Gambesons

Welcome to section Gambeson or Gambison if we were speaking Middle English. Here you can see various models of padded clothes, which were worn by medieval knights.

 

Gambeson

Aketon

Doublet

Pourpoint

Jacques

 

Let’s try to understand what it is:

  1. Gambeson in a broad sense is a padded jack, worn under or over an armour, or in a narrower context - quilted or printed fabric or leather long jacket, worn under the armour. It was also used as a separate kind of armour.
  2. Aketon - (the term "aketon" comes from borrowing from the Arabic language al-qutn "cotton") is a cotton or linen jacket, worn under the armour, composed of several layers of thick cloth or leather, quilted together. It can be both short-sleeved, and even without them. Sometimes leather cords were sewn to the sleeves of aketon to fix the armour.
  3. Doublet is a leather or fabric short jacket, worn under the plate armour. Unlike gambeson (in a narrow context) and aketon, doublet looked more like civilian clothes.
  4. Pourpoint is a fabric short padded jacket with a slim fit waist and puffed-up chest.
  5. Jacques (jack) is multi-layer fabric short jacket, used as separate infantry armour. Sometimes it was worn over the mail armour.

 

For tailoring of the submitted models of medieval outfits we use only natural materials. This provides not only sufficient level of protection, but also appropriate level of comfort.


Gambeson cut options and used materials will satisfy all over customers:

  • supporters of historical authority - reenactments
  • participants of SCA events
  • Larp - "Live Action Role-Playing" participants

The proposed site models take into account the various specifics of our gambesons. At the wish of the customer it can be machine or hand sewing.

 

As a set for gambeson warp we offer different materials:

  • linen
  • silk
  • cotton
  • wool
  • velvet
  • leather
  • suede

For the lining we use:

  • cotton
  • silk 
  • linen 

We can produce different types of them:

short black gambeson

long blue gambeson

sleeveless black gambeson

short sleeved red gambeson

closed-front black medieval gambeson

 

Gambeson options:

  • Combination of two or four colored gambeson is possible. 
  • If you wish historical (mottos, names of city or area) and free nature inscriptions can be embroidered on it. 
  • The sleeve of the gambeson can be completely sewn or with a hole under the armpit for better mobility. 
  • Padding can be done vertically, anatomically or rhomb-shaped. 
  • The bottom edge can be decorated with festoons with configuration selected by the customer. 
  • In case if the gambeson must be fastened we offer a choice of buttons (metal, cast bronze with ornaments, buttons covered with cloth) or leather lacing. 
  • For the plate items fastening to the gambeson we recommend to use additional leather straps on the sleeves. 
  • It is possible to select the number of layers of padding (from 2 to 6) to create the padded armour of desired thickness. 

 

Only few simple actions are required to buy the wished gambeson armour, aketon or doublet:


1.       Open the page of needed model;

2.       Choose outer and inner fabric for you padded under armour and its colour;

3.       Choose type of sleeve attachment;

4.       Select your size;

5.       Choose type of fastening;

6.       Add leather fastenings for plate arms, if required;

7.       Choose decoration;

8.       Select quantity of layers of padding, depending on your main armour.

If you wish to order such item, please choose first colour in options, and send us the second colour (and layout of colours) to sales@steel-mastery.com

Every model is hand-made according to the medieval patterns and customer’s individual measurements and regards.

Once you choose all options, add product to cart and make a payment. Then our manager will contact you with measurement request and specification of order’s details.


If you ran into any difficulties with choosing or you did not find required padded jack in this category, we can make it individually for you. Just send us picture with detailed description to sales@steel-mastery.com, so we could quote you and discuss details of order.

 

Historical pause

Padded vests were in use in Asian countries for a long time. However, European knights saw the true value of padded under armour only in the XII-XIII centuries. Such clothing was called padded jacket, gambeson, aketon or doublet. All these types were rather similar in meaning, but had own characteristics and differences.  For example, aketon could be worn under the main armour, and highly decorated thin gambeson was worn over the body defense. Sometimes it could be combined: sleeveless gambeson was worn over the aketon to reinforce its protective features.


 

eastern_gambeson


General feature of padded under armour was design. There was rather thick jacket, which had vertical or horizontal quilting. Sleeves were puffed or flared a little. Their length could vary: some gambesons did not have sleeves at all.  Cut of body part was straight or a fitted a bit. Gambeson was usually knee-length or had length to the middle of thighs. Bottom edge was plain or decorated with fancy festoons. Buttons, belts with buckles or simple strings served in place of fastenings. Collar of padded jack was short or could be missing at all.


aketon_with_festoon_edge

 

Such variety of models was explained by its functional purposes and depended on the main armour, which warrior was wearing over the padded protection (chainmail, plate or combined armour). The necessity of padded jack was very high: it amortized power of a blow. Besides, weight of main armour was dividing better on the body of knight. It was common, when enemy’s arrow hit the outer shell and stick into the thick gambeson without any harm for warrior.


ordinary_gambeson

 

Poor soldier, such as infantrymen, archers, crossbowmen, were hard up for full-plate body defense. Therefore, they had to be satisfied with padded gambeson or aketon as the only budget-friendly protective clothing. They were adding quantity of layers of padding to increase protective properties of gambeson.


sleeves_gambeson_of_infantryman

 

Many paintings of padded under armour are survived, not only on the ancient frescoes, but also on the pages of old manuscripts. For example, there are stained-glass artworks in the church of St. Magdalene (Judenburg, Austria) or numerous illustrations in “The Morgan Bible” (also known as “Maciejowski Bible”, XIII century). All of them are speaking for wide and common usage of padded clothing in the medieval Europe.

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