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Basic European 4 in 1 Vest Pattern
Article © MAIL User: Chainmailbasket_com

Article originally written circa 2001.

Here is a pattern for a basic European 4 in 1 vest. It is very easy to make. In fact, there are no expansions or contractions in this particular pattern. This pattern will give you a vest that will fit a person with a 38 inch chest or smaller. It will be tight on a person with a 40 inch chest. It can be easily modified to fit a larger individual, simply by making the panels wider. I used .062" (16 gauge / 1.6mm) 1/4" (6.35mm) galvanized steel rings in the pattern (approximate AR of 4.2). A few other ring sizes that would work well include .062", 5/16" or .080", 3/8".

If you are going to be wearing the vest over a gambeson, make the vest wider - i.e. take your largest measurement (chest or stomach) while wearing your gambeson. Maille should always be a little bit loose so you can move around easily enough without popping open rings, especially around the armpit area.

It is a good idea to make the vest wider at the back (usually 4 or 5 inches wider than the front) so that arm movement is not restricted. This is reflected upon in this pattern.

Basically, a chainmail shirt should be at least 8 inches bigger than your largest measurement while stretched out. Therefore if you want the shirt to fit a person with a 40 inch chest, make the shirt 48 or more inches around with the weave stretched out.

1. Start with the neck piece. The back should be about 25 inches wide and the front should be about 21 inches wide STRETCHED OUT. This will give you a vest that will end up being 46 inches stretched out. You may need to adjust these measurements a bit. The neck hole should obviously be large enough to fit your head through. This one has a 10 inch wide opening at the back of the neck and uses a V-neck. You can fill in part of the V-neck for extra protection if you like.

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2. Next, make front and back panels. The front piece should be the same width as the front section on the neck piece and the back piece should be the same width as the back section on the neck piece. Don't worry about making them the right length just yet. You can always add more to the length of either piece to even things out after you have attached the pieces together.

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3. Attach the front and back pieces to the neck piece. Make sure the rings lean the same direction in the rows you sew together (if they don't, simply add one more row to the front or back panel).

Image: vest03.jpg

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4. Sew up the sides. Start below where you figure the bottom of your arm hole will be. You can always remove a few more rings afterwards if the arm holes aren't big enough and restrict movement, or add extra rings to make the arm holes smaller.

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