Tag Archives: buff coat

PENNSIC: My Chevau-léger Outfit

Back from Pennsic and working on some new research projects that I’m hoping to release soon. Until then, I wanted to show off my Opening Ceremonies outfit from the event — a 17th Century French chevau légers.

Examples of a 17th Century Chevau légers
Chevau légers were 17th Century light cavalry men in the French army. Me in the middle; chevau légers models from the Musee de l’Armee (Paris, France).

Chevau légers were considered light to medium cavalry. In the early to middle part of the 17th Century, they often wore a cuirass worn over a buff coat or just a buff coat, leather boots, and a helmet. The helmet was often a capeline, though the French cavalry apparently were big fans of the “iron hat” — a helmet that was in the shape of the wide-brim hat that was fashionable at the time (see the photos). Continue reading PENNSIC: My Chevau-léger Outfit


17th Century Buff Coat: Quickie Update

Just a quickie update. Spent the evening dry rubbing the dark yellow ochre dye powder into my leather for the buff coat replication. I went into more detail into the dye and method here. I tried to use the bare minimal so there’s not a lot of extra powder that’ll go everywhere. I may take a brush to it later to help.

But it’s all done except for the collar — which I have yet to cut out.

Here’s a before and after look.


17th Century buff coat: Getting the right color (test dyes)

Next to the signature raised “ridges” in the buff coat seams that come from the butt-end stitching, the next most noticeable characteristic (and arguably the most noticeable) is that golden brown hue of the leather, as seen below.


Some extant examples are a little more brown or grey, but this gives you the general idea of the look. This golden brown coloration is a byproduct of the tanning process. Tanners would “oil tan” the leather with lime and scrape the surface to remove the outer layer. This is what gives the buff coat that rough, unfinished look. Cod oil was used in a process called “kicking.” I’ve also read that yellow ochre was used to help get the color. Continue reading 17th Century buff coat: Getting the right color (test dyes)

17th Century Buff Coat: Purchasing Leather, Butt-End Stitch Proof-of-Concept

This was originally posted on JMAucoin.com in December 2014.

On Saturday, I met up with a bunch of other friends at Tandy for a leather run. I had a good idea of what I wanted to get in terms of leather and tools, but was a little foggy in terms of specifics. Fortunately, the manager at Tandy was a huge help, and actually knew what a buff coat was (unlike my last trip to Tandy when I tried to make buff coat 1.0). Ended up leaving with two sides for the buff coat, lots of wax-linen thread, a curved awl blade, and some black scrap leather that I’m going to turn into the 17th Century cavalier”butterfly” boot-straps. A good, but expensive haul. Here’s what I’m using for the buff coat:

Body: 8-9oz Oak-Leaf Sides
Sleeves: 3-4oz Craftsman Oak Sides

Unlike sewing fabric or sewing a lot of other leather projects, the stitches on a buff coat a very different. There’s no right sides to right sides, sew, and turn right side out. Nor do you overlap one layer of leather on top of another and sew (like in my Edward Kenway cosplay). It uses a special butt-joint stitch in which you butt-end the two pieces of leather together and then make a hole that starts at the top of the leather but, instead of coming out at the bottom of the leather, it comes out of the side of the edge. Here’s a sketch from Osprey’s Ironsides: English Cavalry 1588-1688 (Warrior) book (great resource):


Continue reading 17th Century Buff Coat: Purchasing Leather, Butt-End Stitch Proof-of-Concept

17th Century Buff Coat: Prepping & Planning

Originally posted on JMAucoin.com in December 2014.

Making a Tandy Leather run this weekend. Hoping to get some materials for Buff Coat Project 2.0. Last year I embarked in Buff Coat Project 1.0. I had envision getting lighter leather so I could wear it while fencing and still be able to calibrate hits. So I ran with 2-3oz leather and a doublet/buff coat pattern from Reconstructing History. The end result didn’t go well. The leather was too thin to do the traditional butt-end joints (at the time I wasn’t sure how that was done), so I sewed it like it was cloth (which was dumb). The pattern from Reconstructing History was also problematic. The pattern called for less leather than was actually needed (so no sleeves) and the sizing instructions made for a coat that didn’t fit at all. And because of the thin leather, the skirts didn’t flare the way they should.

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Basically, it didn’t go too well. But I learned some basic leather working skills that helped with the Edward Kenway costume, so not a total loss. Not sure if I’ll finish buffcoat 1.0 (I mean, it’s not completely awful) or use it for scrap leather.

Anyways, I’m heading to Tandy this weekend to get some leather and additional tools. I’m not worrying about being able to calibrate shots with this buff coat. Version 2.0 will be made to closer resemble historical examples and will probably end up being just a costume and court garb piece until I finally delve into the realm of SCA Cut & Thrust Rapier. Not my original idea, but it’s fine. If it turns out well, I’ll make a display and show it off at A&S events (an area I’d like to explore more in 2015 anyways). Continue reading 17th Century Buff Coat: Prepping & Planning