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16th century soft school of fence kit design
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Here is a rough drawing of a kit I'm having made that I can wear to Faire and also have a padded doublet to fence with. What do you guys think? I'm going for late period longsword practitioner. The Hauptmann from Albion will probably be the sword for this kit.


Last edited by Carlo Arellano on Mon 09 Mar, 2009 9:13 pm; edited 2 times in total
It doesn't look too bad overall. The proportions of the doublet seem pretty good. Will both sleeves be matched? What exactly are those raised bands on the sleeve representative of? What sort of fastening will the front of the doublet use? Will the sleeves be attached or detachable? (The vast majority of artwork and extant garments suggest that men's sleeves were just about always fully set in).

The length of the trunkhose looks good (they shouldn't terminate any lower than slightly above the knee, anything above that is fair game). I would recommend that you make them a little bit fuller. Check out this portrait for a good shape http://elizabethan-portraits.com/Tailor.jpg ("An Unknown Man" or "The Tailor," by Moroni, ca. 1565-70). What sort of fastening will they have? Will they be pointed (laced to the doublet via corresponding holes on the waistband and a lacing strip inside the doublet)?

Boots were worn less frequently in the latter half of the 16th century than the popular conception assumes. It would be much more likely for you (and just about anyone in society) to be wearing shoes. These shoes would have little or no heel, and a rounded or slightly almond-shaped toe. Square and pointed toes were not fashionable. If you were to wear boots, they would reach the thigh, and would be unlikely to be turned down as depicted in your sketch.

The longsword was not a weapon that would be worn at one's hip in the 16th century, especially not on a civilian; even though its wearer might be a practitioner of martial arts. Outside of schools of fence, it really wasn't seen- even on the battlefield. Most of Europe's armies had eliminated it for the most part from their arsenal, though it was still being used by the Scots and Irish in decent numbers.

Lastly, what sort of fabric(s) do you intend to use? Will you have hat?


Don't let any of these questions discourage you; they've just been posed to guide the development of an accurate kit. Faires and living history call for different standards. It looks like you're off to a great start!
You need an espada ropero, or at least a cup hilt rapier if you are going for the latter quarter of the century
Justin H. Nez wrote:
You need an espada ropero, or at least a cup hilt rapier if you are going for the latter quarter of the century


I am not going for something typical but for someone who is taking up various forms of period martial arts and I'm going for mid 16th century.
D. Rosen wrote:
It doesn't look too bad overall. The proportions of the doublet seem pretty good. Will both sleeves be matched? What exactly are those raised bands on the sleeve representative of? What sort of fastening will the front of the doublet use? Will the sleeves be attached or detachable? (The vast majority of artwork and extant garments suggest that men's sleeves were just about always fully set in).

The length of the trunkhose looks good (they shouldn't terminate any lower than slightly above the knee, anything above that is fair game). I would recommend that you make them a little bit fuller. Check out this portrait for a good shape http://elizabethan-portraits.com/Tailor.jpg ("An Unknown Man" or "The Tailor," by Moroni, ca. 1565-70). What sort of fastening will they have? Will they be pointed (laced to the doublet via corresponding holes on the waistband and a lacing strip inside the doublet)?

Boots were worn less frequently in the latter half of the 16th century than the popular conception assumes. It would be much more likely for you (and just about anyone in society) to be wearing shoes. These shoes would have little or no heel, and a rounded or slightly almond-shaped toe. Square and pointed toes were not fashionable. If you were to wear boots, they would reach the thigh, and would be unlikely to be turned down as depicted in your sketch.

The longsword was not a weapon that would be worn at one's hip in the 16th century, especially not on a civilian; even though its wearer might be a practitioner of martial arts. Outside of schools of fence, it really wasn't seen- even on the battlefield. Most of Europe's armies had eliminated it for the most part from their arsenal, though it was still being used by the Scots and Irish in decent numbers.

Lastly, what sort of fabric(s) do you intend to use? Will you have hat?


Don't let any of these questions discourage you; they've just been posed to guide the development of an accurate kit. Faires and living history call for different standards. It looks like you're off to a great start!



Thank you I will make some of the changes you suggest, especially the shoes. Both sleeves will be the same and the raised ribbing is indicative of extra padding. I will replace the sword with the Lichtenauer or the Meyer to help denote that he is a martial arts practitioner.
Though you aren't going to use one, I would caution that "cup hilts" were not found until closer to the middle of the 17th century.

Will those ribs of extra padding on the sleeve serve a particular purpose? The completed, physical piece might look and function unusually with that sort of addition. It would be likely to have fairly flat trim in the same pattern as decoration however.
I want to try a simplified version of the fencing doublet at the MET.

http://elizabethan-portraits.com/fencing_doublet.htm

so the sleeves, paricularly the forearms will be padded but i agree with you that it probably isnt necessary to have every other one raised.
Gotcha. You can't go wrong following the Met doublet. The sketch made it appear as though there were narrow, padded rings running down the arm.
Carlo Arellano wrote:
I am not going for something typical but for someone who is taking up various forms of period martial arts and I'm going for mid 16th century.


Your choice of weapon is still anachronistic for your chosen period. Carry it if you so choose and that's all the justification you need, but that won't make it correct.

BTW, rapier play was a "period" martial art. ;)
Patrick Kelly wrote:
Carlo Arellano wrote:
I am not going for something typical but for someone who is taking up various forms of period martial arts and I'm going for mid 16th century.


Your choice of weapon is still anachronistic for your chosen period. Carry it if you so choose and that's all the justification you need, but that won't make it correct.

BTW, rapier play was a "period" martial art. ;)


Excellent suggestions. I will change the color of the doublet to natural linen and move away from the spanish influence of the kit and replace my weapon with both a rapier and a longsword training weapon to go more towards the "renaissance martial artist" theme. Having a two tone outfit like that will make me look more like a "fencer"
The longsword is actually appropriate throughout the 16th and into the early 17th century for central Europe despite the opinion of Joachim Meyer. There are simply too many surviving examples for this to be otherwise (check out the Landeszeughaus Graz if you ever get the chance). Personally I wouldn't be surprised to see one employed by a Spaniard in either the Italian theatre or the Netherlands.
Dear Mr. Arellano,

On Monday 9 March 2009, you wrote:
I will replace the sword with the Lichtenauer or the Meyer to help denote that he is a martial arts practitioner.

While you should definitely use a weapon with which you feel comfortable, I'd like to point out that Arms & Armor's Fechterspiel and Fechtbuch longsword foils are far more visually accurate than the Albion models that you mention, which are essentially modern trainers with historical inspiration, rather than reproduction historical weapons. Both of the A&A models have reviews in the Hands-on Reviews section, and there's a direct comparison of the two here.

But as I say above, for safety and comfort you should use the weapon that you feel suits you best.

I hope that this proves helpful.

Best,

Mark Millman
16th Century Soft kit
Right my pennies worth


The Met doublet and the other fencing doublets are a soft cream leather. Linen canvas does the trick but doesn't move as well. I suspect the trunk hose will be soft leather as well...

Linen Canvas is quite a low class thing. A Master of fence, mostly, has some social status, at least all the printed ones form the 16th Century are gentleman at the very least. ( I think! :confused: ) So any other clothing must reflect wealth. Silks, satins, velvets and Chamlet. Wools will tend to be the other warm layers, overcoats of any type. Linen canvas doublet and wool breeches is very working class... :lol:

Colours are a point to consider. For much of the 16th Century black is a very Spanish colour, so black indicates a strong spanish influence, either from Spain, the various chunks of the rest of Europe ruled by the Spanish Crown or under Spanish control. The Hapsbergs are the German line and slightly different....and mad.

Pick an era and stick to it carefully. The Met Doublet is about the right date for for trunk hose, which is good...

Weapons matter. Go German and you're fighting Meyer with a cutting style into the 17th Century, which is the style that the 2 fencing doublets from Janet Arnold's book "Patterns of fashion 1560-1620" are closer to, being dated 1610 ish. BUT you can include dussack,Longsword and maybe Zweihnder.

Go Spanish and rapier, both thrusting and a more cut and thrust style is good.

Before I forget, Get the fabrics and the padding, stffening and lining right, or it will look wrong, hang wrong and wear wrong. The waist on 16th century men's clothing is not around your arse! Get it right and it will affect the way you stand and walk. Learn to dance, walk more on the balls of your feet and keep your hand off your sword hilt...it's the practise of blades out to start a fight.
Re: 16th Century Soft kit
David Evans wrote:


Before I forget, Get the fabrics and the padding, stffening and lining right, or it will look wrong, hang wrong and wear wrong. The waist on 16th century men's clothing is not around your arse! Get it right and it will affect the way you stand and walk. Learn to dance, walk more on the balls of your feet and keep your hand off your sword hilt...it's the practise of blades out to start a fight.


That right there is probably the best advice. Before you worry about the weapons, get the fit of the clothes right. It affect things so very much in every aspect of the kit.
You have gotten some great advice here. Heed it!

Janet Arnold's Patterns of Fashion http://myArmoury.com/books/item.php?ASIN=089676026X has a couple of examples that are very like the MET doublet and if you have a lot of patterning skills, you can alter that pattern to fit your size.

The doublet was indeed made of a thin soft leather, and was padded and had additional stiffening along the belly, probably a thin wood plank or perhaps whalebone.

Jessica
Jessica Finley wrote:
You have gotten some great advice here. Heed it!

Janet Arnold's Patterns of Fashion http://myArmoury.com/books/item.php?ASIN=089676026X has a couple of examples that are very like the MET doublet and if you have a lot of patterning skills, you can alter that pattern to fit your size.

The doublet was indeed made of a thin soft leather, and was padded and had additional stiffening along the belly, probably a thin wood plank or perhaps whalebone.

Jessica


I will indeed follow much of the advice. I will put in some more research and post a new drawing and will switch to soft leather.
Janet Arnold's Patterns of Fashion is an absolutely fantastic book. I second the recommendation.
Nathan Robinson wrote:
Janet Arnold's Patterns of Fashion is an absolutely fantastic book. I second the recommendation.


Add my opinion as a third voice. My wife and I are working on some 16th century kit and this book has been a great help.
Another suggestion for 16th century costume would be The Tudor Tailor. It has some great information about creating your own garments (as opposed to recreating a specific garment as in Arnold's Patterns of Fashion). It is a great read, has some wonderful examples of recreated tailoring tools, and is a beauty of a book as well.

http://www.tudortailor.com/

Jessica
D. Rosen wrote:

The length of the trunkhose looks good (they shouldn't terminate any lower than slightly above the knee, anything above that is fair game). I would recommend that you make them a little bit fuller. Check out this portrait for a good shape http://elizabethan-portraits.com/Tailor.jpg ("An Unknown Man" or "The Tailor," by Moroni, ca. 1565-70).


If the impression is that of a Northern or Central European 'fechter', another excellent option is plunderhosen, as illustrated in Joachim Meyer's books from 1560, 1570 and 1600. These hang much lower on the leg than the trunkhose described above. I prefer plunderhosen to trunk hose. See enclosed picture, as well as those below:

http://thorkell.halberd.org/lorenzo/documents/sture/sture.htm

Erik Sture's clothing

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Nils Sture's clothing

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Quote:
The longsword was not a weapon that would be worn at one's hip in the 16th century, especially not on a civilian; even though its wearer might be a practitioner of martial arts. Outside of schools of fence, it really wasn't seen- even on the battlefield.


I'm not sure we can say that. Leaving aside the larger two-handers (e.g. zweihanders) there are a plethora of surviving 16th century longswords, some with complex hilts, many of them sharp and presumably unsuitable for the fechtschulen (we know the common form of fechtfeder used in fencing schools within and around the Empire, and they have thin, narrow, flexible blades and large, wide schilts/shields at the ricasso). People were commissioning (or at least, re-hilting) sharp longswords throughout the 16th century, so we cannot rule out their possible carriage, perhaps during travel and war, if not in city life. Were longswords rarer than single handed swords (e.g. the "rappier" of Meyer)? Probably. But not seen at all? That's a bold assertion based on, it seems, absence of evidence.

Cheers,

Bill


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