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What is gambeson?

What is gambeson? 2018-11-02

Gambeson is an under-armour padded jacket. As cover fabric we use linen, cotton, wool and other materials.  For the padding we take the mixture of cotton (50%) and wool (50%). All the materials are 100% natural, no synthetics, so your body is not overheated and can breathe.

How to choose the right gambeson model and its options? 

If the historisity is your main concern, check carefully the gambeson’s historical period in the description. If the practical side is more important, then take something durable and convenient for your goals. If you are going to fight, choose a model with long sleeve, if you need it more for a show or you are an archer, take a short sleeve model.

Now let's go through all the gambeson options:


Here you can choose your outer material: linen, cotton, wool, velvet, silk or lether. Choosing fabric for your gambeson, consider your historical image’s social status and historical period. If you re-enact a knight, don’t take cotton or linen (it’s too cheap), but take velvet or silk. If you are a simple soldier, take linen, wool or leather. 

If your re-enactment period is before the 13 century then linen, leather or wool are a good choices. Starting from the 13 century silk, velvet, leather for the rich people, and linen, wool, leather for the poor.

From the practical point of view, the best choice is a gambeson made of leather or wool.

As for the cotton, in general it is not very historical fabric, it was available only in the south.

Layers of padding

We can make a gambeson with 1 to 6 layers of padding. If you wear good plate armour or brigandine, normally 3 layers of padding are enough. If you are not so sure about the strength of your armour or you wear just a chainmail, we recomment to take a thicker gambeson – 4-6 layers.


Fastenings may be of 3 types: leather laces, leather straps with buckles and buttons. 

The laces may end with either steel points or brass points. The buckles may be nickel-clad (more durable) and brass (more historical). The buttons may be normal or covered with fabric. Rich people normally used buttons, the poor used leather laces.

Fastenings for steel arms

These are leather laces which you will use to fasten your armour (spaulders, arms) to the body. We can sew them on the gambeson or just put them separately into your shipping parcel, so you can do it yourself specifically for your armour.

Design of the bottom edge

Here you can choose to have either a plain bottom edge of your gambeson or pick one of the numerous scallops designs. Choose one the patterns displayed or offer your own one.

Two-color design

You can choose to have two-color design: left side of one color, right side of another. Or even make it chess-like: left top and right bottom in one color and right top and left bottom in another. The colors are up to you, of course.

Lining fabric

The inner fabric for your gambeson. It may be cotton, linen or silk.

Men's size/price

Our products’ price depend on the size, as amount of work and materials differ considerably.  We ask your size (XS, S, M, L, XL, 2XL…) for our made-to-measure products only in order to make the price correction; the products will not be made in the standard size you have selected.  Once you have placed an order we’ll get in touch and request all your personal measurements we need to make the products fit you perfectly.

Attaching of the sleeves

Sleeves can be of 3 types: standard (normally sewed), laced with leather straps (so can be attached or detached at any time), and “half-sewed” sleeve,  with a hole under the armpit (provides better mobilty than standard sleeve).

The options Color and Leather for fastening are pretty self-explanatory, here you choose the color.

What is gambeson?



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Marcus B

Marcus B 2019-11-17 18:57:07

Sehr gut verarbeitet passt und sehr stabil. Sieht auch Klasse aus. Bin sehr zufrieden.


Volker 2019-07-19 20:16:39

Awesome armor! Sturdy but not too heavy. Fits perfect and provides good protection. And thanks to the front straps: you can actually put it on all on your own (which accelerates everything very well). Nice work, thanks!


Oliver 2019-05-28 16:29:07

the brigandine arrived today. It fits perfectly. Thank you and the crafters very much.


Clara 2019-05-17 15:49:55

Hello, I have received my brigandine and I can inform you that I am extremely satisfied with the quality. It both fits and looks amazing. If I had the money I would definitely buy from steel mastery again. : )


Arno 2019-04-24 12:13:37

I got my brigandine and very satisfied with it! Quality workmanship and materials (I have it made of beautiful wine red velvet with brass rivets). Staprs are strong enough. Also a big thanks for additional rivets and straps.