James Arming Jacet
This was the first of many arming jackets that I have made. The purpose of an arming jacket is to essentially hold armor onto a knight’s body, further more its padded so it both absorbs some blunt force and keeps armor from chaffing. I wanted to make a really nice one for myself and my future armor but had no idea how to go about it. My friend James told me he’d pay for materials if I’d make it for him. Since I had never made one I accepted. This project required a lot of patterning, even more quilting and A LOT of new needles for my sewing machine, and even some leather work. This garment needed to be hefty, so it’s made almost entirely of not one, not two, but 4 layers of linen (2 for the shell, 2 for the lining), plus an additional 5 layers of batting. This created an immediate issue of sizing. While I wanted the garment to be form fitted so as to distribute the weight of the armor well across the body, that many layers posed a bulk problem. That much fabric meant that I needed to account for a shrinking inner space of the garment. But I think for a first try it turned out as good as it possible could have.
As always you start with a design. When I knocked this up James hadn’t chosen a color quite yet, so what you see here is just a style line rendering.
James went with black.
The Bodice Pattern
James actually had just taken a patterning class so he had this sloper pattern that he let me borrow. I had to alter quite a bit (take in the sides, make the single part sleeve into a two part so I could put a bend in it etc) and then I added a few things as well.
You can see that I REALLY fitted it to him. When his leg armor pulls on the bottom of the jacket, the weight will pull on his hips rather than his shoulders where his breastplate will pull.
Laying Out the Pattern
I didn’t have a fancy cutting table for this project so I used my kitchen floor.
All the Pieces Cut Out
you can see the GENEROUS amount of seam allowance I have each panel. I really didn’t want the bulk of the fabric to squeeze him to death.
Here you can see the layout of the layers. 2 shell layers of linen, 5 layers of batting, and 2 layers of lining. In hind sight the lining didn’t need to be 2 layers thick, it wasn’t going to be taking much a abuse. .
Just becuase of the shear bulk of the panels I had to pin the snot out of them so the quilting would pull the fabric and pucker it.
Quilting keeps the batting on the inside from moving around and getting mishapen.
Quilted Shoulder Panel
The sleeve is sewn to this piece, which then ties to the bodice allowing a very free range of movement on the arms.
Points are where the armor ties to the jacket. I have reinforced the point with leather, used silk cords for tensile strength and capped them with metal aglets for easy threading.