Fabric for 15th Century Arming Doublet

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Grez
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Fabric for 15th Century Arming Doublet

Postby Grez » Fri Feb 12, 2010 4:45 pm

Hi,

I'm trying to find a supplier of heavy weight Fustian, Canvas and Silk, so I (my dear wife) can make a 15th Century Arming Doublet from. Can anyone recommend a supplier of these fabrics?

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Grez..



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Re: Fabric for 15th Century Arming Doublet

Postby Colin Middleton » Mon Feb 15, 2010 1:46 pm

Lindy from Cloth Hall was selling some Fustian last autumn.


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Re: Fabric for 15th Century Arming Doublet

Postby Dave B » Mon Feb 15, 2010 2:24 pm

Isn't there a bit of a minefield about what Fustian actualy means in period? I couldn't quite get my head round it.

Whether it implies specificaly a twill weave?

Or a cloth of mixed linen and cotton?

Or more specificaly a cloth with a linen warp and a cotton weft?

Or does the etymology Fustis (tree trunk) simply suggest that it meant cotton (as cotton, unlike linen grows on trees)

Or is the etymology from Fustat, an egyptian town famous for fabric?


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Re: Fabric for 15th Century Arming Doublet

Postby Sophia » Mon Feb 15, 2010 11:19 pm

Originally from the Italian "Fustigiano" which IIRC means cotton - not sure of precise Etymology and textile books still awol in various boxes. Generally is a cloth with a linen or wool warp with a cotton weft, there not being the technology at the time to spin cotton to the quality required to warp.

For Fustian of various types I have used the following:

Coarse Fustian canvas - 2:2 or 1:1 weave linen/cotton natural coloured furnishing fabric where the cotton runs one way and the linen the other - in modern fabrics the weft is generally cotton so I rotate the fabric. Successfully made a 1530's doublet for Peter in this last year and intend to make another one and a 1450's one as well. This fabric is excellent for a working doublet in hot weather though if you are doing dirty jobs you need to pre-wash everything so it can be cleaned or keep it for dirty. If you are being posh then a white doublet is a much of a status symbol as a black one. IIRC many of the doublets in the written record are canvas (linen/fustian) or linen for commoners. It is worth boiling this before use to tighten the weave up. Ebay is an excellent source for remnants.

Holmes Fustian (from Ulm) - wool and cotton suiting with a a raised ridged nap (was lucky enough to find some excellent remnants). This has been used for a pair of 1580's fustian sleeves and to line a raised collar worsted parlet for 1500's wear. Ninya Mikhaila approved this choice when I made it.

Naples Fustian (velvet type nap, high end) - Ninya has recommended using good quality lycra free cotton moleskin to replicate the hand and weight of this fabric. I have some in stock and may well be using it this year.

Lightweight lining fustian - a linen/cotton union cloth if you can lay your hands on it, occasionally turns up on Ebay. I will admit to owning 10m of a very fine 2:2 weave loomstate linen/cotton cloth similar to the canvas I described above. This was bought on Ebay and I intend to boil it before use to tighten up the weave.

In addition when I spoke to Sarah Thursfield at the last TORM she was experimenting with using very high quality dyed twill linens to mimic middle class to posh doublet weight fustian. The cloth she was using had a good weight (fitted skirt weight or summer suit weight) and a high lustre, i.e. not your average re-enactment linen. I do not think she had pre-washed it and it would probably need dry cleaning.

There are definitely good definitions of the term "Fustian" in The Tudor Tailor and in Textiles of the Common People (R. Morris, Stuart Press) both the 1480-1580 and 1580-1680 books.

Hope this is helpful. :D


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Re: Fabric for 15th Century Arming Doublet

Postby Tuppence » Tue Feb 16, 2010 12:37 am

Fustian is not the only fabric used for padding, and there does seem to be an almost dogmatic over reliance on using it for arming garments, as if people have plucked that out of sources as being a period fabric, while they completely overlook the numerous mentions of linen and canvas (which can be the same thing).



All the silk suppliers I use are trade only, so can't help there, but what type of canvas? It comes in many fibres.


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Re: Fabric for 15th Century Arming Doublet

Postby Grez » Tue Feb 16, 2010 9:57 am

Hi,

Basically the armorer that is making my harness has recommended that I make my arming doublet from a lining of heavy weight silk, with two or three layers of heavy weight canvas and an outer layer of fustian as apparently it resists wear better but I'm happy to use another layer of canvas to be honest. I was thinking of using either 10oz or 12 oz canvas, but I would be grateful of any advice?

Cheers
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Re: Fabric for 15th Century Arming Doublet

Postby Nigel » Mon Feb 22, 2010 7:29 pm

could I suggest that you ask anarmourer for advice on armour and a tailor for advice on padding which looks to me like has been given


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Re: Fabric for 15th Century Arming Doublet

Postby Tuppence » Tue Feb 23, 2010 12:27 pm

it does very much depend on how good your armourer is, but armour from the best ones will require little more than a linen (shirtweight) lining, and a heavyish linen outer - perhaps with a little padding over the shoulders).

if your armour requires more padding than that (excluding those that are not full harness), then the padding is required to stop your armour from rubbing, in which case it's not a good enough fit.

I'd avoid silk like the plague, because being an animal fibre, it doesn't breathe in the way that linen does. It's better than a synth, but not the best. And the heavier the silk, the less it will breathe. It won't be terribly uncomfortable unless you use a satin or long pattern brocade or brocatelle (which will stick to you if you sweat), but it will not have the moisture wicking properties that linen does.

Added to that, an arming doublet is a garment made to be used, trashed in the using, and thrown away (just as in medieval times), so why would you want to waste money buying heavy silk?



And as for the 'do I know of what I speak' questions - nige can put me right, but I think I made around 30 or 40 arming doublets last year.


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Re: Fabric for 15th Century Arming Doublet

Postby Colin Middleton » Tue Feb 23, 2010 1:47 pm

Tuppence wrote:it does very much depend on how good your armourer is, but armour from the best ones will require little more than a linen (shirtweight) lining, and a heavyish linen outer - perhaps with a little padding over the shoulders).


That sounds to be a lighter construction than the doublet described in the MTA for wear without armour. I would expect an arming doublet to have a tougher interlining than a normal doublet, as it has to support the weight of the armour plates (which in the case of my pauldrons, is considerable) and probably have a few layers to it's structure for safety (we were discussing the proababiliy and depth of armour penetration at SWASH this weekend and concluded that an arming doublet with at bit of thickness to it, would protect you from almost anything that might penetrate your plate.

Tuppence wrote:I'd avoid silk like the plague, because being an animal fibre, it doesn't breathe in the way that linen does. It's better than a synth, but not the best. And the heavier the silk, the less it will breathe. It won't be terribly uncomfortable unless you use a satin or long pattern brocade or brocatelle (which will stick to you if you sweat), but it will not have the moisture wicking properties that linen does.

Added to that, an arming doublet is a garment made to be used, trashed in the using, and thrown away (just as in medieval times), so why would you want to waste money buying heavy silk?


I'm surprised at this comment as one of the surviving manuscripts on the subject recomends using a satin lining. Why do you think they advised that, given the bad experiences that you've had with it? I'd been told by some-one else that silk has better heat control properties than wool, is this incorrect?

Many thanks


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Re: Fabric for 15th Century Arming Doublet

Postby Grez » Thu Feb 25, 2010 1:45 pm

Tuppence wrote:I'd avoid silk like the plague, because being an animal fibre, it doesn't breathe in the way that linen does.


Thanks, I will take onboard what you have said and switch the lining to linen.

Thanks again

Grez..



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Re: Fabric for 15th Century Arming Doublet

Postby Laffin Jon Terris » Tue Mar 02, 2010 9:18 am

I have used a silk lining in my arming doublet for a few years now, it's fantastic.

When laid out in the sun, the silk wicks away the sweat from the fabric of the doublet and it is dry and comfortable to wear for the next battle in normally 30 minutes.

If you "pink" the silk (ie cut it full of holes) it does not stick to your skin and is easy to remove from your body.

I am making a new arming doublet this season and am undecided wether to have a silk lining or not. I may make one that I can remove and clean separate from the rest of the doublet.

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Re: Fabric for 15th Century Arming Doublet

Postby Hecate » Tue Mar 30, 2010 4:57 pm

From the information I've gathered over the years Silk satin was used as it slips off the skin and doesn't stick.... ask Allan Harley, I'm sure he's had at least one lined with silk



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Re: Fabric for 15th Century Arming Doublet

Postby lucy the tudor » Tue Mar 30, 2010 11:21 pm

I had special silk underwear for hill walking, particularly wonderful for wicking sweat and drying quickly. I wore it for over ten years at least once a week, until it eventually gave up the ghost, marvelous stuff, and very good value, as Paddington would say. :wink:


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Re: Fabric for 15th Century Arming Doublet

Postby Tuppence » Wed Apr 07, 2010 12:17 pm

I would expect an arming doublet to have a tougher interlining than a normal doublet, as it has to support the weight of the armour plates (which in the case of my pauldrons, is considerable) and probably have a few layers to it's structure for safety (we were discussing the proababiliy and depth of armour penetration at SWASH this weekend and concluded that an arming doublet with at bit of thickness to it, would protect you from almost anything that might penetrate your plate.


However, and arming doublet with thickness is not an arming doublet, it's a jack.

The thickness will reduce your movement in the same way that wearing a jack will, and is next to impossible to make tight enough for the armour to function properly, especially around the sleeve area.

I suspect that your definition of a heavy linen and mine are fairly substantially different.


I'm surprised at this comment as one of the surviving manuscripts on the subject recomends using a satin lining. Why do you think they advised that, given the bad experiences that you've had with it? I'd been told by some-one else that silk has better heat control properties than wool, is this incorrect?



silk wicks moisture better than any other animal fibre, but it is still an animal fibre, and it can't compete with linen. It's to do with the genetic make up of the fibre itself, and is explained best by looking at microscopic pictures.

surviving manuscripts also point out that silk linings have to be slashed to allow the heat out. which was fine contemoprarily, but is a bit of a problem now, because it will reduce the life of the garment. there are silks that would be suitable, but they are not cheap, and can be hard to find.

I've had precisely one customer over the years who refused my advice regarding silk vs linen - he came back a year later and ordered a linen one.


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Re: Fabric for 15th Century Arming Doublet

Postby Colin Middleton » Wed Apr 07, 2010 12:49 pm

Tuppence wrote:
I would expect an arming doublet to have a tougher interlining than a normal doublet, as it has to support the weight of the armour plates (which in the case of my pauldrons, is considerable) and probably have a few layers to it's structure for safety (we were discussing the proababiliy and depth of armour penetration at SWASH this weekend and concluded that an arming doublet with at bit of thickness to it, would protect you from almost anything that might penetrate your plate.


However, and arming doublet with thickness is not an arming doublet, it's a jack.

The thickness will reduce your movement in the same way that wearing a jack will, and is next to impossible to make tight enough for the armour to function properly, especially around the sleeve area.

I suspect that your definition of a heavy linen and mine are fairly substantially different.


When I'm talking about 'a bit of thickness', I'm not intending anything as substantial as a jack. There is mention in the Paston letters of John's doublet being so 'well made' that it stopped a knife. Also, one of the kings of France used 28 yards (I think) of silk to make 2 doublets, surely that can only be acheived with lots of layers of interlining (or vast quantities of waste). I'm thinking more this kind of area, where the addition of a couple of extra layers of linen (or silk?) to the body will give it that extra thickness (which helps stop your armour rubbing), strengthen the garment to stop pulling and provide a level of protection against any points that might penetrate it.

This is just supposition, but I've not yet been able to find anything to indicate that it's wrong (and only 'coincidental' sugestions that it's correct).


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Re: Fabric for 15th Century Arming Doublet

Postby Sophia » Wed Apr 07, 2010 9:14 pm

Colin - you should remember that some silks were very narrow, 13" to 20" not being uncommon widths.


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Re: Fabric for 15th Century Arming Doublet

Postby Colin Middleton » Thu Apr 08, 2010 12:47 pm

Sophia wrote:Colin - you should remember that some silks were very narrow, 13" to 20" not being uncommon widths.


Even so, that should be plenty to make 4 doublets, unless you're using many layers.

I can't remember the details (it's in a handout at home), but it broke down as 4 types of silk, 2 were in 2 yard (or was it ells?) lengths and the other 2 were 12 yards each. It makes most sense that the short bits were for the facings and the rest of the silk layers up to provide the interlining. This should give a doublet that gives good protection against weapons and is comfortable to wear (assuming what everyone tells me about silk is correct), which makes perfect sense to me.


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