Also if anyone wants to add any suggestions to the tutorial please do comment with any tips, suggestions, criticisms etc, all would be most welcome.
1 - Stage one is to prepare the arm and shoulder your working on, the main reason for this in my book is to help when it comes to deciding how the braid will hang, in my example it's strait down, but you may have an arm raised which would perhaps cause the braid to lie at an angle partially or completely.
Doing it this way is also far easier in my opinion when it comes to putting folds in fabric beneath the epualettes if these are present as doing it after may result is the fabric ending up rather to much on top of the braiding or simply thicker in places and thinner in others.
2 - Once the surface is completely finished and cured roll up a sausage of putty, this can be formed into a horse shoe shape and placed around the shoulder.
3 - This horse shoe can then be smoothed out down the shoulder, the bottom and sides trimmed into shape, this is the basis of the braid. You can adjust it later on but it's easiest to get the lay of the shape now.
4 - You can then rough out the way the braiding falls using the tip of a scapel blade, remember at all times the effect of gravity! Try to keep the widths even where possible. However that said each strip can potentially cross, get tangled etc, this involves a little more work and should probably be saved for once you feel more confident. If you make a mistake however dont worry, this is just a rough go at it so to speak, and can be tidied in the next stage.
5 - Now you can go over your rough version widening the gap, using either a thin sculpting tool or a scapel again. This is the most important stage, remember you dont want squared edges rather slightly rounded, so dont be afraid to wiggle your tool a tiny amount. This can extend to the bottom of the braiding, doing so allows you to also put in a little more movement to the braid, having the whole lot slanting towards or away from the torso a little as desired.
If you have excess putty try an shift it upwards but dont try an remove it now, wait until it's cured to avoid ruining your work, put the piece aside for the full curing time and then leave a little extra before moving to the next stage.
6 - Having trimmed any excess putty so the top of the shoulder is flat with a scapel (at whatever angle the epualette will be), roll a little ball placing it centrally on top of the braided shoulder, then carefully flatten out the ball across the surface, you'll want at least some overhang however.
7 - Rather then trying to build a rim up, I find it easier to take the center or this disk down, this can be done with careful downward pressure to create a indentation which is of equal depth and border. It'll likely take a few attempts before you get the hang of this so be prepared to pull the disk off and start again if needs be. Allow it too cure fully again.
8 - Next take a tiny sausage shape, this can be pressed and squared to finish the epualette. And yes, thats about it I guess! Hopefully you'll now have something which looks something like this.