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Andrew Babbini




Location: Currently in Hawaii
Joined: 18 Sep 2005
Reading list: 5 books

Posts: 13

PostPosted: Tue 12 Jun, 2007 11:52 pm    Post subject: Arming coat questions         Reply with quote

Ladies and Gents,

I have a few questions on arming garments and was hoping you all could help. As some know, I just got in a custom rig so I tried it on. I currently have a HE linen arming doublet and laced the legs to it. Problem is, it really limits my arm mobility. I think that's mostly due to the fact that it only comes to about the top of my hip bones. I even laced the waist very tightly and it still didn't give me much mobility. So I experimented with the positioning of the points themselves. Still no dice.

Plus, I was sweating buckets as soon as the arming garment was in place. I even wore no shirt beneath it. However that may be due to Hawaii's extremely hot and humid climate but then again, I've heard of some folks doing events in 100 degree and then some weather.

So the main questions are: Did I goof on the lacing of the cuisse points? Do I need a new arming garment? How the heck do I not sweat to death? Big Grin

Thanks for any advice/help you can provide.

Respectfully,

Andrew
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Hugh Knight




Location: San Bernardino, CA
Joined: 26 Jan 2004
Reading list: 34 books

Posts: 739

PostPosted: Wed 13 Jun, 2007 12:03 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Andrew,

Can you supply any pictures? That might help. The HE arming doublets work pretty well according to those I've known who have them, so there might be something about how you're wearing it.

The primary keys to making an arming doublet work are the way the shoulders are constructed and the way the body is fit. Done correctly, the waist will be very tight--acting like a girdle--and the body will float just a bit in the upper body of the garment. It will, however, be pretty snug under the arms, otherwise your vambraces will slide down your arms (many make the mistake of solving this problem by making the neck very tight, but I've found this isn't as good of a solution). I dont' think the fact that it comes to the top of your hip bones is a problem at all.

You're just discovering the biggest issue with armor that people overlook: That without a properly-fit arming doublet that really does what it's supposed to, your armor will *never* work correctly. I've known people to spend thousands of dollars on their armor and then try to make it work with a cheap, unfitted (and usually overpadded) arming doublet, and that's just wrong (not you--as I said, most I've spoken to like their HE doublets).

Regards,
Hugh
www.schlachtschule.org
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Glennan Carnie




Location: UK
Joined: 23 Aug 2006

Posts: 289

PostPosted: Wed 13 Jun, 2007 12:51 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The biggest problem with any mass-produced doublet-like garment is the fit of the sleeve head. Virtually all the doublets (and in fact most other men's garments) use the modern sleeve-head design, where the socket of the shoulder sits inside the body of the garment and the sleeve just covers the arm.

Consider the modern suit jacket as a good example. When you raise your arms in a suit jacket the body of the garment is lifted by your (raising) shoulders. If you have anything tied to the bottom of that garment it will be pulled up, too.

The solution is to used what is called an 'inset' sleeve. With the inset sleeve, the entire shoulder socket sits within the sleeve; the sleeve head itself cuts deeply into the body of the garment. Now when you lift your arm it is free to move within the sleeve and does not pull on the garment body. The inset sleeve must also fit very tightly under the arm, too, to prevent bunching when you lower your arm.

With a properly fitted doublet you should be able to cross your arms above your head with little stress on the body of the garment - that is, your hose/cuisses won't cut into your scrotum! Eek! The garment can be can very, very tight to the body and arms and still allow virtually full movement. This is an odd sensation if you're not used to it. Most people still believe the only way to have freedom of movement is to have the garment loose-fitting. This is incorrect.

The problem is an inset sleeve is difficult to mass-produce because each person's shoulder inset is different; and many semsters out there only understand modern clothing and just cut 'medieval style' clothing based on modern patterns

As Hugh quite rightly says: You need to have your arming doublet fitted properluy by someone who understands medieval garment manufacture.

For protection, the doublet should be quilted with layers of linen and/or wool, not bagged and stuffed with synthetic stuffing.

Under the doublet I would recommend a good quality 100% linen shirt. Never resort to linen/cotton blends (or anything synthetic!) The shirt will soak up your sweat, wicking the heat away from your body. You may also find the doublet gets soaked; but that's what it's meant to do. Properly fitted garments, made of the correct materials shoudl act as a very effective heat-exchange mechanism.
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Andrew Babbini




Location: Currently in Hawaii
Joined: 18 Sep 2005
Reading list: 5 books

Posts: 13

PostPosted: Wed 13 Jun, 2007 12:56 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mr Knight,

Thanks for your advice as that got some little wheels turning upstairs here. I adjusted the lacing for the waist so it would get even tighter. It was kind of tough to do as I'm a very skinny guy. But anyway, I laced up the cuisses once again and they worked a heck of alot better. However I didn't throw on the rest of the armour just yet. I had to pull the armpits in a little bit so my arms could move above my head. Is this a common technique to do so one doesn't have to make arm motions like the Great Cornholio while in harness? Happy

Now to work on that heat issue. The doublet isn't quite cut full of holes as is directed in the manuscript. I've dabbled with the idea of stuffing what room I have within the garment with frozen veggies.... All kidding aside what do you all do to solve that? Or is the simple answer just for me to man up and deal with it? Don't worry, I won't take any offense if someone does say that. Big Grin

Again, thank you very much!

Respectfully,

Andrew
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Andrew Babbini




Location: Currently in Hawaii
Joined: 18 Sep 2005
Reading list: 5 books

Posts: 13

PostPosted: Wed 13 Jun, 2007 1:06 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mr Carnie,

Yeah, it was an off the rack arming doublet but I heard nothing but good things about it. No synthetics in it. Ah, I see about the sweat working for you in that principle. Cool. Now I just have to put a little bit of paint on the inside of the armour so it doesn't rust out from me sweating.

Anyhow, looks like the problem of fit is solved. Thank you, sir!

Respectfully,

Andrew
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Hugh Knight




Location: San Bernardino, CA
Joined: 26 Jan 2004
Reading list: 34 books

Posts: 739

PostPosted: Wed 13 Jun, 2007 1:26 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Glennan Carnie wrote:
For protection, the doublet should be quilted with layers of linen and/or wool, not bagged and stuffed with synthetic stuffing.

Under the doublet I would recommend a good quality 100% linen shirt. Never resort to linen/cotton blends (or anything synthetic!) The shirt will soak up your sweat, wicking the heat away from your body. You may also find the doublet gets soaked; but that's what it's meant to do. Properly fitted garments, made of the correct materials shoudl act as a very effective heat-exchange mechanism.


With respect, the experts to whom I've spoken say there's little need or evidence for padding in an arming doublet. The one exception is King Renee's Book of the Tournament which talks about heavy padding over the shoulders, but that's for a special tournament fought with rebated swords and heavy clubs.

As to the shirt, I quote from the 15th-century MS "How A Man Shall be Armed", which says: "He shall have no shirt upon him except for a doublet of fustian lined with satin, cut full of holes. The doublet must be strongly built; the points must be set at the break in the arm in the front and back. To lace the gussets of mail must be sewn onto the doublet also at the break in the arm and at the underarm."

On the other hand, there's a 14th-century MS entiteld Lancelot du Lac that shows a picture of a man sitting down with his harness lying beside him. You can clearly see his arming doublet (in the style of the Charles de Blois Pourpoint--no surprise there) and if you look *very* closely you can sort of make out wht might be a shirt lying underneath it. Did customs change from the 14th to the 15th century, or was the author of How A Man Shall be Armed not speaking for all? I don't know, I merely offer what I have for people to study.



 Attachment: 14.82 KB
Lancelot 48 crop.jpg


Regards,
Hugh
www.schlachtschule.org
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Hugh Knight




Location: San Bernardino, CA
Joined: 26 Jan 2004
Reading list: 34 books

Posts: 739

PostPosted: Wed 13 Jun, 2007 1:28 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Andrew Babbini wrote:
Now to work on that heat issue. The doublet isn't quite cut full of holes as is directed in the manuscript. I've dabbled with the idea of stuffing what room I have within the garment with frozen veggies.... All kidding aside what do you all do to solve that? Or is the simple answer just for me to man up and deal with it? Don't worry, I won't take any offense if someone does say that. Big Grin


Hi Andrew,

I don't knwo what to say about the heat issue. I have no doubt Gwen used all natural materials in the construction of your garment, so there's one issue dealt with. Frankly, I cool off when I put on my doublet after I have sweated in it a bit. I heat up again once the armor goes on, but I see no way around that.

Regards,
Hugh
www.schlachtschule.org
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Glennan Carnie




Location: UK
Joined: 23 Aug 2006

Posts: 289

PostPosted: Wed 13 Jun, 2007 2:48 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
With respect, the experts to whom I've spoken say there's little need or evidence for padding in an arming doublet.


I agree. Padding, as we think of it today, is unnecessary. I suspect, though, that a single layer of fustian plus satin (silk) is not quite enough to protect your body from the chafing of plate.
Quilting through multiple layers though gives resistance and stability without adding bulk. 15 layers of linen is probably not much more than 1/4" thick when quilted. The garment doesn't need the same protection all over - just in strategic areas - shoulders, breast, etc.

There is some evidence that the civilian men's body shape of the late 14thC was influenced by the arming pourpoint (or whatever name it had - that's a completely different argument!) - The tight waist and pidgeon breast seems to represent the sort of padding/quilting required under armour. To achieve this shape, padding would be required. Now, it could be argued that the civilian dress was a characature of the military garment and, as such, would be an exagerated representation.
Unfortunately, there are very few extant garments - the pourpoint of Charles du Blois being the best known example. That garment appears to be quilted, horizontally and may well have been made up of multiple layers.

My pourpoint is layered across the breast with 10 layers of wool/linen. From the outside, you'd probably never even notice it.


Quote:
As to the shirt, I quote from the 15th-century MS "How A Man Shall be Armed", which says: "He shall have no shirt upon him except for a doublet of fustian lined with satin, cut full of holes. The doublet must be strongly built; the points must be set at the break in the arm in the front and back. To lace the gussets of mail must be sewn onto the doublet also at the break in the arm and at the underarm."


Yep, I know this quote; and I can't argue with it.

I follow the belief that body linens were the medieval equivalent of deodourant: designed to protect the (expensive) clothing from your sweat and smells (rather than protecting you from the clothing).

I can understand the logic of not wearing a shirt. If you've just spent the modern equivalent of several hundred thousand dollars on harness you're not really worried about getting your doublet a bit smelly!
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Randall Moffett




Location: Northern Utah
Joined: 07 Jun 2006
Reading list: 5 books

Posts: 2,098

PostPosted: Wed 13 Jun, 2007 4:46 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hugh,

To pad or not to pad that is the question.... Big Grin

The issue to pad or not to pad an arming garment is basically impossible to prove conclusively in both lanes from how I see it and what I have been studying of it.

People seem to have one reference from the Hastings MS that has convinced them it should not have padding. I might point out the MS does not imply or state this. It only states what some materials that should be used and it should have holes. It fails to mentions anything else of use really except it be strongly built as to its make and manufacture. It may or may not support no padding but alone does not prove anything conclusively. Even if it does mean no padding that does not mean most, many, some or possibly even a few were done that way. I keep hearing it has been tested and found to work excellent without padding but these tests do not involve death (I am glad they do not- there are more important things in life). Not that their opinions are not important or valuable but they are not showing medieval opinions or usage as much as how it works for them during the weekend event. Williams testing on the addition of a padded/layered garment (16 layers linen) under armour showed it made a vital addition to the harness (50 joules additional energy more to penetrate I think 70 or 80 to cut). It is more than chafting and bruises they were up against. That fabric garment might make a huge difference, one I am not sure two layers of fabric would be able to make.

Now as to padding/multi layered being in these under armour garments for full harness there is some evidence but is often vague. There are a few inventories that list padded arming jacks related to armour in a number of examples. One that is very clear is from the second half of the 15th York Diocese Achives. There are also ordinances that indicate that they were still padded. There is the Howard Inventory which as some have found is loaded with neat materials and construction facts. I am trying to get a hold of a copy in its original to see how it is untranscribed.

I do think some under armour garments do get much more padding than would have been done in the period in question. I have seen some many inches thick, the people looked more like the Stay Puffed marshmallow-man. It cannot be disproven though from what I can tell. The artwork shows men with heads that are 2/3 their bodies.... thickness and size are soemwhat arbitrary (at least I hope I do not look that way Laughing Out Loud ).

In the end it seems odd that so many people are convinced they should have no padding. If they want to fine. But really it should be pointed out they are out on a limb as well if not more so in my opinion as far as historical proof of it being 'the' arming garment. I for one would not go for a padding/layerless arming jack having read what I have and done what I have. If others do not want a padded arming coat that is cool Big Grin
After all it is there skin as mine is my own I have to worry about. Laughing Out Loud

RPM
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