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I am working on a costume for an upcoming convention and the character that I am recreating has bandages that wrap all the way from his hands up to his shoulder (see image below):

enter image description here

I would prefer not to just wrap bandages all the way up my arm every time I wanted to use the costume and so was wondering if anyone had any experience or advice on sewing bandages, as I've found that they don't sew or hold together very well.

In essence I'm just looking to know what the best way of creating a reusable bandage sleeve would be.

  • What sort of problems are you encountering when sewing the bandages? I haven't done something like that before, is it something like they're too stretchy or they pull apart? – user812786 Aug 14 '17 at 12:00
  • When trying to machine stitch them they tend to fall apart after a while. It's also very hard to stitch them to begin with as they're so thin and stretchy that they either get caught easily or don't keep the shape I'm looking for because they're stretched out too much – Ethan Field Aug 14 '17 at 12:03
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A couple options appear for your objective. Substitute sewing with fabric glue and apply sparsely. Most bandages of the sort you have pictured are elastic and would not take well to sewing, as you've noted. By the same token, they would also not take well to heavy adhesive application.

One would apply dots of adhesive spaced along the edges where overlapped, allowing the stretchy part to stretch, while keeping the glued portions small and spaced closely enough to avoid gaps but not so close as to eat up the stretch required for a good fit.

One would desire to keep the stretch forces to a minimum while applying the bandages on a suitable model arm and secure the bandages as needed with tape or similar products while the glue cures.

Testing would be desirable to determine how much stretch the glue can handle before failing, then adjust spacing accordingly.

Another option would be to use a carrier sleeve and glove, perhaps slightly oversized if such a factor is not a problem. The sleeve would reduce or prevent the stretching while either stitching or adhesive would secure the bandages in the desired locations. A suitable model would accelerate the process, as noted above. I don't believe it would be a simple matter to machine stitch on a sleeve and hand-stitching would require patience and determination.

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For a reusable costume some kind of support underneath the 'bandages' would be a prerequisite. It could be a neutral color that matches, or something sheer if you want to show skin under wrappings. That would overcome the fragility of the bandage material.

For mummy like wrappings cheese cloth might work better than ace bandages, but any kind of cotton gauze should work. Since the gauze is a very loose weave, tacking the material using hand stitching should be fairly quick and forgiving... or perhaps a widely spaced machine stitch.

Edit: just had a thought. You could paint muscles or bones or something onto the support before sewing on the bandages to add a level of gore/spookiness to the sleeve as well.

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