Chainmail expansion with idle rings to expand or contract.

Chainmail Expansion and Contraction – Tailoring like Knitting

How chainmail can be tailored by expansion and contraction.

Expansion and Contraction along Chainmail Columns

Chainmail expansion with idle rings to expand or contract.
Expansion in chainmail. The blue ring is holding five other rings instead of four. The yellow ring is holding only three other rings. That causes an expansion from top to bottom. This can be understood by looking at the frame of red rings. The top of the frame has four rings. The bottom of the frame has been widened to five rings.

Shaping chainmail is much like knitting. The pattern can expand and contract. Thus it doesn’t need to have visible seams. Expanding European4in1 chainmail along the columns creates an almost invisible transition. It only needs a pair of two rings that differ from the pattern. In effect, a row of four rings is connected to a row of five rings. This is visualized by the frame of red-colored rings. That way the mail in the picture is growing from top to bottom. It is growing along the columns. A contraction is what is happening in the opposite direction. In other words, the mail is growing shrinking from bottom to top.

Merging Chainmail Rows

Merging rows of chainmail for expansion.
Merging five rows into four. The yellow rings only hold three rings each.

In the previous method, the growth happens vertically along with the columns. Here we do the same thing horizontally – which is along the rows. For that, we merge two rows into one. We do this by making two neighboring rings that only hold three rings each. This technique is typically used for giving sleeves a conical shape. It looks a bit less smooth than the first method.

If you like to see chainmail garments that are shaped by expansion, you find plenty of them on Ironskins Instagram. To continue learning the next chainmail tailoring technique read about Connecting Seams.