The Thigh armour follows historical early medieval Japanese samurai armour design, in function and form.

It is carried like an apron. It is tied together in the back and is supported by one suspender, which runs diagonally over the shoulder.

Oberschenkelschutz, Kampfschürze. (Habitate)
Thigh Armour (Haidate)
Sunate, Tateage, Habitate und Kusazuri am Do. Schienbein-, Knie-, Oberschenkelschutz und Harnisch.
Sunate, Tateage, Haidate,  Kusazuri and Do. 

For this part of the armour, I made the thermoelastic plates, myself.

We will need

  • Transparent paper
  • Linen fabric
  • Cotton fabric
  • Scissors, pen
  • Needle, threat, sewing machine
  • Leather
  • Leather paint
  • Cotton fabric belt
  • Toggle buttons
  • Paracord
  • Kydex plate
  • Coping saw
  • Emery Paper and grinder
  • Drill
  • Primer
  • Paint
  • Gloves
  • and more…

Fabric work for the thigh armour (Haidate)

First, we design a sewing pattern on transparent paper. Take the measure from waistline to knee for the length. Take the approximate widths of your larger thigh, add about >20% on top for the final width of the haidate.

Haidate: Schnittmuster für den Oberschenkelschutz
Haidate: Sewing pattern for the thigh armour

Use the sewing pattern for now cutting your linnen and cotton fabric into shape. If you are familiar with sewing, you know you will have to cut all a little larger so that you can sew it together and hide the got over on the inside.


Stoffzuschnitt für die Schürze, die den Oberschenkel für Schwerthieben schützen wird.
linnen and cotton fabric is cut and ready for sewing. The cotton will show on the outside of the haidate, the linnen on the inside. The linnen gives the apron the stability that is needed for carrying the heavy plates.
Habitate: Die Schürze (Oberschenkelschutz) besteht aus einem festen Leinenstoff innen und einem feinen Baumwollstoff außen.
Haidate: The apron (Thigh Armour) requires quite some sewing.


Die zugeschnittenen und vernähten Stoffteile
Right and left part. 

Leather work and leather applications for the thigh armour (haidate) in ancient Japanese samurai japan armory

The haidate must be pretty robust, since the fabric need to carry quiet some heavy plates. Since it was originally carried on horseback, it was warn off, easily. To make it durable, the haidate gets leather edges.

Therefore, I cut leather stripes in shape, watered them for making them flexible and bendable. I bended and dried the stripes, then cleaned the edges with a sharp knife and then painted the pieces black.

Bau der Lederapplikationen. Sie schützen die Ränder.
Leather applications for protecting the edges of the haidate. It makes it more durable, especially on horseback.

Four additional, straight leather applications go on top of the fabric. They will help carrying the weight of the plates.

Lederapplikationen auf dem Oberschenkelschutz
Additional leather applications on the haidates front.

Now it is about sewing the leather on – and most important, both parts of the haidate are also sewed together, but only for a little part on the top.

Die Lederapplikationen auf der Haidate.
Outside view
Rückseite der Haidate.
Inside view of the haidate. Note, the linen fabric on the inside. Also note, that both parts of the haidate are sewed together, too, but only a little – at the top. You can also see the belt that holds the apron around the waist.

The leather stripes are now sewed above the edges of the fabric.

The apron now needs a belt. I made this out of the linen and sewed it to the haidate. This belt holds the apron to the waist.

Haidate mit Lederbesatz. Planung des Gürtels
Haidate with leather applications and belt

A toggle button goes to one end of the belt.

Der Knebelknopf am Gürtel der Samurai-Schürze.
Toggle button on the belt

I sewed three loops to the other side of the belt. They may take the toggle button.

Schlaufen für den Knebelknopf des Gürtels.

In addition to the belt, the apron is hold by a suspension. This runs diagonally over the shoulder and is fixt amidst the haidate in front and on the belt in the back.  This suspension carries most of the weight of the thigh armour. In order to fix it to the haidate well, I added another leather application with a loop added to it. This loop take the toggle button of the suspender.

Eine feste Lederapplikation mit Schlaufe für den Schulterträger
A real solid basis for the suspender.

The suspenders toggle button will go into this loop.

Knebelknopf des Schulterträgers und Schlaufe an der Haidate
Traditional historical way of wearing a thigh armour (Haidate)

From here, the suspender runs diagonally over the shoulder and ends up on the waist belt.

Haidate mit Gürtel und Schulterträger
Haidate, belt and suspender

Lamellar style plates on a  samurai thigh armour (Haidate) DIY

The armour / the protecting plates will be sewed right onto the fabric. They will protect the thigh from being hit by a sword. Therefore, we design custom plates so that they fit the size of the haidate perfectly well.

To do so, we first design patterns in paper.

Design der Lamellen für den Oberschenkelschutz.
Paper pattern in order to find the right size and design for the kydex plates


Lamellenrüstung: Der Oberschenkelschutz (Haidate) wird mit thermoplastischen Rüstungs-Lamellen besetzt.
The plates will be cut out of kydex and then be sewed to the fabric.


Planung der Anzahl der Lamellen und des Besatzes
Paper prototypes make it easy to find the right form, size, design and amount of plates, needed.

As soon as the design is clear, we cut the plates out of a kydex sheet.

Die Thermoelastischen Kunststoffplatten und das Grobmodell der Lamellen
Thermoelastic plastic of kydex will serve as basis for the custom plates


Aussägen und bearbeiten der thermoelastischen Lamellen für den Oberschenkelschutz der DIY Samurai Rüstung.
A coping saw is the best tool to cut kydex in shape.

It is recommended to try out the final design before finalising the plates.

Test: Planung und Anpassung der Lamellen / Rüstungsplatten
Prototyping:  Testing the fitting of the plates

As soon as we are sure about size and design of the plates, we can grind them in shape.

Schleifen der Lamellen aus thermoplastischen Kunststoff (Kydex).
Grinding with emery paper
Kaltes Sägen: Stichsäge als bevorzugtes Arbeitsinstrument für thermoelastischen Kunststoff.
Cold sawing: The Coping saw is the tool of choice since it cuts cold. A stich saw would heat the kydex while cutting. It might loose shape and the edges will be frayed. 

Now, the plates need to be drilled. In order to reproduce the holes identically on each plate, I use a paper template.

Kote - Schablone für die Löcher in den Platten des Oberschenkelschutzes
A template helps reproducing the drill holes.
Die gesägten, geschliffenen und gebohrten Lamellen werden lackiert.
The plates are in shape and drilled.


Lackierarbeiten: Auf eine dünnen Schicht Grundierung / Haftmittel kommt ein schwarzer Lack.
Now it is about primering and painting the plates.

For my haidate, I decided to go for three rows of five plates for each side of the apron. I did not make them overlap.

Die Lamellen werden auf den Oberschenkelschutz der Rüstung aufgenäht.
The plates fit on the haidate. In contrast to what you see on this picture, I decided to go for four rows of five plats each and let them overlap

Therfore, I first laced all plates together and then applied them to the fabric.

Fertigstellen des Oberschenkelschutzes
The plates will overlap.

Haidate – thigh armour of an ancient samurai armour

I made the plates overlap. Since I assumed that a strike would would likely cut upwards, I made the plats overlap as can be seen in the picture below.

Die verknüpften und dann auf beiden Seiten aufgenähten Lamellen.
The plates are laced together are then applied onto the fabric.


Mit einer Schnur werden die Lamellen nach historischem Vorbild verknüpft und anschließend aufgenäht.
The lacing of the plates is done as I observed it on historical models.

Now, the  haidate (Thigh Armour), which is worn as an apron, is ready.

die Aufgenähten Lamellen überlappen sich.
Samurai warriors thigh protection
Haidate: Lamellen-bewährter Oberschenkelschutz mit Gürtel und Schulterträger nach historischem Vorbild (DIY Samurai Rüstung)
Haidate: Lamellar style thigh armour including belt and suspender as can be seen in historical models, DIY style.