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Forum Index > Historical Arms Talk > fitting my esford gambeson Reply to topic
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William P




Location: Sydney, Australia
Joined: 11 Jul 2010

Posts: 1,436

PostPosted: Wed 06 Jul, 2011 5:24 am    Post subject: fitting my esford gambeson         Reply with quote

while i realise that there was very scant archaeological evidence evidence the norse and danes used padded garmentsr either as stand alone armour or under their maille. i have taken it upon myself to buy this gambeson from esford armoury (who is essentially an australian base for gear from deepeeka. and other indian companies)
apparently the system of fastening is apparently, if one could confirm, of much later centuries, my understanding that the earlier method being a loop and knot system, similar to hook-and-eye fastening.

but enough about history.i appear to have an issue with the fitting, npt being tailoredto my dimensions this isnt totally surprising or maybe this is normal for gambesons im not sure.

issues:
when flexing my arm, material bunches up ,limiting the amount one can flex,
when i raise my arms out from my sides it appears that the trunk of the gambeson is drawn up my body once my arms go above a certain angle from my side (arms at my side being 0, 90 being level with my shoulder) the angle being roughly 70-80 degrees,

how does one normally combat these sorts of issues,adding more materical to the armpit , would that allow one more freedom of movement?

ill be adding more via flickr, since my cameras generate huge photos, my lumix being about 1920 X 2560 pixels and my nokia X6's camera being nearly as huge. and requires drastic cropping to fit with the forums rules.



 Attachment: 71.36 KB
esford gambeson [ Download ]

 Attachment: 131.53 KB
my gambeson with arms raised level to shoulder, note how the armpit is taut. [ Download ]
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Christopher Treichel




Location: Metro D.C.
Joined: 14 Jan 2010

Posts: 268

PostPosted: Wed 06 Jul, 2011 5:29 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well that is what off the rack clothes will do for you...

The easiest way to tailor something like that is turn it inside out and have someone who knows about tailoring pinch and pull the fabric into place and pin it so you can cut and sew out the baggieness untill it fits right. You might want to consider a bit of a bend in the arm so you can move more freely. Might also want to add some gussets in the armpit area that will take out a bunch of slack and let you move more freely.
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JE Sarge
Industry Professional



PostPosted: Wed 06 Jul, 2011 5:48 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I had this same-style GDFB gambeson, and to be honest, I got rid of it because the fit was improper and it was way too stiff. Mine was so overbuilt, I literally could to work though half of Fiore's poste with it. This was a difficult problem. If I could not drill in it, how could I be expected to fight proficiently in it. I looked at altering it, and the only solution I came up with would have been to rip out the seams and repack the stuffing. This would have been too labor intensive, so I gave it away to my WMA organization for students to use.

I ended up going with a zuparello, which is lighter, more flexible, and better fitted to me:

http://revival.us/14thcgambesonitalianzuparello.aspx

This would be outside your period of interest, of course. But, with its construction, its vastly more comfortable than the heavier GDFB one. The zuparello has gussets in the armpits which prevent some of the problems you have mentioned. These gussets adjust the fabric as you move your body and arms. It's a perfect solution to your problems, but this would do little good given you have what you have.

In short, I do not know if you can correct these problems or not without extensive investment or time, money, or both. It might be better to research the market for something which is a better fit. That is exactly what I had to do.

Good luck in finding a solution. Happy

J.E. Sarge
Crusader Monk Sword Scabbards and Customizations
www.crusadermonk.com

"But lack of documentation, especially for such early times, is not to be considered as evidence of non-existance." - Ewart Oakeshott
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William P




Location: Sydney, Australia
Joined: 11 Jul 2010

Posts: 1,436

PostPosted: Wed 06 Jul, 2011 7:44 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Christopher Treichel wrote:
Well that is what off the rack clothes will do for you...

The easiest way to tailor something like that is turn it inside out and have someone who knows about tailoring pinch and pull the fabric into place and pin it so you can cut and sew out the baggieness untill it fits right. You might want to consider a bit of a bend in the arm so you can move more freely. Might also want to add some gussets in the armpit area that will take out a bunch of slack and let you move more freely.


i infact had the idea of slicing the seam i the armpit maybe about half the perimeter of the seam, and then having someone sew a patch of cloth there to, as you suggest give it more slack.

as for sarge, im already committing historical heresy using this gambeson since fromwhat people like dan howard havetold me, theres no evidence at all that the rus or any other vikings and thus the varangian guard, would have used padding nder their maille.
and my gambeson seems clearly a definately medieval period gambeson. so, in for a penny, in for a pound i guess.

well im maybe not TOO out of line, since the guardsmen might have taken a hint from their byzantine employrs and used their gambesons which may have looked like this (apparently) http://members.ozemail.com.au/~chrisandpeter/...attern.htm
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Kel Rekuta




Location: Toronto, Canada
Joined: 10 Feb 2004
Likes: 1 page

Posts: 612

PostPosted: Wed 06 Jul, 2011 10:07 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have had to alter my Westland gambeson a couple times to make it move better. A good alteration tailor shouldn't be too difficult to find, although the job is bound to be more expensive than having a pant leg shortened.

My experience with these "off the shelf" garments is that most of them insert the arm too far out on the shoulder, much like a modern jacket. Have the tailor cut a crescent shape off the body so that the arm inserts inside the point of the shoulder instead of outside of it. Have the piece attached below the arm as a gusset. This should extend the range of motion at those seams without pulling the garment body up when the arm is raised.

Its not a perfect solution but many of our students have useful gambesons adapted from generic quilted garments. Worth a shot?
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Scott Woodruff





Joined: 30 Nov 2005
Likes: 8 pages

Posts: 601

PostPosted: Wed 06 Jul, 2011 2:09 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think Kell is right on here. The main problem with reproduction gambesons is that the shoulder seam is to far out. You will want less padding in the armpit gusset so it isn't too bulky to allow you to bring your arm down. Removing some stuffing from the inside of the elbow will help too. Alternately, you could cut out the inside of the elbow and replace it with a gusset consisting of just 1 or 2 layers without any padding.
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William P




Location: Sydney, Australia
Joined: 11 Jul 2010

Posts: 1,436

PostPosted: Wed 06 Jul, 2011 7:22 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

so its not just making a slit, but cutting a hole in the gambeson in the elbow and aarmpitthen sewing a piece of clothof whatever material into the hole,
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Kel Rekuta




Location: Toronto, Canada
Joined: 10 Feb 2004
Likes: 1 page

Posts: 612

PostPosted: Thu 07 Jul, 2011 8:02 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

William P wrote:
so its not just making a slit, but cutting a hole in the gambeson in the elbow and aarmpitthen sewing a piece of clothof whatever material into the hole,



Yes, such things are never simple. Sad

Removing a crescent shape from the arm insertion point and inverting said piece under the arm is one thing. Opening up the inside of the sleeve elbow to remove unnecessary bulk is another. If your play involves rebated steel, then you most certainly don' t want to lose material there. Its a very common target of thrusts. No problem for stick fighting though; cut that bulk out and patch it with sturdy cloth. YMMV.
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Christopher Treichel




Location: Metro D.C.
Joined: 14 Jan 2010

Posts: 268

PostPosted: Thu 07 Jul, 2011 10:03 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

to make the arm more versatile you will also need to make some sort of gusset inside the elbow joint or make the arm so its not a straight tube but shaped at a bend...
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Tjarand Matre




Location: Nøtterøy, Norway
Joined: 19 Sep 2010

Posts: 158

PostPosted: Thu 07 Jul, 2011 1:07 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

If you want to make the process a lot easier find a sailmaker (if you live anywhere near a coast that is). I had my gambeson tailored in 10 minutes with a a sail sewing machine. The problem with stiffness is easily solved by use but you will have a straitjacket for some time.
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Elling Polden




Location: Bergen, Norway
Joined: 19 Feb 2004
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Posts: 1,576

PostPosted: Thu 07 Jul, 2011 3:45 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The main problem with garments like these is generally that they lack gussets.

When it comes to the armpits, just open the seams and leave a ventilation opening. it makes the garment more comfy, and more manouverable. You might even open the arm seam a little way down the upper arm.

Another main problem with this kind of garment is that they have not side gussets, which means that they restrict hip and leg movement.
A arming garment made for use under mail should not be longer than mid-hip lenght, or just below the waist. A full length cloth armour would have side gussets in the same fashion as a tunic. In this case, consider just opening the side seams untill you can actually move freely. You will have less protection for the side of the leg, but a more practical garment.

When it comes to the fastening, early and high medevial gambesons do not have front opening at all. They are sliped over the head, like the tunics.

"this [fight] looks curious, almost like a game. See, they are looking around them before they fall, to find a dry spot to fall on, or they are falling on their shields. Can you see blood on their cloths and weapons? No. This must be trickery."
-Reidar Sendeman, from King Sverre's Saga, 1201
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Jess Rozek




Location: Burlington, VT
Joined: 23 Mar 2010

Posts: 30

PostPosted: Fri 08 Jul, 2011 6:52 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

This might be a partial derail of this thread, but I took the route of Kel's students and made my own gambeson from quilts and now I have a similar issue with my elbows as William. I can barely get into an ochs position because of all the material that bunches up in the elbows. I had the foresight to leave the armpits open, but now I'm stuck on the elbows. First of all, what is a gusset and how does one make one and second; how do I go about cutting the hole in the elbow? Do I cut inside out leaving the top layer intact or should I just chop a hole in the elbow and patch it up afterward?
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Randall Moffett




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

Posts: 2,098

PostPosted: Fri 08 Jul, 2011 7:43 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Elling,

While I agree with much of what you said most evidence of the late 13th and 14th show that padded under armours often were longer than the mail.

William,

The main issue is likely it is not your size ad has a overly simply modern design. The addition of gores would likely help a great deal but taking it in to make it more form fit around the torso should do wonders. As well like Elling said these types of armours are not static so your time frame will dictate its design.

RPM
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Jessica Finley
Industry Professional



Location: Topeka, Kansas
Joined: 29 Dec 2003

Posts: 110

PostPosted: Fri 08 Jul, 2011 8:48 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hey Guys -

These things are all issues of patterning. Some, our medieval forebearers shared, some are because we're sewing with machines and not by hand, and some are simply because it's easier to do it one way and really, if a garment is priced low enough, nobody cares enough to fix the problem.

You can fix the shoulder issues with this gambeson by removing the arm, cutting a new hole INTO the body of the garment (as suggested above), and then setting the sleeve back in. You can then use the pieces which were cut out to create a gusset in the armpit, essentially filling the hole which will be created. the downside to this is that you will lose length on the arm, so if these arms are just right or a touch short for you, this solution might not be the best.

You could just add a couple triangular gussets to the armpit, which would help with movement somewhat.

The best way to understand what is happening, and what shapes need to be added to fix it is to cut out "mini gambesons" out of paper. Just cut yourself the basic shapes, get some tape, and see what happens when you move it around. A gambeson has no stretch, so like paper, it will fold, bunch, and do terrible things if the shapes aren't right.

If you know anyone who has patterning experience, they should be able to make these alterations for you. If you don't have any patterning experience, give it a try on simple things like paper or cheap cloth, and then make your alterations.

This is one of those "easy to do... hard to explain" things.

Hope this is helpful,
Jess

Selohaar Fechtschule, Free Scholar
http://www.selohaar.org/fechtschule

Fühlen Designs, Owner/Designer/Seamstress
http://fuhlendesigns.com
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