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:
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.
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.
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.
Pourpoint is a fabric short quilted jacket with a slim fit waist and puffed-up chest.
Jacques (jack) is multi-layer fabric short jacket, used as separate infantry armour. Sometimes it was worn over the mail armour.
Types of gambesons
- Eastern (Mongolian gambesons) – typical for East and nomads warriors – long padded gown perfect to be worn under Chinese lamellar, Mongolian armor, scale armour, or any other scale and lamellar armors. But it was also used by itself just with metal rings sewn in.
- European gambesons are the most popular and famous. Unlike the East ones, they are mostly much shorter and tighter. They had a lot of variations like:
- gambeson – padded jack worn under armour – Medieval leather gambeson,
- aketon – quilted jacket worn under or over the armor – Medieval aketon of leather,
- doublet – short padded jacket that looked more like civilian clothes – arming doublet,
- pourpoint – short quilted jacket with a slim fit waist and puffed-up chest – pourpoint of Charles de Blois stylisation.
- jacque (jack) – multi-layer widespread padded jacket that even gave its name to peasants revolts – Jacquerie.
- Female gambesons were made by special patterns to fit ladies' figures perfectly. Female royal sleeveless gambeson with delicate feminine silhouette will allow you to look like a true Lady in the heart of battle.
- HEMA jackets (HEMA gambesons) are modern quilted protection designed especially for fighters who take part in Historical European martial arts. Steel Mastery offers everything from simple training fencing set to elegant HEMA style gambeson.
- Renaissance gambesons were shortest and dandy ones like this puffed sleeves doublet.
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.
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:
We can produce different types of them: short, long, sleeveless, short sleeved, closed-front.
Gambeson options: you can choose one or make your own design.
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.
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.
General 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