The Making of a Medieval Gambeson

This is a neat article.

It's All About The Dresses!

In the summer of 2009, I was asked by a friend of mine, Develon, if I could make an authentic Viking-Age Gambeson for him to use in live steel combat.  As I have done many sewing projects in the past, and have a specialization in historical clothing, I agreed.

After researching various styles of gambesons and arming coats in use throughout the middle ages, we decided that a quilted layered linen gambeson would be the best choice for the late Viking age, as it would consist entirely of materials easily available in Viking Scandinavia, and as layered linen gambesons were commonly used by the poorer classes as armor by themselves, unlike later quilted and stuffed gambesons that were primarily worn under other armor, whether chain or plate.  Henry Skodall, a German historian, in his report on armor during the Norman invasion, states that “medieval Steppwämse [gambesons] were not padded, but…

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