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RH502 - Landsknecht Wams und Hosen

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Get all the slash and push your Landsknecht needs in this single pattern!

Buy our full-size paper patterns with complete instructions and historical notes for Men's early 16th century Wams (doublet) and Hosen (pants) as worn by Landsknechten. Pattern includes Open Wams with Brustfleck, Closed Wams, and Hosen with straight or Italianate slanted back seams. Detailed instructions. Embellishment suggestions included. Historical notes. Fits chests 34"-54" and waists 28"-50". All Sizes in one envelope.

If you were an RH Member, this pattern would cost you only $20.45.  Become a Member now!

Suggested Fabrics:
Wams: wool twill or heavy silk
Hosen: wool twill (gabardine or wool flannel) DO NOT use wool jersey for Hosen
(optional for closed Wams)
heavy linen or canvas for interlining
(optional for either Wams)
light linen for lining
Brustfleck: wool or silk brocade
(optional lining) silk or fur

Yardage Requirements:
Hosen: 2 yds 60" wide
Open Wams: 5 yds 60" wide
Closed Wams: 3 yds 60" wide

cord for points
(optional) buckram interfacing
(optional) twill tape or linen narrowware for waistband interfacing

Let us help you! At Reconstructing History, we want to see you wearing the best garments you are capable of making. Call us Monday through Friday from 9am until 4pm Eastern Time (or email us st info@reconstructinghistory.com) and we will answer any questions you might have.


Below is an excerpt from the historical notes you will receive as part of this pattern:

Clothing of the Common Landsknecht


At the very end of the 15th century, Emperor Maximilian I of the Holy Roman Empire raised a force of 12,000 foot soldiers and 1200 horse and organized them upon the model of the Swiss Confederation.  These peasants from Alsace, Baden Württemberg and the Tyrol were called Landsknechten or “servants of the land” and would go on to become some of the most famous mercenary soldiers in history.

Their exploits throughout the early sixteenth century would become legendary, but nothing could be more striking than their method of dress.  Landsknecht clothing is characterized by clashing colours, mismatching pieces and dramatic deconstruction.  Thought to be a product of cutting plundered clothing to make it fit the plunderer, slashing would evolve into a decorative practice for upper class clothing by the second quarter of the sixteenth century and persist as such well into the seventeenth.

The dramatic colouration of Landsknecht clothing soon became a sticking point with the nobility who felt that these common soldiers were outdressing their rank.  Their patron, Maximilian, thought otherwise.  He felt that freedom of dress should be granted to these men who lived such miserable and brief lives in his service.  This ruling was made official at the Imperial Diet at Augsburg in 1503.

Take a mercenary soldier of German extraction, give him a life of peril and misery, punctuated by moments of intense glory, double his pay, and then remove the restriction of rank upon his accoutrements and this is what you get:  a man garishly adorned with whatever he could buy, borrow or steal, melded together in a way that is offensive to the tasteful but indicative of the heart and soul of the Landsknecht soldier.

Though tailors and seamstresses often traveled with the baggage train, the clothing of the common soldier was not expertly made.  He would have assembled his clothing himself, perhaps marrying the outfit he wore from home with plunder from his conquests.  It looks elaborate and ostentatious, but really the method of construction is quite simple and the basic pieces are rectangular lengths of fabric.  Hosen are made by wrapping fabric around the leg and cutting off the excess.  Ease of movement is provided by slashing the fabric.  A second layer of hosen worn underneath provides warmth.  Hosen are supported by tying to the waistband of the doublet.  The elaborately-decorated codpiece closes the gap between the left and right legs.  Knee-high hosen or stockings (Strumpfen) are gartered below the knee with large bows of fabric. Fringes of self-fabric at the tops called Kniebander prevent the hosen from slipping out from under the garters.  Garters are also worn below the knee on heavily-slashed full-length hosen to keep the hosen from sagging.

In most cases, the Wams or doublet is no more than the union of two sleeves by a square piece of fabric in the back and a strip to which the sleeve attaches in the front.  This arrangement frames the chest which can be covered decoratively by a Brustfleck tied at both shoulders and center bottom where the Hosen attach.  A prized piece of plunder — brocade, precious silk or even something fur-lined — would be used.  The Brustfleck could also be left off when a Ledergollar or other overgarment or armour was worn.

The striped fabric we often see in Landsknecht woodcuts is in fact not striped at all but fabric made entirely of strips.  This excellent method of recycling was used for Hosen as well as Wams and provided the Landsknecht with another way to add colour to his outfit.

Interestingly, we see no patches in the numerous woodcuts of Landsknechten like we see so often in depictions of other soldiers.  However when cuts and slashes are part of the fashion, holes in one’s clothing become incorporated into the design.  When one’s hosen consist entirely of strips of fabric, one does not worry about a tear in one of the strips.  A new strip could easily be added or the whole leg replaced with a new acquisition.

The Landsknecht soldier completed the Wams and Hosen outfit with shoes called Kühmale (“cow mouth”), a wide-brimmed hat (Tellerbarret), a finely pleated, embroidered linen shirt (Hemd), an arming cap and sometimes a Ledergollar (leather sleeveless jacket).  Patterns for these accoutrements will be available in the forthcoming RH505 — Landsknecht Accessories.

Belt on your Katzbalger, grab your Zweihander, pike or musket, and go!


Das TeufelsAlpdrücken Fähnlein 


The German Single-Leaf Woodcut, 1500-1550 

by Max Geisberg, revised and edited by Walter L. Strauss.

Osprey Men-At-Arms Series #58 The Landsknechts 

by Douglas Miller and G A Embleton.

St. Maximilian Landsknecht Re-enactment Guild (Das Todesengel Fähnlein)


The Web Gallery of Art



For more, purchase this pattern.

This information © 2005 Kass McGann and Reconstructing History


This pattern is awesome. The doublet was easy to fit, and the patterns make sense. Also, the hosen pattern is 100% pure win. It only took me two scrap-mock-ups to get a happy fit. I have NEVER had that before. You will never get a straight-off-the-paper fit, but seriously getting a perfectly fitted pair of hose is simple with the basic shape provided in this pattern. All you need is an assistant with a vague idea of what they're doing (I trained my sewing-inept boyfriend in ten minutes), some pins and some fabric-chalk or a pen.


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