Friday, 1 April 2011

Very, very vintage

The manic sewing that's been taking up all of my time is pretty much finished, finally. I've been making Viking inspired costumes for an event at the end of April.
I did a lot of research into fabrics, designs and colours and I think that while what I've made might not be exactly historically accurate, it works as a concept.

The white linen underdress, also known as a kyrtle is trimmed all round the neckline, cuffs and skirt with red linen and pulls on over the head. It's a basic dress made from 2 rectangles with holes for the head and arms. The sleeves are cut from 2 remaining rectangles at an angle, narrowing to the cuff. The triangles left over from cutting the sleeves are inserted into the skirt to give the shape.

The blue over dress is called a Hängerok, and is very much like an apron. My feeling is that being shorter and without sleeves, this top layer could be more cheaply and easily replaced than a full dress and would be able to withstand the brunt of a woman's daily life. The form that this dress took, though, is subject to much discussion and noone is certain what they looked like or how they were made.
There is plenty of evidence that Viking women would use tucks, darts and pleats to shape garments so I used box pleats over the bust and in the centre back to give some shape to my dress.
The straps should be fastened with brooches at the front, but I sewed mine on as my brooches are weedy things and won't hold the weight.
The side inserts again give movement and I found one source that said Hängeroks with pointed sides like mine have been found, so I didn't trim the hem up.

Since the dress is quite long and I'm planning on spending some time running around, I also made a tunic and underdress closer to what men would wear.

This is made with the same principles as the other dress but with panels set front and back as well as at the sides. To give it some shape I have put lacing in the back. No idea if this is historically accurate or not but it does look pretty cool and lets me keep my waist!
I'll wear this with some baggy trousers tucked into boots.

I've also been sewing for Tom. This tunic has been made the same as before but there are slits in the skirt part of the tunic rather than inserts. The facing on the collar was a pain in the arse. I got there in the end though!

I have another 2 tunics to make up for other people, but these look like they'll be pretty simple. I'll try to get some pictures when we're at the event later this month.


  1. Love it. I used to run around with the SCA so I still have all my old viking and renaissance costumes around. Viking was one of my favorites because I could make my own glass beads based on period examples.

  2. What fantastic sewing, would have taken me forever. All the outfits look really good.

  3. Oh you are SO talented!!! Please send me some of your expertises!!!

  4. They look great, and what a change from the normal things people make! ;) Will you be posting pics of the event as well (I know I'd love to see them!)

  5. Wow! All the stitching is really cool and creative, many photos of the event, please!!

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  7. Great job! The pieces turned out beautifully!
    I've been in the SCA for quite a while, but I actually made my first ever viking outfit this summer. I was surprised by how flattering the dress was, given the simple construction. I was worried I'd end up with a tent =)