The creation of the shoulder strap

Jehudah Design - Lara Croft - Tomb Raider - The Creation Of The Shoulder Strap - 001
The shoulder strap was originally acquired with the quiver and makeshift longbow, but seeing as it is also used to hold other weapons, or
sometimes nothing at all, I decided to make it as a standalone piece with its own tutorial before even starting to make the quiver for it.

Instead of searching the whole world for a perfectly colored strap, I
decided to buy an old canvas bag to turn into the shoulder strap by
dying the fabric to the right color.

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The largest piece of fabric that ran across the sides and bottom of the
bag had just the perfect amount of material to make two straps that
would later be sewn together.

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The straps were sewn together on the inside to make them 1 inch
wide, and a piece of tape was conveniently used as a guide to make
the width uniform along the whole length.

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After folding the straps outside-out again, the edges were sewn
together on the outside to keep the edges flat.

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Finding the right color for the shoulder strap was really confusing,
since sometimes it looks gray, sometimes beige, and other times just
brown, so I made it at least a bit darker with some improvised alcohol
dye from permanent markers.

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Instead of searching the Internet for 20 years to find the perfect
cinch-buckle, I thought it would be better to just make one myself as
close to the original as possible by cutting the parts from a thick metal
wrench.

After measuring the original cinch-buckle, templates of their shapes
were made from packaging tape.

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A large cutting disc on a rotary tool was used to roughly cut the male
and female ends of the cinch-bucle from the thick metal.

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Various other cutting and grinding bits were used to give the male
part of the cinch-buckle the right phallic shape.

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With the male end of the cinch-buckle in the right shape, the hole of
the female end was further shaped to fit perfectly around its
counterpart like any happy couple.

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The male end was clamped into a vise to beat the pin to an angle so
the cinch-buckle would lay flat when connected.

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With all the metaphorically shaped parts done, I could start cutting
open the strap slits and round off the corners.

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One small eye injury later, and the male and female ends of the
cinch-buckle were romantically cinched together.

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The slide-rings were fairly easy to make by simply shortening the
metal wire of 2 larger slide-rings.

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After pulling the straps through the cinch-buckle and slide-rings,
I placed the ends of the straps in the same position as seen on the
original and permanently sewn them in place.

The slide-rings were also sewn to the back of the shoulder strap using
a thin fishing line.

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With the front of the shoulder strap completed, I could find the
appropriate total length by draping it over the shoulder of my
Womannequin project that was based on Lara Croft's body.

A D-ring would be held in place where the upper strap folds back
under itself.

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After sewing the straps together above the D-ring, I added the
random leather straps that I have no idea what could possibly be good
for back there, but in the same pattern as seen on the original.

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To get the U.S.M.C letters as screen accurate as possible, I exported
the texture files from the video game and printed them out on thick
card-stock to use as a stencil for air-brushing.

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I also wanted the letters to be worn down the same way as seen on
the original, so a larger print of the texture was used as reference.

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When playing through Rise Of The Tomb Raider, I noticed that Lara
still wears this dirty old shoulder strap after all these years, only it
had become darker from all the crap she's been through, so instead of
making another darker shoulder strap, I decided to make this one look
somewhere in between the two versions to use it for both costumes.

An antiquing gel for leather was used to give the strap a slightly
darker brown hue.

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With the shoulder strap just a little bit darker, the all important
adventure-crap was added with a fine-point permanent marker in a
close enough pattern to the original textures.

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With all the simulated crap in place, the dirty old bag had become a
dirty old shoulder strap instead, ready to hold Lara's quiver or other
weapons in place on her adventures.

While making another darker shoulder strap for Lara Croft's second costume would not be too hard, I still have so many other things to build
that using the same shoulder strap for both costumes would be the best option for me, so simply making this one darker solved that.
- Jehudah Design





Thanks to

RGS for making the shoulder bag.
Non-Stop Dogwear for making the collar I used the D-ring from.


If you found this project tutorial helpful, please support my future projects on Patreon.

Project duration

2 weeks - between 19 February 2018 and 29 May 2020.

Costs spent

RGS shoulder bag - 30 NOK.
Non-Stop Dog Wear red collar - 124 NOK.
Flat wrench - 0 NOK - Already available.
Slide-rings - 0 NOK - Already available.

Total - 154 NOK / $16 USD.