I’ve been looking into spurs for a few years now, but I haven’t been able to find 17th Century accurate spurs anywhere. Not even UK-based English Civil War reenacting shops have them. I did find some nice 15th Century spurs from Raymond’s Quiet Press while at Pennsic this year, so I picked those up and some sweet 1/2″ buckles that match pretty well.
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.
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)→
One of the more prominent items of a 17th Century cavalier’s garb is the spur leather which helped hold up a cavalryman’s spurs.
In Medieval times, this was just a strap of leather that wrapped around the front of the boot. By the mid-17th Century, the spur leather grew in size and took on the popular shape of a butterfly or bow.
These were made of tough leather. The pair I made for myself (see below) are two layers of 4-5oz veggy-tan leather, dyed black and sewn together with black wax linen. A strap (4-5oz leather) goes through two openings in the front of the “butterfly” and is secured by a buckle on the outside. A second strap could be added, connecting to the first strap and going underneath the foot. It’s not necessary unless you find the spur leather rising up.
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):
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.
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→
Researching swords, gonnes and garb during the 16th and 17th Centuries.