Stabilizing the Edges of Scale Maille
When making scale maille pieces, the scales along the edges are often loose and wiggly and need some sort of treatment to keep them neat and even. In scale maille and chain maille, there are usually several ways to accomplish any desired result. Here are the techniques I use to keep my edges under control.
Scale Stabilization Techniques for Pieces with Diagonal Edges:
Diagonal pieces do not have side edges like straight pieces. There is a bottom edge shaped like a V and a top edge shaped like an inverted V. The bottom edge and the top edge each have a left and right side. The center scales on the top and bottom are shared by both the left and right sides.
Left/Right Bottom Edges
1. Add jump rings (pink) to each scale along the bottom edge as shown. Notice that 2 jump rings are added to the center bottom scale.
2. Add stabilizing jump rings (yellow) along the left and right sides of the bottom edge. Each stabilizing jump ring (yellow) passes through 3 jump rings (see blue dots). Follow the weaving paths shown.
3. To finish the bottom edge, weave one jump ring (green) through the 2 jump rings (pink) added to the bottom center scale in step 1.
Left/Right Top Edges
Work on the front side of your piece, and weave jump rings (red) through each pair of jump rings along the top edge of your piece as shown. This row adds a decorative touch and provides additional stabilization.
Scale Stabilization Techniques for Pieces with Straight Edges:
Connect the first and last scale of each long row (4 scales across in this example) to the first and last scale of each short row (3 scales across in this example) as shown:
1. Jump rings (pink) are added to the first and last scales of each long row. In this example, there is a short row at the bottom of the piece. Therefore, we will also add jump rings (green) to the first and last scales of that bottom short row.
2. Add stabilizing jump rings (yellow) to the left and right sides of your piece. Each stabilizing jump ring (yellow) passes through 2 others, the jump rings added in step 1 and the lower outer jump rings in the end scales of each short row below (see blue dots). Follow the weaving paths shown.
Extra Side Stabilization
Sometimes the technique above is not enough. If the edges are still too loose, you can add extra stabilizing jump rings as follows.
Add an extra stabilizing jump ring (blue) connecting the first and last scale of each long row to the previous stabilizing jump ring (yellow) directly behind it. Follow the weaving paths shown. This added step will make your piece a little shorter.
1. Add jump rings (orange) to the scales on the bottom row, so that each bottom row scale has 4 jump rings passing through it.
2. Add additional jump rings (purple) to connect the lower 2 jump rings passing through each bottom row scale (green/orange).
From here, you can continue weaving European 4-in-1 maille at the bottom edge of your piece.
If you want to stabilize the top edge, work on the front side of your piece and weave jump rings (red) through each pair of jump rings along the top edge of your piece. This row adds a decorative touch and provides additional stabilization. You can continue weaving European 4-in-1 maille from this row as well.
Of course, there are other ways you could connect jump rings and scales to stabilize your weave. These are the techniques that I use, and so far, they have worked well for me. I hope you found this blog post helpful.
EDIT: If you would like to download this blog post for reference, you can find a downloadable PDF on the FAQs page of my website in the Freebies section.