The Suede Tunic – A Versatile Start To Your Character
This handmade, ¼ inch, medieval suede tunic is an excellent addition to your character creation. Cut in a vest-style, the tunic drops down below the knees and uses eyelets beneath the shoulder cuffs to give you the option of attaching long or short sleeves. Decorative leather buckles fasten the tunic across the front and add a touch of style. This garment is divided in the front and rear for ease of movement (and to allow for horse riding). Made from the highest quality suede, this tunic is available in black and brown and adds a distinctive authentic look to your LARP, reenactment or Renaissance Faire costume.
A Tunic For Whom?
Though listed as a medieval suede tunic, this item shares a lot of its heritage with the tabard, a tunic-type garment usually worn over a base layer by peasants, monks, and foot soldiers. It wasn’t until the 15th Century that knights began to wear tabards over their armor with their livery emblazoned on the front and back. This image has given rise to the popular conception of the fantasy paladin, with some influence from the monk’s scapular. Either way, this tunic layers up with other items to create a huge range of iconic looks. Pair the brown tunic with a green hooded cloak, leather bracers and some soft leather boots and you’re an iconic ranger. Switch the colourways to greys and blacks and you have yourself a deadly assassin/rogue.
Leather In The Middle Ages
In the early part of the Medieval Period in England, leatherworking was largely carried out by monastic workshops (as we mentioned before, it’s hard to overestimate the influence of the church on every aspect of life). Turning the fresh skins of animals into clean, wearable leather like this suede tunic was, and arguably still is, an activity unsuitable for the squeamish. Tanneries were usually located on the edge of town in the poorest areas because of the powerful stench. People who worked in the industry (after the monastic monopoly ended) were generally from very low-income backgrounds and didn’t have a long life expectancy, depending on what part of the process they were engaged in.
The first step in creating finished leather items like this medieval suede tunic involved soaking the freshly removed skins then beating and scouring them to remove as much oil and fat as possible. Skin that is to be tanned needs to be removed from the animal while the flesh is still warm. The next step was to soak them in urine or leave them to rot until all of the hair could be scraped off with a knife. After this step, the leather would be softened, or bated, by pounding dung into the skin or leaving it to soak in a solution of animal brains. These two materials worked via fermentative enzymes found in the dung and brains. The most commonly used types of dung were dog and pigeon. The actual tanning process could now begin. As the skin was stretched over a frame and cedar oil, tannin, and alum applied, these materials begin to replace the moisture originally in the skin and turning into wearable leather. Modern tanning processes are largely automated, use cleaner, synthesised materials, and aren’t nearly as foul as those from the Medieval Period.
Leather Armor – Fantasy Trope Or Real Deal?
This has become a bit of a hot topic in recent years. It’s been pretty common since the dawn of tabletop RPGs (and the video games they inspired) to use leather armor as a kind of entry-level adventurer gear, sometimes earned after completing several quests dressed in the base-level cloth armor. Don’t get us started on how many games misrepresent the effectiveness of composite cloth armor – often called gambeson. Using many layers of different fabric and including laminated layers held together with a kind of glue, cloth armor could be very effective indeed. But the problem with leather armor, historically, is that outside of limb protection there isn’t a great deal of representative or material evidence. Now, these problems can be explained somewhat by the fact that leather is an organic material. No matter how well-cured, it will degrade over time due to moisture. To this point, many of the existing examples of relatively complete, leather lamellar torso armor come from desert regions where moisture couldn’t degrade the material. Certainly, protective workwear type garments such as this medieval suede tunic.
Leather As A Material For Armor
Leather has very good abrasion resistance, explaining why it’s used (in combination with some synthetic material) in high-end motorcycle racing suits. It’s also decent at heat insulation and is still used by metalworkers and stokers today. But leather, in the form it’s used to make consumer-grade jackets, while it might protect from scratches, would make little difference if someone was trying to harm you with a battlefield weapon. Even this medieval suede tunic would offer little resistance to a pointed or blunt force weapon. But medieval armorers and leather workers could use thicker grades of leather and had access to some hardening techniques, which whilst different from those used today, could achieve similar results.
What Types Of Armor?
If we ventured to say that leather armor probably wasn’t as common in reality as in games, we’d also have to mention that leather is used in just about every kind of metal armor – either as a mounting material or in the form of straps. The presence of protective work/travel wear like this suede tunic is not in dispute. In fact, the most commonly misunderstood “leather armor” is what’s commonly referred to in games as “studded leather armor”. This point has been made several times (the Shadiversity Youtube channel has mentioned it) but it’s a good example of how one misunderstanding can lead to the creation of a new, historically inaccurate armor type. The studs on what’s referred to are actually holding in place the metal plates on the inside of the leather coat, called a brigandine.
Love Suede? Then check out the Archer’s Suede Gloves!
Material; Medieval Suede Tunic is 100% Leather
Colours: Black, Brown, Light Brown
- Small: Chest/Waist – 38 to 40 Inches, Length – 46.5 Inches
- Medium: Chest/Waist – 40.5 to 43.8 Inches, Length – 47.5 Inches
- Large: Chest/Waist – 42.5 to 44.8 Inches, Length – 48.8 Inches
- X-Large: Chest/Waist – 46 to 48.8 Inches, Length – 50 Inches
- XX-Large: Chest/Waist – 48.5 to 50.8 Inches, Length – 51 Inches