Landsknecht Wams

We are going to Sweden for the Medieval Week in Visby, and the husband need a jacket for those chilly nights that can occur even during the summer up there in the north. Since he already has a pair of hosen, I basically just used the left over fabric to create the bodice in yellow wool. I didn’t had any red wool left, so I decided to line it with red linen instead.

I started to cut out the bodice and the lining
Then sketch the pattern, cut it out and hem the slashes both back and front. (After slashing the front, I was a bit unsure if the slashing might be too big, so I made smaller on the back side) I might have to adjust the front some way …if they hang to much …but I will solve that after I have assemble the outfit and try it on him)
Back and front with the red lining.

To fit the bodice correctly, lacing wholes was made on the front piece two by two, I use silk thread and button hole stitches20130723-223321.jpg

The sleeves are suppose to be HUGE according to the woodcuts, but he didn’t wanted too big sleeves, so the arm hole is about 76 cm all around; and since I’m in a bit of a hurry of finish it, I didn’t wanted to much work and therefore decided that about 6 cm for each band was the biggest I could make it, and it still look good … And 76/6 is about 12 …so 12 for each arm it is.

The length of each band is calculated by measuring his arm length, then I marked the length on the iron board (because its the perfect pinning surface), and then I took one piece of fabric and pinned it to the right bulginess. The final length is 1 meter per band. I usually sew each slash, but due to the short time to finish, I instead cut every hole into the right shape (which is perfectly period an the wool is nice and non fraying). Before cutting I measured and calculated a good distance between each slash and made a template in a thick paper, so I could draw each slash fast and easy


Each band has 13 slashes, and it took about 4 hours to cut 12 band …then I wanted to line it with white silk, and each band takes 1-1,5 hour to sew. *Wohoo* …good thing with wool and silk is that it is at least very easy to just cut and rip, so that didn’t take more than a couple of minutes.

The silk ha the same width as the wool, but is slightly longer so it will bulge out of the slashes.

Wool band; 100 cm x 8 cm (including seam allowance since I have to hide the silk to prevent it from fraying)
Silk puffing; 150 cm x 8 cm

Back and front of each silk lined wool band.

Note that the each band is slightly smaller in one side to fit around the much smaller wrist (compare to arm hole). I might even remove two bands underneath the arm …this will make the cuffs even tighter and also take away some uncomfortable bulging in the arm hole. I can’t tell exactly how to do until I have had a fitting with him though.

Update July 25;

3 things needed to be fitted;
1) the sleeve
2) the front side lacing
3) the bottom of the wams so they work with the pants




The sleeves is in three layers; the black bands, the red puffing and the lining that will keep everything in order.

I mark every 10 cm with a pen on the lining

Then I pulled a thread on the same amount of lines on the puffing fabric so I had a straight line to follow.

Then I sewed rows, following each line an pull it so it gathered into nice puffs

Then I sewed the puffing onto the lining, and then started to add the black stripes on the top of everything.


Note that I add all the layers on the sleeve while the sleeve is still not sewn together, my idea was that this might be easier to assemble. It was easy to handle the sleeve, but it was a bit tricky to sew it together later, so I guess both ways has it’s perks…

This is the progress of today anyway;

And the good news is since I had to take it in slightly on the sides, the black stripes ended up slightly bigger and though the sleeve has 8 stripes at the top, it only has 7 around the wrist (one stripe is folded like a V at the top) …which means I only need 7 stripes for each sleeve. So I only have to make another 3 *wohoo*

Update 27 July;
Second sleeve is finished and they both are attached to the bodice


After attaching the sleeve to the outer layer (yellow) I fold and sew the lining (red) to hide the seams. The black thread is my horrible fast-attachment-of stripes viewed from the inside. (Did I mention I’m a bit stressed to have the wams done in time?)

I also hemmed the backside of the bodice, but my markings on the front has disappeared during the last days, so I need one more fitting to finish that part, including the lacing holes on one side.

So until then I finished the strings needed to close the wams.

I can’t seem to learn how to make lucet strings even under gun point, and can’t seem to find anyone to trade with, so 5-fingers braids it is …even though it’s a bit old fashion for the period. They still is elastic and will therefore not snap under pressure (well… Not too much pressure of course), which means that they will work as I want them to do. Each string has two small brass aiglets on each end, to make the lacing easier. (and a Landsknecht can’t have to much bling, right?)


The side seams is also finished by stitching small “invisable” stitches, this is the period equivalent of ironing the seams flat (as you would do on modern cloths) and since the seams are folded to one side, it also gives some extra strength to the seam …and the small dotted pattern is what (for me) gives the dress that extra look of completeness.


Update July 29;
It’s finished!


Things I would probably change for the next one;
-make the stripes for the sleeves same size from top to bottom, and instead put some extra around the armpit. Since I calculated the phasing to fit around the wrist, I had to make some ad hoc solutions when I used lesser amount of black stripes as I planned to.
– the front should probably be two square pieces (mine is a triangle, the tip of the triangle is we’re you can see the lacing in their front), since there is wood cuts that shows a lacing on both top parts (right next to the shoulders) on the front.
-the slashing in the front didn’t worked as I thought, so I had to stitch it to the lining, so no diagonal slashing (well, unless you stitch it to the lining of course
-a bit bigger piece of fabric for puffing; ratio 2:1 should probably give a bit more puffiness.
-line the backside of the stripes; this will keep the white silk puff out more in the front.
– when you look at the woodcuts you usually just see only 3 visible strings for lacing in the front, I’m not yet sure of how the front would stay in place, since that would make it bulge between the top and the bottom. I have therefore six strings on the side …so that needs to be look into a bit more.

I still want some more slashes on the bodice, but there is no time for it, but it is still possible to add someday in the future.

Total time of making the wams is about a week …give and take some day.


3 comments on “Landsknecht Wams

  1. Svana says:

    Beautiful, as always and so well thought out!
    Well done, great job!!!

  2. Hi there. 🙂
    Coming out of lurk-mode to say Thank you for being so nice to me after the parade in Visby.
    My hubby has fallen in love with the sleeves of this Wams, so I’ll be doing my best to emulate them for his next costume. Hope to see you again next year.

    • It was very nice to meet you too and considering the great outfits you both was dressed in, I have no doubt that you are going to make a fantastic wams!

      We are probably not able to make it next year, it is more likely that we are visiting Pennsic in US instead this time, but who knows 🙂

      Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have some questions!

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