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Christian Borglum




Location: California
Joined: 21 Feb 2010

Posts: 37

PostPosted: Thu 01 Sep, 2011 1:22 pm    Post subject: Questions concerning the tailoring/fit of mail         Reply with quote

Hello Everyone,

I have a couple of questions about the fit of mail hauberk and the aketon underneeth. To fight efectively while wearing any armor, you obviously need to have good mobility of your arms and torso. However, I've read some confilcting statments about how this was accomplished in practice. As I understand it, a properly fitting Hauberk of mail isn't tubular and tapers inward slightly at your natural waist. I've also heard many people claim that a relatively stiff belt worn over the Hauberk can transfer some of the weight of the mail from your shoulders to your hips. When wearing mail in that fashion, I would think there would have to be enough slack in the armpits and back/top of the shoulder to allow you to easily raise your arms over your head (to deliver a blow Vom Tag), without raising or pulling the Hauberk upward at the waist...

My first question is how is this acomplished? I've read conflicting statements. One option, an enlarged armhole with an expansion gusset in the armpit seems to be pretty logical. I guess in period this was called a "le grande assiette". Would the underlying aketon then be similarly tailored?
A second potential solution I've read about is a very close fitting, high armpit. Indeed, I have a bowling shirt which fits me high and snug under the armpit, but allows good arm mobility. This style would seem to more easily accomidate wearing a coat of plates over the Hauberk. If the "high and tight" method is used, are there then gussets on the upper shoulder of the hauberk to allow for an overhead arm raise?
Also does anyone know if the method of tailoring mail evolved through the 13th century as wearing additional armor over the Hauberk became more common?
Thanks,

Christian
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Mikael Ranelius




Location: Sweden
Joined: 06 Mar 2007

Posts: 252

PostPosted: Thu 01 Sep, 2011 1:59 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Which time period are you aiming to reenact? I don't think that the grande assiette-cut was common before the 1340s, but we can't know for sure.
I've tried close fitting, high armpits in both civilian garments and padded armour but I wouldn't recommend it as it is quite uncomfortable.
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Christian Borglum




Location: California
Joined: 21 Feb 2010

Posts: 37

PostPosted: Thu 01 Sep, 2011 3:14 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mikael Ranelius wrote:
Which time period are you aiming to reenact? I don't think that the grande assiette-cut was common before the 1340s, but we can't know for sure.
I've tried close fitting, high armpits in both civilian garments and padded armour but I wouldn't recommend it as it is quite uncomfortable.


Hi Mikael,

Thanks for the reply. I was thinking about the problem of arm movement from the perspective of how various layers of armor interact with each other and move (or do not move) with your body. If we're assuming that in the 13th through mid 14th centuries a mail hauberk is worn over an Aketon, then I'd think both "garments" would be tailored similarly if not identically. I can see how the "le grande assiette" arm allows you to move your arms freely, making any necessary motion for striking, parrying, binding, etc...
However, when you then add a coat of plates over the Hauberk, it seems like there might be some additional considerations. I've looked at some reconstructions of the various Visby coats of plate, http://www.hoashantverk.se/hantverk/hoas_rustningar/index.html and most of them have a series of plates which wrap around the ribs underneath the arms. If your Aketon / Hauberk ensemble has a large armhole with underarm gussets, I'd think a firmly secured coat of plates might easily bind or pull at the Hauberk when raising your arms... I'm trying to figure out how these layers are supposed to function together. Thanks,

Christian
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Mackenzie Cosens




Location: Vancouver Canada
Joined: 08 Aug 2007

Posts: 238

PostPosted: Thu 01 Sep, 2011 6:00 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Here are some images of a man donning armor said to be French from 1375.
Note how tight the aketon appears to be to his body and that the maile looks to be as form fitting.
Also note how the plate arm defense are worn over the maile sleeves The would be difficult if the maile had wide sleeves.
Padded coats with wide sleeves appear to have been worn over other armour in late 14th and early 15th Century at least in France.

http://manuscriptminiatures.com/search/?year=...ew=gallery

does anyone know who the lady is? I am guessing some saint possibility one broken on a wheel?

mackenzie



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Roderick Stacey




Location: Ballarat, Australia
Joined: 12 May 2009
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Posts: 60

PostPosted: Thu 01 Sep, 2011 8:26 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

There is an excellent article on the manning imperial website;

http://manningimperial.com/articles.php

When using a belt over the mail, I was taught/shown to put it on very tight around the gambeson and mail, then lift one arm up at a time to pull the maille up, then let it drop down, the excess maille hangs over the belt, that allows you to move your arms around freely.

13th C maille from my understanding is a tailored fit to the wearer.
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Brian Robson





Joined: 19 Feb 2007

Posts: 185

PostPosted: Fri 02 Sep, 2011 3:18 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

This pic hints at a small-ish gusset under the armpit
http://manuscriptminiatures.com/psalter-with-...-5102/284/

And this one clearly shows a huge gusset:
http://manuscriptminiatures.com/the-ashmole-b...1511/1791/

I also have one in a book at home (which I can't seem to find an image of online) - which very clearly shows mail 'bagged' over the belts. IIRC it was late 12c.
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Len Parker





Joined: 15 Apr 2011

Posts: 284

PostPosted: Fri 02 Sep, 2011 6:52 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That manningimperial maille construction sure is interesting. It would explain all the effigies with horizontal maille on the sleeves.
Another way to get a tailored fit around the waist is to have it laced or buckled down the front (scroll down) http://www.tforum.info/forum/index.php?showtopic=14513
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Lafayette C Curtis




Location: Indonesia
Joined: 29 Nov 2006
Reading list: 7 books

Posts: 2,689

PostPosted: Tue 20 Sep, 2011 5:21 am    Post subject: Re: Questions concerning the tailoring/fit of mail         Reply with quote

Christian Borglum wrote:
A second potential solution I've read about is a very close fitting, high armpit. Indeed, I have a bowling shirt which fits me high and snug under the armpit, but allows good arm mobility. This style would seem to more easily accomidate wearing a coat of plates over the Hauberk. If the "high and tight" method is used, are there then gussets on the upper shoulder of the hauberk to allow for an overhead arm raise?


A very high and close-fitting armhole does allow a greater range of movement in a garment that fits very closely overall, but it takes more skill to cut it properly so as not to get the opposite effect (tight and movement-constricting). This is why, when you're shopping for modern coats, you'll only find high armholes in the better and more expensive offerings, especially made-to-measure and bespoke stuff. Even then these don't give as much freedom of movement as medieval inset sleeves cut under a similar paradigm but with the sleeve head inside the point of the shoulder rather than outside.

More importantly, though, I'm not sure that the cutting methods developed to create high, movement-friendly armholes were really practiced much before the 14th century either, especially in mail (as opposed to cloth). For a 13th-century hauberk I'd opt for a close-fitting rectangular cut with under-armpit expansion gussets and a little bit of blousing over the belt to provide just enough slack for the necessary freedom of movement.
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Johan Gemvik




Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Joined: 10 Nov 2009

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PostPosted: Thu 22 Sep, 2011 8:03 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

A way they increased movement back in medieval times was indeed to make a sack-like expansion in the armpit, a gusset as it's been callled earlier in the thread, and at times they had them at the elbow points. My brother's tried on a well preserved 15th century maille arm which had both (but no body left, just the arm) when he worked a summer at the Medieval museum here in Stockholm. We've also seen similar sacklike armpits on mailles in various museums, though only some have them. You can actually see this in a number of surviving mailles from 14th to 15the century, and traces of the same deigns but to a lesser degree in far older maille.

Another way was to make a wide tube, as seen in some maille that virtually goes from being torso to arm witout a clear point where one begins and the other ends, also seen in one of the paintings posted above. The drawback with this one is you'll lift the side of the maille when you swing a sword making the arm movement heavier reducing long term endurance. On the other hand it doesn't restrict movement.

Taking the weave in at the waist may not make it sit on the hips to take off the load unless it's a fully or partly divided front or back that you can close after putting it on with hooks or straps (as some surviving mailles have), but it removes a section of weave you don't need, so it will work to lessen the weight of the maille, at times with several kilos.

Of course there were maille that had none of these tailoring features, those that hand some and those that had everything.
Same thing with undergarments too I'd guess. Everything from excellent form fitting to crude padding that would be restrictive, depending on how much money you were willing and able to spend on it.

"The Dwarf sees farther than the Giant when he has the giant's shoulder to mount on" -Coleridge
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Sam Blincoe





Joined: 05 Jun 2013

Posts: 5

PostPosted: Sun 09 Jun, 2013 10:23 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello.

Can I just jump in and ask a question. I have a new Hauberk the sleeves are full length and hang down very far when I raise my arms. Is there a way to make them fit the arms closer? I plan to cut the sleeves down to about the elbow for wearing my arm armor will these very baggy sleeves effect my movement too much and fit into the armor? it there a way to fit them with out cutting as I don't currently have the tools to rebuild the shirt.

Thanks
Sam
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Mart Shearer




Location: Jackson, MS, USA
Joined: 18 Aug 2012

Posts: 1,280

PostPosted: Sun 09 Jun, 2013 12:09 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Johan Gemvik wrote:
My brother's tried on a well preserved 15th century maille arm which had both (but no body left, just the arm) when he worked a summer at the Medieval museum here in Stockholm. We've also seen similar sacklike armpits on mailles in various museums, though only some have them. You can actually see this in a number of surviving mailles from 14th to 15the century, and traces of the same deigns but to a lesser degree in far older maille.


Mail sleeves, independent from a hauberk or haubergeon, were in use by the 1340s. Generally, the mail sleeve is enlarged at the armpit, either by a "gusset" built into the sleeve and joined by a 90 degree join in the armpit, or by an extension of the body into the sleeve. The tailoing is a bit different, but the same effect is achieved. Mail was tailored to fit the undergarment, so there is a great deal of variation possible, depending on fashion, time, and culture.

ferrum ferro acuitur et homo exacuit faciem amici sui
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