ACW Sport Optimized Samurai Sleeves


I have made a lot of friends in the Armored Combat Worldwide (ACW) arena. The region commander, Jacob Omer, wears a Sengoku period Samurai kit during his bouts. He approached me and asked me for some padded sleeves he could literally stitch the armor to like they did in feudal Japan. Unlike them, though, I had to pad it so A.) the armor wouldn’t rub, and B.) the constant blows he was taking in a fight wouldn’t leave him completely black and blue. Furthermore, they needed to be blue. I didn’t have blue linen at the time so I had to dye the material. 

Muslin Mockup

here we have the mockup stage where I test the pattern I flat drafted from his measurements. Typically I don’t test fit sleeves already stitched on. This was a special circumstance. 

Test Swatch

Always do a swatch before you dye the whole batch. Pro tip.

Linen Dying in the Vat

I think this process took something like 8 hours to get it to where I wanted it. But that’s probably because I took it out and rinsed /dried it, checked the color, and resubmerged it multiple times before the client and I were satisfied.

Drying the Dyed Linen

When the fabric is dyed, then washed,  it often bleeds still. So here I have it air drying on a towel to catch any excess dye before I start sewing the panels together.


Every panel is deliberately quilted. The direction of the stitch lines matters because Virtically the garment is allowed to “stretch” horizontally and vice versa. Biceps pull horizontally hence the vertical quilting. 

Completed Front Panel

1 Finished Sleeve

Close-up On Quilting

Quilting keeps the batting on the inside from moving around and getting mishapen.

Turned Edges

With A garment like this, there is no lining so you have to roll the edges in and ladder stitch them down. 

Sleeve Placket Before Eyelets

I’ve sewn this slit into the sleeve awaiting eyelet holes for laces.

Front View Finished.

Back View

Jacob Wearing the Final Product

You can see his vambraces have been permanently stitched to the forearm.