The 4 in 1 European pattern is the standard pattern that is seen in chaimail,
so it seemed like a good place to start. It isn't the easiest pattern we work with, and
not the most difficult either. There are other ways to start this pattern, but this is the
one we tend to use. Other ways are shown on some of the sites listed on our other resources page. If you feel more comfortable beginning
it in a different way, then do so. It comes out the same in the long run.
We begin this pattern by putting 4 links onto one and closing them all. We call this a
5-set. This step is relatively simple, and once you get used to it, you'll find you can
pay attention to other things (like TV and conversations) during it. Before I begin on a
large item, I'll usually make many 5-sets and put them in rows of ten for ease in keeping
track of the amount of links.
The most difficult part of learning this process is putting the 5-sets together. Place
the first 5-set on the table so that it sits in the same way as the one pictured to the
right. Note how the center link sits so that it is on top on one side and underneath on
the other. Now pick up this set so that it stays in this shape. Place another 5-set in the
same position on the table.
Place an open link up and through the two links in the 5-set you are holding. It should
now face in the same direction as the center link of that 5-set. Continue holding this and
with your other hand, pick up the 5-set that was placed on the the table (making sure that
it keeps the same shape). Place the two lower end links on the open links so that all the
center rings face in the same direction.
This is difficult to get the hang of, and I realize that the text description can be
hard to follow. For those of you who can view it, I hope the animation helps. It takes
practice to get this right everytime. If you don't get it the first time, keep trying.
A rectangular piece of chainmail is made by connecting rows of 5-sets. Place 2 rows
side by side with the center links facing in the same direction. Begin by putting an open
link through the first 2 inside links on each side. Make sure that this link will sit the
same way as the center links in the rows. Close that link and put another through the last
2 links that you just connected and the next link on each side. Keep doing this until the
2 rows are "zipped" up.
The width of this rectangle has some "" to it while the height does not. The
best way to make a shirt is to allow it to stretch around the body rather than letting
gravity do the stretching. This helps in both making the shirt easier to put on and with
the amount of stress it can withstand.
Triangles can easily be started from a row of five-sets. Put a link through the first
two links on a side and close it. Another link goes through the last one that was linked
and the next link on that side. Continue this until you run out of links on that row then
repeat for each following row.
You can add links to angle off the other corners if you wish or make a row of
decorative daggs using this pattern.
You'll find that combinations of the rectangle and triangle pattern will allow you to
make any number of actual items. Play around with it and, maybe start with some very basic
fabric patterns. Fabric doesn't sit the same way as chainmail, but it'll give you an idea
of where to begin. A nice thing about experimenting with chainmail is that if you screw
up, it can always be taken apart and the links reused.
My half-glove design is an example of the patterns
shown on this page. The base around the wrist is two rows of 5-sets formed into a
rectangle. A triangle, built up from part of that rectangle, extends over the back of the
hand. Note that the triangle requires an extra row on each side in order to extend long
enough to reach the base of the finger. This piece clasps on the other side of the wrist
with a jewelry clasp or hook.