difficult.










From time to time Mara is shown wearing leather pouches on her belt. This reference image even shows her wearing what looks like a miniature version of a stormtrooper's detonator!