Jump to content
Gil-Galad

Contractions for properly fitted Chainmail and Scalemail

Recommended Posts

With final exams finally slain for the semester, I can finally go back to working on my scalemail vest that has been paused since August.

I have reached the point where I would start to think about contractions. Here is what I have so far:

zmjh9y.jpg

This is intended to be the 'back' of the top of the shirt. I am going to start working on the front V-neck portion first, but I think anything after that - addition of length to the bottom - will be in the midst of contraction territory. I want to do something similar to the contraction scheme TRL has posted on the scales page:

sbh8j9.jpg

My confusion on contractions is mainly one point: are they made during the creation of the shirt, or afterwards? I imagine that if I were to make them afterwards - say the "hole-row" contraction, where one piece is removed from a lateral row and the ends pinch in to meet up - does that affect the whole shirt all the way down? Or does it simply make one contracted row with the shirt flaring wide above and below said row? If this is the case, then I definitely need to make the contractions now, so that the rest of the piece follows suit as I work downwards adding length.

I know this topic is sorta a two-in-one now, but I figure these can't be too different, so I may as well combine them. Here is my chainmail shirt. My first ever mailling work. It has 0 contractions.

1672kvm.jpg

I want the tube-like fit to be gone, and for it to have some sort of fitted curve to it. Same question applies: do I need to contract the lateral row I want, and then repeat for all the rows below?

I hope my explanation isn't too hard to understand. I always seem to come up with this random shi.. stuff that tends to be difficult to convey in written words.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

yes, contractions will affect any rows below which means it's much easier to add them in as you work.

for the finished chainmail, to add in contractions, you're going to have to remove rings below the contraction as well--either to the end of the shirt or to an expansion further down, depending on how fitted you plan to make it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A contraction or expansion affects everything hanging below it, whether mail or scale. For your mail shirt, look up the butted mail makers guide Konstantin The Red often posts links to and you'll have a good idea of what you need to do where. For the scales, yes it is easier to do it as you go along instead of removing two entire rows beneath your contraction and stitching the remainder back together. Unlike mail, no one has really figured out a nice way to expand a sheet of scales, so keep that in mind when you're shrinking things down. Lastly, if you are using the recommended ring sizes for the scales, then there is a decent amount flex to work with, so you will not have to tailor things too closely to ensure a good fit. If you make it too snug, the scales will want to spread out a bit horizontally and will be drawn upwards vertically, shortening your shirt and making the scales want to stick outwards more.

BTW, I noticed a straight line of 5 scales on the top row in the center of your neck hole, those will want to sag a little bit on you. A good rule of thumb is to avoid long straight lines across the weave unless they are part of a seam, stick to diagonals as much as your shape will allow you to.

Edited by Paladin

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

http://homepage.ntlw...armour/mail.htm

is the page I'm always referring people to. You want Section 3.

Contractions and their inverses, expansions, can be arrayed throughout your mailshirt's weave, or you can do like Mr Barker (he's British) and copy the historical method of tailoring a shirt, and confine all expansions to certain portions, or "expansion zones" of a shirt -- mainly, they put the zones over the shoulder blades, a zone of expansion to flare things out, a short stretch of plain straight weave, then a zone of contraction to slim things down towards the waist. Either approach works. If you follow Mr Barker's technique you're going to trim some mail out of the waist zone of the mailshirt to slim it down. There's no difference between trying to make the silhouette curve in with the curves of an hourglass or simply allowing it to taper down in straight lines -- mail tailors to you by its resilient-direction behavior, interacting with your body shape and gravity.

Let your shirt flare out some down low towards its hem, starting from about the altitude of the belt on your jeans or right about your jeans pockets, and widening it from there. All this can be done completely with triangular expansion zones. Nice thing about these zones is they zip right into plain-weave, unexpanded E4-1 because their edges are plain weave.

A contraction shrinks the circumference of the linkrows below it by one link ID. You can examine how much you need to tighten up your waistline and divide that measurement by your link ID and know how many contractions you need to use to get there.

The hole-row contraction tapers open-hang sleeves -- very useful for the forearm/muffler of a long hauberk sleeve or a sleeve-of-mail. It's more bothersome to execute neatly than the columnar contraction you can use on the body of the shirt, woven as you have done. Your tailoring effort will remove some mail from your tube-shirt and make it lighter, as well as less inclined to slide down through your cinch belt. Just don't waist your shirt in so tight you can't pass your shoulders through the waist section -- leave enough slack you can still get your shirt on over your head. Making your V-neck neck opening into a frontal slit tying with a leather thong also eliminates a chink in a fella's armor, just sayin'.

Edited by Konstantin the Red

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have expanded my front panel all the way down to the nipple zone. Here are some contraction pics. I think this is how to do it, just checking though. If so, I'll continue downwards from here and put a ring from the scale under each to the contractorizor ring. Each side has two contractions side by side, totaling 4 on this front panel.

Left side:

25re5i0.jpg

Right side:

ojjxmq.jpg

Overall view:

fx9ojm.jpg

EDIT: Here is the right side a few rows down. Does this look alright? Look how much it contacted from that edge! And I still have the left side to do! :no

pvdxw.jpg

Edited by Gil-Galad

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Might not need any more than that to each side, who knows? Depends on your relative chest and waist measurement. Don't try to go too snug to the waist with your mail at max stretch, as you want your shoulders to be able to pass through the waist on their way up, for a pullover shirt, which is usually the best way to make a mail shirt that actually armors you.

Edited by Konstantin the Red

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It looks like you've done it correctly. Remember too you have not worked your sides outwards yet, so even though it looks like things have really been drawn in, it does not mean you will be unable to make it fit around you. Still, I doubt you will need any more in the front. When you get to the back side, you could probably get away with either two beneath the shoulder blades, and/or maybe a third in the small of the back. Unless you are reeeaaally v-shaped, too much more will be over-doing it I think. Don't forget the scales are drawn upwards and point outwards when pulled across the weave, so you don't want things too snug. The scales will confrom to your shape to a degree, though not as much as mail can, so just a little contraction here and there still makes a big difference.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×