HSM Challenge #5: practicality

I know that this is amazingly fast after just finishing challenge number 3 but it really did only take about 10 hours to make.  I also know this is out of sync…5 does not come after 3.  But, I needed this item before I could do challenge 4.  (And my challenge 4 item will take tons of time and if I’m too early for this one it will make up for being too late with the other…right?)

The plan is to make a birthday gift of a chain mail coif for my son who is into knights.  He has a helm that we bought him one year for his birthday.SAM_2781

Now I’d like to make the coif.  But, there is a padded cap that goes between the head and the chain mail and helm.  The cap helps with fit and keeps the metal bits from hurting the skull…especially when someone is slamming a broad sword into them!  In order to make sure I make the chain mail coif big enough, I thought I should make this padded cap first.  Luckily, my son has inherited my massive melon and I used my own head for sizing.

What the item is: Padded arming cap.


The Challenge: #5 practicality. It is practical as a foundation and protective garment that has very little to do with looking good (as the above photo demonstrates!)

Fabric: cotton fleece

Pattern: drafted from these instructions  which I adapted out of necessity.  After trying it on with the helm several times for fit, I was reminded that this helm has a tendency to scratch the face!  Ouch.SAM_2782
Year: this style showed up after 1500

Notions: thread, bias tape

How historically accurate is it? The pattern is okay.  The fact that I adapted the pattern based on the needs of the helm it would be worn with is very likely an authentic move.  It never would have been fleece (even if the fleece is made from a natural fiber) and it wouldn’t have been machine sewn.  And I’m not sure about the bias tape.  I don’t know how they would have finished the edges.  I’d give it 50%.  I don’t think my kid is all that worried about accuracy.  If he ever does start to care, I now have a pattern I can use with something more authentic.

Hours to complete: 10

First worn: not yet

Total cost: about $7

The cap has enough flexibility that I can add some padding to it if my son still finds that the helm moves around or sits too low on his face (so that he can’t see).  I don’t want to add that yet as the chain mail coif will take up room and affect how the helm fits.  If the coif goes well, next year might find me making the gambeson and chain mail shirt.


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