“She wore an apron – but it looked to be made of leather, and was burned in several places, a smith’s garment rather than kitchen wear.”
I started my costume research online. I found some nice smith’s aprons with the look I wanted, but they were all way more than I wanted to spend. (Probably reasonable if I was actually working in a forge.) I started checking thrift stores for something I could cannibalize for leather-like fabric. I found a nice leather jacket half-off at Goodwill.
I ripped the seams and reassembled it into an apron. The body of apron is the back of the jacket – I got a jacket large enough that I only had to shape it instead of piece it together. I only really had to shape the curved sides on the top. I hemmed all of the edges, but I was able to keep the original hem at the bottom.
The strips for the neck strap and waist ties were cut from the sleeves then stitched on. The waist straps included the sleeve seams, for stability. The neck strap is made of two strips, sewn together with two seams.
The burn marks were harder than I expected. I took a box of matches, some paper, and a bucket of water out to a corner of the parking lot with the apron. If I just lit a match and held it to the apron, or set it on the apron, it wouldn’t scorch the leather. The best solution I found was to set a match on the apron, then use a second match to light it. Sometimes, I would pile a few matches together, so it would burn longer. I had to be careful not to let it burn too long or else the leather would pucker more than scorch.