Starting with the basics - I get my rings from TheRingLord.com. These guys are based in Canada, and although their prices are really good (and quality! And also service!) shipping for Canadaland to NZ is absolutely diabolical. It doesn’t help that rings and steel stuff weighs a ton! If you order rings, do be prepared to either pay at least as much as you spend on the product in shipping, or pay a bit less and wait three months for it to arrive.
The first order I did with them cost me ~$60 NZ for about…4 bags of galv steel rings, and it took a full three months to arrive. But, arrive it did, and I was very happy with my order! I placed an order for a Jaime Lannister commission a few months later, and because I couldn’t wait that long, paid through the nose for express shipping. The total on that order was something like $95 for the order, and $150 for shipping, Canadian dollars. Yeah, ouch!! But, the steel scales I used weighed a lot, certainly far more than the rings on their own.
If you’re planning on making a large garment out of chainmail (Merrill from DA2, or lady Loki’s scalemail) it’s a really really good idea to get a small order of supplies and test your theory on how to make stuff, because metal rings linked together do not behave like fabric! Unless you get really really fine maille, but that tends to be out of the average cosplayer’s budget. Mostly the sheer weight of the stuff is a problem - you need to really think about how to rig it so it won’t fell off you - but also the weight means that it falls DOWN. Not on an angle, and it definitely doesn’t drape without some help! The lannister armour I made weighed, on its own, about 5-6kg or 11/12lbs. It’s not insubstantial! You do need to think about whether you’re actually going to be comfortable, and whether you can actually carry the weight. It’s a lot easier to carry weight on your torso than it is on your arms or legs for example, and if you anchor metal to fabric, you need to be aware of issues with the fabric pulling all over the place.
Anyway, there’s a little photo tutorial in my last post on how to weave maille - it’s time consuming and a bit tedious, but once you get into it, it’s quite nice :) I may think of more stuff later, brain’s a bit exhausted :9