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Medieval gambeson

Gambeson is a padded jacket – indispensable with plate armor and practical by itself. Various models of quilted body protection, shown in this section, were used by medieval knights in different historical periods. Our gambesons are made-to-measure custom models and perfect choice for reenactors and fans of history.

About Medieval gambeson

Gambeson actively used in medieval epoch Europe in XIV century. It came from an aketon, a suit jacket or a gambison (from the English Gambeson). Knights used medieval gambeson as an indispensable element of armor plate (under drawer) or as an independent armor.

Traditionally, parts of knights armor were attached to the gambeson sleeves by linen or silk cords. In different times, this kind of armor called as a "fighting jacket". Such armor outfit was an integral part of the knight's kit. Gambeson was as an underwear of a breastplate or chain mail.

As an independent armor Gambeson was made of thick materials (presumably, the material for it was leather). Sometimes leather gambeson had from 18 to 30 protective layers.

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 quilted 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.

     Types of gambesons

For tailoring of the gambeson 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 gambeson can be machine or hand sewing.

As a set for gambeson warp we offer different materials (colors available): linen, silk, cotton, wool, velvet, leather, pattern fabric/brocade.

linen linen for gambeson
silk silk for gambeson
cotton cotton for gambeson
wool woolen for gambeson
velvet velvet for gambeson
leather leather for gambeson


Steel Mastery offer your beautiful brocade and jacqaurd of various colors and patterns. Choose a favourite one for your medieval outfit in this article

For the lining we use:

  • cotton
  • silk 
  • linen 

We can produce different types of them: short, long, sleeveless, short sleeved, closed-front. 

short Gambeson, short gambeson, black gambeson
long Gambeson, long gambeson, jousting gambeson
sleeveless Gambeson, sleevless gambeson
short sleeved Gambeson, short-sleeved gambeson
closed-front Gambeson, closed-front gambeson

Gambeson options: you can choose one or make your own design.


  • Gambeson could be ONE, TWO or FOUR colored combination. 
Gambeon, one colored gambeson, gambeson by Steel Mastery Gambeson, two colored gambeson, gambeson by Steel Mastery
  • If you wish historical (mottos, names of city or area) and free nature inscriptions can be embroidered on it. 
Gambeson blue motto gambeson blue embroidery gambeson by steel mastery Gambeson red motto gambeson red embroidery gambeson by steel mastery Gambeson yellow motto gambeson yellow embroidery gambeson by steel mastery
  • Gambeson sleeves can be completely sewn, with a hole under the armpit or laced for better mobility. 
Gambeson sleeves gambeson by steel mastery standard Gambeson sleeves gambeson by steel mastery with holes Gambeson sleeves gambeson by steel mastery laced
  • Gambeson padding can be done vertically, rhomb-shaped or any other shape. 

  • Gambeson bottom edge can be decorated with festoons with configuration selected by the customer.
Gambeson bottom edge style 1 Gambeson bottom edge style 2 Gambeson bottom edge style 3 Gambeson bottom edge style 4
  • 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. 
Gambeson leather laces Steel mastery     Gambeson casting buckles Steel mastery
  • It is possible to select the number of layers of padding (from 1 to 5) to create the gambeson of desired thickness. If you don’t know how many layers of padding you need for gambeson or chausses, you can order this samples.   

Contact us

If you have any questions and additional wishes, please contact us via email [email protected] and we will be happy to provide any advice and assistance. 

Historical pause

Quilted vests were in use in Asian countries for a long time. However, European knights saw the true value of medieval under armour only in the XII-XIII centuries. Such clothing was called 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.

gambeson by Steel MasteryGeneral feature of medieval 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 pl

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Review about items

Long Knight gambeson of the XI-XV centuries
Long Knight gambeson of the XI-XV centuries

I work in a professional jousting group and this gambison with custom design is amazing. Looks incredible and insanely detailed. I have zero issues and it's built to last. Though custom work is expensive but the dollar goes extremely far and I'll never have to buy a new gambson.

HEMA style gambeson with diamond stitching
HEMA style gambeson with diamond stitching

While the gambeson took a bit longer to arrive than I had initially expected, it was well worth the wait. It fits perfectly and feels amazing to wear around. I am extremely pleased with my purchase!

HEMA style gambeson with diamond stitching
Michel Coryat
HEMA style gambeson with diamond stitching

Got mine a few days ago and the quality is amazing. It is a solid, super well built item. The first thing I’ve ordered from steel mastery, I was a little worried it might have been a tad tight since I’ve never ordered anything custom fitted with my exact measurements before. It fits me so well and comfortably too. Staff was very communicative about the process updates too, and again, beautiful craftsmanship. Will be ordering more things in the future. Truly an amazing first purchase.

Long Knight gambeson of the XI-XV centuries
Long Knight gambeson of the XI-XV centuries

Just received my