17th C. Polish Lithuanian Commonwealth Costume

Boleslav Orlicki's Horse Artillery

(We do recommend the zupan, delia. germak, and kontuz patterns at )


Costume Page 

Unit Equipment Standards Page

Costume Essay

More on Delias and Ferezjas (of less interest because they are not campaign gear)

Costume details and Domestic items Page, e.g. buttons, belts, mugs, chairs

How To make a Kontuz or Dragoon’s Coat 

Additional Polish Patterns (and great costume resources) are at:


Best knot buttons

more knot buttons

Have completed 'phase 2'  research  for the best pattern to use for the artillery and dragoons pants and other items.   I have made up full scale patterns for several folks, if you need them, let me (Rick) know.

clpkptrn.jpg (96492 bytes)Colpak (Cowpak) hat.   This is my guess for a likely pattern.  Some hats are clearly fur lined, (and so look very puffy, like they are hiding a very bushy head of hair.) This is more of the summer weight unlined version.  Some are more bag-like, and sometimes, especially in Hungary, the bag becomes more like a long sock that flops over - a proto-busby.

Hatfoldeddown.jpg (8749 bytes)HatUp_furready.jpg (14435 bytes)hatfuron.jpg (10762 bytes)HatMinkWorn.jpg (12272 bytes)

Images of hats and delia from around 1605-1625


ArtKontuz.jpg (127948 bytes)kontuzback.jpg (4518 bytes)BOKontuz1.gif (9889 bytes)BOKontuz2.gif (7492 bytes)BOkontuz3.gif (9202 bytes)The Official kafkan/outer coat/kontuz for Boleslav Orlicki, from the 1550s-1660s.  The construction details are published (see how-to).  Measurements penciled in is for a size 41.  The pattern needs adjustment: I would further increase the width around the chest. For artillery, Red soft wool, yellow linen lining and trim, half-lined.  Important note: The Polish garments button from the right, (right overlaps the left), unlike modern western mens clothes that button from the left!   (This shows their eastern heritage.)

Based on:kontuszXVII-Croped.jpg (510342 bytes)  From the late 17th C, this is a bit longer and with a fuller skirt.  Also this is for a young man with a very slim waist, the one above is somewhat modified for the American 'relaxed fit' generation.

w_kontusz.jpg (26983 bytes)Another Kontuz

kontuz were trimmed with pelticami knots/frogging, up to 12 knot and buttons sets for this  kontuz with dangling arms, from the 2nd half of the century, belonging to Alexander Jablonowski (fig. 108). Rows of knots and buttons finish this crimson kontuz of 1655-1660 that Is housed in Stockholm (fig 109). This
kontuz has a strongly marked indentation, of the line it it clear that the rear is made of a single panel of fabric. To which  sides are attached triangular panels for the skirt. The collar is low and standing, finished with a sharp angle, as are zupans of 1660. The narrow arms have a flap cuff covering the hand. It is lined with the same material. The simple kontuz was cut in this way that when one pannel deeply covers another, then both panels were under the collar, rather widening, with passamentre/pelticami button-braid cover the zupan. Of this, they used great care and originality in finishing kontuz with passamentre. There is evidence that from the very beginning galloon was used in trim. This red kontuz was finished with silver galloon 5mm in width.

itczupan.jpg (29457 bytes)AZupan1_1630.jpg (27801 bytes)itzupan.jpg (41415 bytes) Early 17th C. Zupan - a good pattern to use.  I made one of this pattern as well.  I was surprised that the sleeves were rather narrow, but I think that is consistent with most zupan  pictures.  I think sleeves tended a bit looser in the 2nd half of the 17th. C.  When I sized this pattern to a size 44, I further trimmed the waist, since it seemed to be also about a 44.  However, it seems to be intended to be loose fitting, and needs a belt.

The squarish design with the triangles under the arms shout, I AM A KAFTAN!  Many zupans later in the century seem to have been more like the 18th C. cut pattern below.  

SobieskZupan.jpg (100383 bytes)AZupan1_1670.jpg (22195 bytes)However, if you look at Sobieski's 1683 zupan, it is cut almost like the one above, square, triangles, and all.





azupan2.jpg (28221 bytes) A Zupan for 1670s based on a gusset-less early 18th C. design: zupanXviii.jpg (343233 bytes) Note that this 18th C. zupan is cut with a 'tail' and a rear triangle pattern like a kontuz, but the back is seamed in the center, whereas the kontuz back is always one piece.   This garment is also somewhat fitted.  I have two patterns of this general type (one clearly from the 17th C.)  that seem quite similar. The second one does not have the tail/triangle combination, however. I can supply the pattern for this on request.ZupanStitching.jpg (4952 bytes)

Pancerni and Hussar military zupans should be padded, as they function as arming coats.   They can be made of wool or linen, the padding can be wool or cotton wool, flax fiber, or even a loose cloth woven from yarn.  The illustration to the right shows one stitching pattern (to hold the padding wool into place) used in western padded coats.   I suppose a straight parallel quilting stitch is fine too, but am not sure what is most characteristic. 

buttonst.jpg (39575 bytes)Buttons for a zupan typically follow the first of these three basic patterns, illustrated to the left.

Pan Zagloba below models Arrangement A, with buttons to the right on the edge of the right breast - my favorite arrangement in terms of function, and by far the most common, historically (e.g. reenactors should use this one).. The second picture illustrates buttons to left, loops to right - 'arrangement B' on a red zupan.  Buttonholes are very rare in a Polish zupan context, but may be more common for muscovite or cossack dress.  The elite ottoman Turks and Turkish cavalry used arrangement B as well.  Janissaries used left over right breast and button holes.

zagloba.jpg (154384 bytes)button3.jpg (17047 bytes)



dragoon1683.gif (242191 bytes)ADragoonCoat.jpg (29531 bytes) Dragoon Coat, also based on the above zupan pattern, and essentially similar to a dolman. In 1683, our dragoons wear cravats. In 1674, they are an optional accessory.  Don't wear them in a 1650s scenario.

w_zupan.jpg (27323 bytes)



w_zupan2.jpg (23651 bytes)



w_zupan3.jpg (27427 bytes) 


w_danilowicz.jpg (41214 bytes)The Daniliowicz Zupan

The Delia is a outer coat, usually with a hood, that preceded the Kontuz and was used until about the1650s,  longer in the full-fur winter version.

w_delia.jpg (31252 bytes)Delia

For pants, there will be no specified uniform.  These are some variations of the right general type.  In the mid century, esp the 1650-1670 period, full-pants, like western trunkhose/slops, or turkish pants, were in and out of fashion. Mostly they were tight; at any rate, they are largely hidden by the other garmets.  17th C. tight pants for cavalry were known to have been sometimes made out of soft thin leather, like Napoleonic era hussar pants; linen and wool work fine..  Kate is making pants with a partial leather seat, for cavalry.

slavpants3.jpg (10567 bytes)SlavPants1.jpg (23915 bytes)slavPants2.jpg (17781 bytes)   Extracts from Tilke, Costume Patterns and Design.

itpants.jpg (34079 bytes) Turkish type, from Turnau.

Some Other Coats / Zupans

kopieniak.jpg (72660 bytes) Late 16th C. Polish Kopieniak. (Cassock)








CommonCaftan.jpg (24055 bytes)  Commoner's 'Lamka' or caftan, XVII C.  Until the economic crisis of the 1640s, peasants were fairly well off.  Most owned several shirts and, a couple of  sets of summer and winter work cloths, some spare items, and festive clothing. 




zupan18th.jpg (72745 bytes) 

18th Century kontuz, outer garment of soft wool, unlined.  Some details are wrong for our period, including the gathered waist, but general cut is OK. Most kontuz of the 17th C. seem to have two side slits rather than a back slit.


SobieskZupan.jpg (100383 bytes)

A zupan garment owned by King Sobieski in 1683. Brocade silk. Very caftan-like...   and a tad exotic, I think. Ol' fellow made a point to always wear Polish costume in public, unlike all those Vasas and Bourbons before him.

HungZupan.jpg (22553 bytes)

For contrast, a Hungarian style zupan or 'menthe'.  This is also for the 18th C., I think.  Also, it is a bit short, which is also characteristic of the menthe.  Note the very nice passamentre buttons.

westcoat.jpg (30782 bytes)

For contrast, a Western coat, 1670-1680.  This is slightly more shaped at the waist and torso than Polish coats, but fix that, make right breast over left, add (lots of) fullness to the skirt, get rid of the pocket and change the sleeve and it is close to being like a zupan.  The skirt fullness is actually the giveaway at a distance - Polish coats always accommodate the hang over the horse, while western coats fake it perhaps because they were more often on foot, but mostly to save a few coins.

wmngrmt.jpg (48204 bytes)

A Polish woman's garment.

SukenkaRiterska.jpg (14736 bytes)

A noble woman's dress, XVII C.

Wykroj z ksiegi krawcow poznanskich z XVII w., sztuka X, Wojewodzlde Archiwum w Poznaniu, cechy nr. 253



sztukaIII.jpg (22945 bytes)

sztukaxi.jpg (18333 bytes) Kabat

it60lamka.jpg (29951 bytes)Peasant Lamka and dress

it63sukna.jpg (23011 bytes) Kaptur with Dress (sukna)

it40sukniaKsztaltem.jpg (29175 bytes) Dress with Corset  (structured upper part)


zupanXviii.jpg (343233 bytes)Early 18th C. Zupan


kontusz.jpg (274362 bytes) Early 18th C. Kontush


Kontusz gotowy.gif (289220 bytes) 18th C. Dress.  Note wide sash/belt, very incorrect for our period.


BFupanfoto.jpg (227018 bytes) Zupan. The long length of the hem, and the pointy down-hanging sleeves, both identify this as an 18th C. zupan, and one more for show than function. Like, a lounge lizard's smoking jacket. The cut is otherwise fine. Notice that the rear panel is one piece, with the split at the side ( better design for the 17th C. than those with 2-piece backs and a split in the middle.

Next Costume Essay

Costume details and Domestic items Page, e.g. buttons, belts, mugs, chairs