A Swedish Hussar’s HEMA set: Attila cavalry jacket with long pants

Swedish Hussar uniform. Custom HEMA gear.

If you follow this blog, you probably already know that we have been sharing our case study on custom orders. This time we were asked to design a set of jacket with pants stylized on the Swedish cavalry military set. Of course, prepared for the HEMA duels. Before we start our story and reveal the solutions we implemented in this gear, here’s a little repetition of history lessons. Who were the hussars and what was their uniform?

Hussars – a formation with over 200 years of tradition

Originally, hussars were a Hungarian cavalry from the second half of the 16th century. Later, Hussars for a long time were associated with Polish heavily armed horse riders which was successful for over a 100 years on many battlefields of Central Europe. Name of one of our heaviest, safest jackets derives exactly from this formation. In the 18th and 19th centuries, Hussars appeared regularly in many European armies. This type of formation existed in the armies of France, Prussia, Poland, England, Belgium, Sweden, and even American. What is more, in the Austro-Hungarian army Hussars were fighting even up to World War I. 

Dolman and Attila – the trademarks of Hussars 

When talking about this formation, we cannot forget about the characteristic jacket. Originally, it was inspired by the Turkish dolman which was short, hemmed with fur, and richly decorated with a braid. However, in the 19th century this jacket was replaced with Attila, or simply – a hussar jacket.

Attila was close-fitting and reaching the crotch section.It was closed at front with long lines of buttons, often decorated with braids. And despite the fact that Attila was longer than dolman, the number of buttons and braids was lower. Other features typical for Attila were the close-fitted sleeves, also decorated with braids on cuffs. The set was completed by pants with stripes and a pelisse with fur.

Braid is a type of decorated closure consisting of gold (sometimes silver or black) strings and buttons, creating distinctive stripes making rows from the chest section to the waist. It was an important element of uniforms of the prestigious military formations.

Over the centuries, a few types of dolmans and Attilas came to existence. Uniforms from different countries varied in color due to easier identification in the age of maneuvering of the whole units, and to vary from the opponent. This is why on a battlefield one could find uniforms in red, green, blue, dark blue, or grey. Apart from colors, these uniforms were quite similar in various European regiments.

From an idea to the finished product – SPES Attila 350N HEMA set

Our project is inspired by and stylized on the uniform of Swedish Hussar unit. We have to underline this is not a reconstruction – it is a sort of combination of various uniforms. It is based on elements of both Attila and dolman, used by the Swedish army between 1850 and 1885. 

Let’s start with a look. Like most of Swedish hussar jackets, this one is also dark blue. We also decided to use gold braids but we reduced the number of buttons – like in the later version of Attila – to 5. Some of the decorations of the clothing are simplified and we gave up the additional buttons on the edges of the decorative tapes. Due to the fact that it is dedicated for HEMA, the shape of decorations on sleeves is also simplified to not hinder the movement.

What is more, we have used a fabric of 350N puncture resistance, providing a proper amortization during fight. Shape of the jacket is also slightly modified and based on another project which we will reveal soon (follow our fanpage!).

To reduce the power of hits, we have implemented a 3D mesh, and on a chest and collarbone – large pockets for foams (similar to those from Cated jacket). The shape of sleeves comes from Officer 350N which, apart from 3D mesh lining, has an additional amortization layer on shoulders. Like all good HEMA jackets, this one also has a double closure in the form of a zipper, buttons, and a blade catcher. There is also an adjustable strap on the back, apart from decorative braids.

A perfect completion for our jacket are the long, straight pants made of grey fabric of 350N puncture resistance. Pants were inspired also by the military pants from the 19th century, which explains the presence of the edge on the front and single stripes on sides in the same color as braids. What is more, legs are slightly looser in the thigh and knee sections – one can wear additional covers of a smaller profiler under the clothing. We have also implemented there an asymmetrical flap closed with a few buttons and a velcro, and adjustable straps on sides for better fitting to a body, just like in our Dragonfly pants. Fabric used in these pants and their design don’t hinder the movement in any way and allow for fencing attacks.

Well, what do you say? 

We have to admit the final result is very gratifying. The set presents itself gracefully, impressively, and uniquely. Fitted design underlines the shape of the body, decorations add elegance, and implemented features make it appropriate for light HEMA sparrings. We are curious how you like this project – feel free to leave a comment. And soon we will reveal a new project – like our fanpage to be up to date. Stay tuned!


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