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Matthew Velardo





Joined: 25 May 2015

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PostPosted: Fri 05 Jun, 2015 5:34 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Luka Borscak wrote:
Yep, Odo's triangle patterned garment is obviously worn over mail, so textile is only logical explanation. But that textile could be a defensive garment like a gambeson but it could also be a bishop's church clothing too show who he was and perhaps some people might be afraid to strike a bishop, especially if he's wearing his "church clothing"...


Considering the triangular geometric patter of the coat and the shape, I'm going to guess he's wearing a gambeson rather than some sort of of bishops robe. It is certainly possible that he's wearing bishop's garments... but it certainly doesn't seem to match any robes that I've ever seen. In addition to the pattern of cloth, the cut of the garment seems to be similar to the depictions of maille shirts found throughout the tapestry, while we do see depictions of capes, cloaks and robes, they look nothing like what Odo is wearing.

A quick google search came up with this historical illustration by Igor Dzis:



I think he did a fantastic interpretation!

One question for the experts though.... would there be any benefit to wearing a gambeson over maille rather than under it?
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Matthew Velardo





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PostPosted: Fri 05 Jun, 2015 7:53 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Great comments so far! This has all been very helpful.

I think before sewing an entire gambeson.... I'll start with just a padded coif. For materials, I will be using 1-2 layers of linen stuffed with linen rags. This is because 1. I assume that very few soldiers would have been able to afford 20-30 layers of linen (equivalent in a way to buying 20-30 entire garments!), and so stuffing with remnants and rags of the same material would have been the second best thing, so long as it is stuffed thickly. 2. The second reason, is really because I'm on a student budget and can't afford to buy 20-30 layers of linen! Laughing Out Loud

I think I will rework some ( very crudely made) pieces that made a few years ago in high school. These will need a lot of work to look right and fit properly!

I've been saving linen rags and remnants of clothing and tablecloths, etc. for several years now. I don't think I have enough for a full gambeson, but I should have plenty enough for a coif.

In the second picture, you can see an arming cap that I did a while back as well... It's ugly, but works well enough as a liner for my helmet. I think I may rework this as well. As you can see, I first sewed the seams, and then added the stuffing. However that would be a bit problematic for any kind of protective armor, because every seam is a very thin area which would easily be penetrated. Does anyone have any advice on properly quilting these? (I'm fairly new to sewing... so any advice would be greatly appreciated!).

Thanks!



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Mart Shearer




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PostPosted: Fri 05 Jun, 2015 8:46 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Wearing a gambeson over mail must have had some benefit. The Norwegian "King's Mirror" (Speculam Regale) calls for a "soft", literally "wet" (squishy?) in modern Icelandic, aketon (blautan panzara) beneath a mail byrnie (brynju) and a sleeveless "good" gambeson (gan panzara) over it.
Quote:
Above and next to the body he should wear a soft gambison which need not come lower than to the middle of the thigh. Over this he must have a strong breastplate made of good iron covering the body from the nipples to the trousers belt outside this a well made hauberk and over the hauberk a firm gambison made in the manner which I have already described but without sleeves.









The problem, as noted early on in this thread, is that there are no literary references to gambesons, aketons, pourpoints, jupons, etc. in the 11th century in Western Europe. It is highly unlikely that Bishop Odo is wearing some padded textile armor that no one had ever heard of before. Perhaps it is a jaserant, scale armor, or some leather lamellar armor brought from Sicily? Wace mentions Odo wearing a white shirt.

Count Guy de Ponthieu likely wears scale.


And a third unidentified figure (which might also be Odo since he wields a baculum) -



On a further note, your tests might need a thicker sample - perhaps 40mm, 1.5"?
http://www.british-history.ac.uk/cal-state-pa...p1041-1095
Report of England made by Giovanni Michiel, late Ambassador to Queen Mary and King Philip, to the Venetian Senate, on the 13th May 1557.

..... and for the body they either use some sort of breastplate (qualche petto di corsaletto) which guards the forepart, although indifferently, or else more willingly (especially those who have the means) some jack (giaco) or shirt of mail (camicia di maglia); but what they usually wear are certain canvas jupons, padded (giubboni di canevaccio imbottiti), each of which is double high. two fingers or more in thickness ([i]doppi alti due dita) ; and these doublets are considered the most secure defence against the shock of arrows. Upon their arms they place strips of mail (liste di maglia), put lengthways, and nothing else.

[/i]

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Matthew Amt




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PostPosted: Sat 06 Jun, 2015 6:45 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Matthew Velardo wrote:
I think before sewing an entire gambeson.... I'll start with just a padded coif.


Start small, definitely! I *never* do enough practice pieces...

Quote:
For materials, I will be using 1-2 layers of linen stuffed with linen rags. This is because 1. I assume that very few soldiers would have been able to afford 20-30 layers of linen (equivalent in a way to buying 20-30 entire garments!)...


Well, as was said, soldiers had what their wealth or income could afford. For many centuries, most warriors fought with only spear and shield, and that was never seen as suicidal. Just the way it was! So anyone who was supposed to have a 30-layer jack could afford it, by legal definition.

Are you still aiming for the 11th century? Because (as was also said) that's before we have any evidence for gambesons or acketons. Just sayin'... Obviously mail plus padding is better than just mail, but the whole "blunt force trauma" thing is WAY overplayed these days, and really doesn't seem to have been a great concern to the ancients.

Quote:
2. The second reason, is really because I'm on a student budget and can't afford to buy 20-30 layers of linen!


Now THAT's a much more valid reason, ha!

Quote:
I think I will rework some ( very crudely made) pieces that made a few years ago in high school. These will need a lot of work to look right and fit properly!


Never throw anything like that out! (Well, *almost* never...) I've got a number of pieces in regular use that used to be horrible things.

Quote:
I've been saving linen rags and remnants of clothing and tablecloths, etc. for several years now. I don't think I have enough for a full gambeson, but I should have plenty enough for a coif.


Keep hitting those thrift shops! Even the pink oval tablecloths are useful.

Quote:
In the second picture, you can see an arming cap that I did a while back as well... It's ugly, but works well enough as a liner for my helmet. I think I may rework this as well. As you can see, I first sewed the seams, and then added the stuffing. However that would be a bit problematic for any kind of protective armor, because every seam is a very thin area which would easily be penetrated. Does anyone have any advice on properly quilting these?


I *believe* the current wisdom is that the layers are first put together and THEN quilted. Easy enough with cotton batting, but dunno if it's practical with rags. Though I'm not sure what might be known about the use of rags for padding, and I'm not sure I'd try it. I made a cushion for a stool with linen rag padding, and it's always been terribly lumpy! It might help to shred it all up into much finer pieces.

You'll be quilting by hand, by the way! Not only will that avoid mechanical disasters, it's the proper way to do it. And linen hems should always be turned under twice to conceal that cut edge and keep it from fraying. You probably already know that quilting something makes it "shrink", becoming smaller overall in length and width because of how the fabric is drawn in. Remember to allow for that when cutting the pieces out!

Happy sewing!

Matthew
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Matthew Velardo





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PostPosted: Sat 06 Jun, 2015 8:36 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
The problem, as noted early on in this thread, is that there are no literary references to gambesons, aketons, pourpoints, jupons, etc. in the 11th century in Western Europe. It is highly unlikely that Bishop Odo is wearing some padded textile armor that no one had ever heard of before. Perhaps it is a jaserant, scale armor, or some leather lamellar armor brought from Sicily? Wace mentions Odo wearing a white shirt.


That is a very good point! Perhaps it could be some sort of locally made armor, or even something more exotic.

Quote:

Well, as was said, soldiers had what their wealth or income could afford. For many centuries, most warriors fought with only spear and shield, and that was never seen as suicidal. Just the way it was! So anyone who was supposed to have a 30-layer jack could afford it, by legal definition.

Are you still aiming for the 11th century? Because (as was also said) that's before we have any evidence for gambesons or acketons. Just sayin'... Obviously mail plus padding is better than just mail, but the whole "blunt force trauma" thing is WAY overplayed these days, and really doesn't seem to have been a great concern to the ancients.


Right, I suppose most medieval soldiers went into battle with nothing more than a tunic and shield for protection! I'll still try to complete the gambeson.... but I guess that I'll have to use that for later periods... Thanks for the sewing advice!
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Sat 06 Jun, 2015 1:48 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Matthew Amt wrote:
Keep hitting those thrift shops! Even the pink oval tablecloths are useful.

Yep. I recently picked up a terribly gaudy leather belt for $5 that was made from woven strips of leather. I unravelled it and ended up with about $30-$50 of leather thonging (and a $5 belt buckle).

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Matthew Velardo





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PostPosted: Sat 06 Jun, 2015 4:01 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan Howard wrote:
Matthew Amt wrote:
Keep hitting those thrift shops! Even the pink oval tablecloths are useful.

Yep. I recently picked up a terribly gaudy leather belt for $5 that was made from woven strips of leather. I unravelled it and ended up with about $30-$50 of leather thonging (and a $5 belt buckle).


Great Idea! I see those all of the time but never considered un-braiding them.

Does anyone have any information on the thickness of wool used in medieval clothing? I assume most fabrics (especially homespun) had a fairly thicker weave than we're used to. Last summer I was able to get my hands on a huge collection of very nice wool blankets at an estate sale.... for 4$ each. I bought most of them... but now have more wool than I know what to do with! There are a few that I think are light enough for tunics, trousers, hose, etc, but perhaps the thicker ones would be good for cloaks?
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Matthew Amt




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PostPosted: Sun 07 Jun, 2015 8:17 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Matthew Velardo wrote:
Does anyone have any information on the thickness of wool used in medieval clothing? I assume most fabrics (especially homespun) had a fairly thicker weave than we're used to. Last summer I was able to get my hands on a huge collection of very nice wool blankets at an estate sale.... for 4$ each. I bought most of them... but now have more wool than I know what to do with! There are a few that I think are light enough for tunics, trousers, hose, etc, but perhaps the thicker ones would be good for cloaks?


Ha, I always assume their fabrics were thinner and finer than ours! But from what I've seen, the weights ranged from thin enough to read through, to thick enough to stand up by itself. Sure, blankets will work for cloaks, and thinner ones may be good for heavy winter tunics. But for most clothing I usually look for suiting weight wools. It'll felt up a little in the washer when you prewash it (cold water, gentle cycle, hang dry).

Nice catch on the blankets, by the way! My local thrift shops don't usually have wool blankets, and linen is getting scarce, too.

Matthew
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Matthew Velardo





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PostPosted: Sun 07 Jun, 2015 5:58 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

OK, one more test!

I made a small 12CM x 12CM quilted square of 1 layer of linen stuffed with linen rags. It measures about 2.5CM thick. As you can probably see.... I really need to practice my stitching! A bit uneven!

It actually held up surprisingly well. Much better than I thought it would. I first did some tests with the sword; chops and gashes from the side. None of the cuts went deeper than 3 or 4 layers. I thought at first this was because I wasn't correctly swinging my sword (which I'm not.! I'm still practicing!) however I later took the piece to a wood block and chopped at it with a very sharp knife. Almost all of my previous test pieces were cut clean through, but this was cut no more than half through. It took several heavy chops to completely cut through the linen.

The next test was stabbing. I was able to penetrate all layers with most of the stabs, but the fabric did create some very effective resistance otherwise. It seems to have had good effect.

I don't have a bow and arrow to test with... but I'm sure this would help a bit.

Before I sew an entire gambeson, I think I will start with an arming hood or coif. Does anyone have advice on flexibility? It seems as if something as thick as my test piece would be a bit difficult to move in....

Thanks!



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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Sun 07 Jun, 2015 7:00 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That type of quilting is ok for underpadding but not for armour. The more rows and the closer the spacing the better. Denser quilting will compress it further and can improve rigidity. Take a look at the arm guards of good quality kendo armour to see how dense this type of quilting needs to be. You also need a LOT more stuffing. This kind of armour needs to be 3-4 fingers thick before you compress it down with quilting. The final result should be around 2 fingers thick. Keep in mind that proper textile armour is pretty stiff. It flexes around the body like plywood and you "float" inside it just like a steel cuirass.
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Mart Shearer




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PostPosted: Sun 07 Jun, 2015 10:13 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

There also seem to be two "schools" of textile armor: A shell filled with loose fiber (cotton, tow, flocking, fluff, or old rags), and the armors made from multiple layers of fabric like Louis XI's jacks (new fabric shell with 25-30 layers of worn fabric and a deerskin cover).
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Mon 08 Jun, 2015 12:05 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mart Shearer wrote:
There also seem to be two "schools" of textile armor: A shell filled with loose fiber (cotton, tow, flocking, fluff, or old rags), and the armors made from multiple layers of fabric like Louis XI's jacks (new fabric shell with 25-30 layers of worn fabric and a deerskin cover).

There are also examples made from both types of construction. They might consist of around a dozen layers of cloth in addition to stuffing like a cushion. IIRC one example consisted of two shells made from a few layers of cloth stuffed with loose filling then both of these "cushions" were quilted and compressed together into the final armour.

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Mart Shearer




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PostPosted: Mon 08 Jun, 2015 12:43 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It gets to be nigh impossible to push a needle through 30 layers of fabric. It must have been easier to assemble thinner sub-assemblies thinned at the edges. Sew six layers and stack the components 4 times, before placing in a shell of 2-6 more layers.
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Pieter B.





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PostPosted: Mon 08 Jun, 2015 5:50 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mart Shearer wrote:
It gets to be nigh impossible to push a needle through 30 layers of fabric. It must have been easier to assemble thinner sub-assemblies thinned at the edges. Sew six layers and stack the components 4 times, before placing in a shell of 2-6 more layers.


I am not a tailor but would an awl be enough to get through 30 layers of fabric? If that is possible it seems like an easier and less time consuming way to quilt it.
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Mart Shearer




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PostPosted: Mon 08 Jun, 2015 6:11 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Pieter B. wrote:
Mart Shearer wrote:
It gets to be nigh impossible to push a needle through 30 layers of fabric. It must have been easier to assemble thinner sub-assemblies thinned at the edges. Sew six layers and stack the components 4 times, before placing in a shell of 2-6 more layers.


I am not a tailor but would an awl be enough to get through 30 layers of fabric? If that is possible it seems like an easier and less time consuming way to quilt it.


Perhaps. Or a hammer and nail? I've always wondered if jacks like this one on the Shrine of St. Ursula aren't button tufted, like modern sofa cushions.


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Matthew Amt




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PostPosted: Mon 08 Jun, 2015 9:04 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Pieter B. wrote:
I am not a tailor but would an awl be enough to get through 30 layers of fabric? If that is possible it seems like an easier and less time consuming way to quilt it.


Hoo, not sure I'd try an awl. Too much chance of the fabric shifting slightly when you pull it out, so you lose the hole before you can get the needle through. And you don't want an awl that's too sharp, or it will cut threads instead of just shoving them aside.

Don't know!

Matthew
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Pieter B.





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PostPosted: Mon 08 Jun, 2015 10:33 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Matthew Amt wrote:
Pieter B. wrote:
I am not a tailor but would an awl be enough to get through 30 layers of fabric? If that is possible it seems like an easier and less time consuming way to quilt it.


Hoo, not sure I'd try an awl. Too much chance of the fabric shifting slightly when you pull it out, so you lose the hole before you can get the needle through. And you don't want an awl that's too sharp, or it will cut threads instead of just shoving them aside.

Don't know!

Matthew


Some modern day ones can carry the thread along without having to use a needle afterwards. Not historical as far as I know but it might work for a reproduction.

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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Mon 08 Jun, 2015 2:32 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Pieter B. wrote:
Mart Shearer wrote:
It gets to be nigh impossible to push a needle through 30 layers of fabric. It must have been easier to assemble thinner sub-assemblies thinned at the edges. Sew six layers and stack the components 4 times, before placing in a shell of 2-6 more layers.


I am not a tailor but would an awl be enough to get through 30 layers of fabric?

You don't really need an awl to make the hole but you need pliers to pull the needle through the other side. If you wanted mechanical assistance I would think that the old sewing machines they use for making saddles would work.

Matt's right about not breaking threads. You want to push the weave out of the way, not cut through it, so use a needle that is a little blunt.

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Matthew Velardo





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PostPosted: Mon 08 Jun, 2015 3:24 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
That type of quilting is ok for underpadding but not for armour. The more rows and the closer the spacing the better. Denser quilting will compress it further and can improve rigidity. Take a look at the arm guards of good quality kendo armour to see how dense this type of quilting needs to be. You also need a LOT more stuffing. This kind of armour needs to be 3-4 fingers thick before you compress it down with quilting. The final result should be around 2 fingers thick. Keep in mind that proper textile armour is pretty stiff. It flexes around the body like plywood and you "float" inside it just like a steel cuirass.


Right, it may need to be a bit thicker and more condensed, although I don't think it would work well as padding.... it is pretty hard and stiff! Not great for comfort! Happy

I cut my sample in half to see how many "layers" I had. I counted about 22 layers on linen, give or take a few in other areas. The rags that I used were mostly no smaller than 12cm in any direction, so although the were stuffed in, they did create several thick layers of linen. Of course, this would not be as strong as a gambeson with 20 individual layers of cloth, but may be comparable to a one with say, 15-16 layers.

[img]

It was tough to sew through, but I think that it would be much easier with a very thick needle and thimble. Perhaps even pliers to help pull the needle through.



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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Mon 08 Jun, 2015 3:56 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Matthew Velardo wrote:
I cut my sample in half to see how many "layers" I had. I counted about 22 layers on linen, give or take a few in other areas. The rags that I used were mostly no smaller than 12cm in any direction, so although the were stuffed in, they did create several thick layers of linen. Of course, this would not be as strong as a gambeson with 20 individual layers of cloth, but may be comparable to a one with say, 15-16 layers.

I thought that you used loose stuffing rather than multiple layers. What you have there is actually pretty good. All you need is a lot more rows of quilting, spaced around a cm or so apart, and you'll have a decent test patch for a light jack (one that was worn over mail rather than by itself). Keep in mind that a lot of the linen that is commercialy available today would barely be good enough to use as rags in the past. The closest modern equivalent to armour-grade linen would be what you find in expensive linen tablecloths.

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