About Æsa: I’ve been in the SCA for about 13 years. While I love sewing, I also enjoy playing with other skills like archery, knife and axe throwing, fiber arts, basket weaving, herbalism, soap making, pottery and brewing/cooking. I love acquiring skills that a Viking wife would have used in her everyday life. While the sewing aspects of the garments will not be difficult, historical clothing can sometimes present challenges as I am paralyzed. I often have to strike a balance between something that looks as correct as possible while also being comfortable, allowing for medical restrictions and not hindering my wheelchair’s movement.
Her Project: I’m hoping to create an ensemble that would have been worn by the Norse wife of a fairly well-off land owner in 10th century Jorvik. The piece is not based on any single burial find, but takes inspiration from several. The plan is for wool stockings, a linen underdress, a woolen dress and apron with jewelry and a head covering. The goal is to spin and weave a component of the ensemble.
My Norse linen underdress went as planned, as I am very used to making this style of gown for myself. I hand sewed all the seams and tacked them down using a running stitch and matching threads. For my stockings, I struggled a little deciding what to make. Many of the current interpretations from archeological finds seem to have a seam running along the sole of the foot, which I was afraid would be very irritating as I have some nerve issues from the paralysis. I also knew that I wanted the stockings to end below the knee, as I didn’t want to have any fabric bunched behind the knee as my legs are always bent. In the end, I used a pattern that I had drafted about ten years ago from “The Medieval Tailor’s Assistant” as I knew that it was comfortable to wear. The stockings were made from brown wool flannel, hand sewn and the seams were tacked down using a running stitch in contrasting thread.
About Aethelwynne: I joined the SCA last February, so I’m still very new! I sew regularly, both for work and for fun, and have been creating historical costumes for about 10 years now. I originally started with Victorian-era costuming, and worked my way back through time to early medieval, which is now my absolute favorite period of history to study. Besides sewing, I also participate in heavy combat and archery with my local group. This project does directly tie in to my persona, a 10th century Anglo-Saxon woman. I think the sewing itself will be easy for me, but the bits I’m hoping to do, specifically the embellishments on the gown and wimple, will definitely be harder as I’m still learning to tablet weave and embroider!
Her Project: I’m planning on making a late 10th-early 11th century, high status Anglo Saxon women’s outfit. It will consist of a plain linen smock/chemise, a green wool gown with pale yellow silk trim, brown wool cloak, and white decorated veil. Due to the inclusion of silk and the color of the wool, and the planned embellishments on the veil, this outfit could have been worn by royalty, high noble status, or wealthy abbesses/nuns. It isn’t based on one specific illumination, but I have taken different image references from “Dress in Anglo-Saxon England” (drawn from sources such as contemporary religious texts and the Bayeux tapestry) and picked various elements as my inspiration. It won’t include heraldry or awards because I have none yet (joined just before all the covid cancellations). This is an outfit I’ve wanted to make for a while; I have a few normal “everyday” gowns that look nice, but I want something extra special to wear to court or have for big events.
This is the shift I’ll be wearing as my base layer for my 10th century female Anglo-Saxon outfit. I made it out of a medium weight linen; I prefer this weight over handkerchief linen because it doesn’t seem to cling to the body as much when it’s hot out. I hand sewed the entire shift, with backstitch in the higher stress areas and a running stitch everywhere else, then felled all the raw edges on the inside; the sewing is pretty much invisible on the exterior. The pattern is a simple T-tunic style, with underarm gussets and side gores, following the cutting example from “Dress in Anglo-Saxon England”. The sleeves are nearly a yard long, with extra fabric to bunch up along the forearm as seen in period artwork of women. It isn’t specified whether this was a style worn by all classes of people, or if it was a way to show how wealthy a person was to afford extra fabric, but in most of the artwork women and men of this period have pleats or bunching along their arms, so this is the style I’m going with. It’s a little awkward to put on as I have to bunch the sleeves before I can pull it over my head, but I love the finished look. The construction went as planned, but the one thing I would do differently next time is cut the sleeve looser right below the elbow. I tapered the width a bit too much so it’s a little tight once I push the extra fabric onto my arm. Hopefully as I wear it the linen loosens so it will be more comfortable. Overall, I’m pleased with how this came out and ready to work on the main gown!
This is the second layer of my 10th century high status Anglo-Saxon outfit. It is a gown made of green worsted wool, and trimmed with gold silk that I’ve embroidered with wool and silk thread. This is cut in the same manner as my shift, following a t-tunic style layout. It’s entirely hand stitched in green silk thread. I sewed the seams with backstitch along the arms and shoulder seam, and running stitch along the gores. I then folded the raw edges toward each other and whipstitched those edges together, forming a mock French seam. This technique is documentable during the period. The facings are made of silk charmeuse that I’ve had in my stash for years. I embroidered it by couching down a fine wool yarn with silk floss, then adding French knots in between the lines with the same wool. This was my interpretation of a common design seen on Anglo-Saxon clothing in period artwork, where two parallel lines have small dots or circles running between those lines. This is seen along hemlines of gowns, sleeves, and cloaks, but I also added it as a neck facing. Everything went as planned, but the one thing I would do differently is find a stiffer silk to make the facings. I used the charmeuse only because it was what I had, but it was so thin and easily warped as I worked with it. This made the embroidery difficult; I used linen underneath it for some structure and had to keep it under tension as I sewed. If I were to do it again, I would use something like taffeta, that won’t wiggle off grain so much. As it is, the embroidery looks decent, but it was particularly hard to get it even on the neck facing due to the charmeuse so I’m not entirely happy with that. Overall, I do like the gown, and I’m glad to finally have something fancier to wear to special events!
This past month I worked on my 3rd layer, a wool cloak. Anglo-Saxon women of the 10th century wore mantles (poncho like garments, basically a piece of fabric with a hole cut in the center for pulling over the head) and cloaks; I prefer cloaks since they’re a bit more versatile- for example, you can fold over part of it to use like a hood, or you can use it as a makeshift blanket at camping events, so this is what I chose for my outfit. I used a thicker wool broadcloth, and construction was easy enough; I cut the fabric to length, and the fabric doesn’t fray, so I left the edges as-is. Period artwork tends to show women in plain cloaks, but written accounts mention more decor on clothing than what is seen in the drawings. This is in contrast to artwork of men, who are shown in decorated cloaks. The trim I used on layer 2 (a contrasting band with dots/circles along it) is shown in multiple images of men in the 10th century, and as there is ample artwork with women wearing this trim on their gowns, I figured it would be reasonable to decorate the edge of my cloak this way as well. I tablet wove a band in yellow wool directly to the bottom edge. For the dots seen in pictures, Dress In Anglo-Saxon England mentions that this could be embroidery or jewels sewn on; I chose the latter to contrast with my second layer. The cloak is wrapped around the shoulders and closed over the center of the chest with a brooch. The construction all went as planned; my only gripe is that I settled for glass beads on the trim, as that was what I had available locally. These were used in period, but after the challenge I might try to find flatter or smaller gemstone beads to replace them, as high status people would have likely used gemstones rather than glass on their clothing at the time.
About Aoife: I attended my first event in October ’19. I only got to go to one more before Covid. Sewing is new and intimidating. I learned sewing, weaving, and embroidery just so I could fit in with you all. This project will hopefully be the fancy thing I can wear to court. It will not be easy. I’m already freaking out.
Her Project: I am new to the SCA and am making my kit myself because I can’t afford to buy clothes. I am aiming for pre-Norman Irish Celt because all my friends are Vikings. So, 10th-11th century? I’m not a fancy lady, but I do like to look nice. I’m making a pink underdress (I saw a picture of Mary wearing a pink leine once; Book of Kells, maybe) and a red leine with gold-colored trim out of linen. I will also make a red brat out of a cotton fleece I have, and I’ll try to embroider on it the fox that I hope will one day be on my device. I’ll likely weave some trim for some part of this. For the fourth item, maybe a copper cloak pin?
This is an underdress for this outfit, but I’ll be able to wear it on its own, too. I did underarm gussets, which didn’t turn out quite right, but I feel confident that I can do them better in the future. It’s pink linen, which matches my skin beautifully.
The overdress! It’s just like I had in my head! I had some trouble with the neckline, which was followed by a spectacular meltdown. Several people talked me through how to fix it, and now it’s so much prettier. I wove the trim from cotton thread on cardboard tablets I made. The dress is linen. I’d also like it noted that it didn’t fall apart in the washer.
This is my brat. I don’t know what the fabric is. It’s something Mom had on hand. I wish I’d had more fabric for this, because I feel that it’s a bit small. I did the embroidery on it, which didn’t turn out as pretty as I’d envisioned. But, I’m better at making uniform chain stitches now (though no better at turning corners). This is the layer I stabbed myself on!
I let my friend talk me into a kidney belt for my accessory layer. He helped me draft a pattern and told me how to do everything else, but I did all the work myself. This is veg-tanned cow hide. I used a gel antique for the color and designed the tooled pattern based on a coaster I saw online. I will probably make lucet cord lacing later.
About Diachbha: I joined the SCA in 1977 at Spinning Winds first event when we were still part of the Middle Kingdom. Except for 3 years in grad school, I have always lived in Calontir. My persona is late 10th c Norse, mostly Jorvik, but I give myself permission to wander Norse areas for inspiration and bling. This is an outfit that I could wear regularly. As I mentioned, I’m designing the coat to wear mundanely as well. I do sew sometimes, but I’m primarily a weaver. The whole outfit will be an interesting challenge. I have never forged anything before, but have made arrangements with a friend for lessons aimed specifically toward making a small blade with a curved handle. He’s psyched and I’m slightly scared.
Her Project: I’ve been itching to make this outfit for a while. It’s in the modern interpretation category because I want to use the coat for everyday wear. Underdress, apron dress, coat, embroidery, fibula, chains with small knife and leather sheath. Inspired by 10 and early 11th century Jorvik finds. Underdress and apron dress of hand-dyed linen. Coat of boiled wool, lined with India painted-calico (cotton). Garments hand sewn. Embroidery of reeled silk (patterns inspired by Danish Norse archeological finds). Fibula and chains from brass and bronze. Knife forged, tempered iron with cow hide sheath. If I have time, additional embellishment with tablet woven band of reeled silk. This type of overall outfit would have been worn by a middle-class householder. The whole outfit is the fancy version, perhaps worn for ceremonies.
About Embla: I’m a newcomer to the SCA, having decided to finally join this year. I’ve been sewing for as long as I can remember, and have been seeking to learn more about historical clothing construction methods in the past several years. I do a lot of different fiber-related crafts. I know how to knit, I’m getting the hang of nålbinding, I can spin wool into thread/yarn, I can weave on a rigid heddle, I’m learning how to do tablet weaving, and I know a little bit about millinery. I plan on using this project to get a better understanding of how to construct the more historically-based dress I’ll be making for my persona in the future, so I know how to properly fit it. I already know how to draft patterns, so this is going to be relatively easy, with the sewing part. The rest, not so much. Embroidery will be the next easiest thing, followed by knitting, then the parts that require weaving, and most difficult will be the Nålbinding pieces.
Their Project: I plan on making a modern-ish interpretation of a 9th – 10th century, middle class, Viking woman’s outfit. I plan on using more accessible fabrics (such as cotton/polycotton broadcloth for the underdress, and if I can find/afford it, a heavier cloth for the smokkr). I’m basing my outfit on the dress/tunic “pattern” on the clothing section of the Hurstwic website, as well as either a cloak or an overcoat, and accessories. I plan on doing a mix of machine and hand sewing, as well as weaving and nålbinding, as well as some embroidery, and possibly some knitting, if time allows.
About Ian’ka: I have been in the SCA for 27 years. I’ve been sewing for about 22 of those years off and on. I am a scribe and researcher but have been known to make clothes for royalty and of course for my family of my husband and my son. This project will directly link into my persona and I have been struggling with motivation to make things in the last few years. I’m just now starting to get the urg to make clothes and was quite delighted to hear about this challenge. The clothes are things I’ve been wanting to make and now will have a reason to make them. I’m excited to pattern out a new style of underdress and to change up to slightly more Byzantine influence on the overdress. I’ve been meaning to make myself a lightweight coat for quite some time and I’m excited to finally use some coveted fabric in my stash. I think this project will challenge me in skill set as I will be developing new patterns for the underdress and since my motivation has been a bit lacking of late the reminders and the pressure from others in my household who are working on clothes will help keep me on track.
Her Project: The pieces will be what may have been worn by women in North Western Russia in the 9th-10th Centuries especially with groups that were traded with or influenced by the Norse traders. My SCA household is a mix of Rus and Norse personas and as one of the Heads of the House and a Duchess the clothes should show the prosperity of being a wealthy trader’s wife in the 9th to 10th Centuries. A thin linen shift will start the outfit which will be a new endeavor for me as I don’t usually where that layer. Then the underdress will be based upon the fine linen garment found in the Pskov find which has a gathered neckline, this is a new construction technique for me. This fabric is a wonderful check patterned fabric in red/white. Checked fabric has been found in a number of graves in the North (Haithabu) and Russia. The linen overdress will be based more on the Rus with the silk details as noted in the Pskov finds but with the decorations from the Byzantine influences. The silks found in the Pskov grave show the Byzantine motifs in portions of their weave. there are many examples of this style of decoration in church frescoes, period bracelets and in grave finds. The plan is for plain silk that will be accentuated with tablet woven trim in either linen or silk. The trim will be either made by myself or my husband. A wool coat will be from handwoven fabric, accented by silk and based on kaftans from period descriptions and paintings. I am yet undecided on if it will be center buttoning or side buttoning as both were worn. If I have time I plan on making a new set of beaded jewelry for this outfit to compliment it all.
The is the shift (underwear layer) for my 10th Century Rus woman from Pskov’s outfit. For most this would have been the underdress and long sleeved but as I am the wife of a wealthy merchant and modernly a resident of a very warm Kingdom, the layer is a thin sleeveless linen shift. My underdress will be the next layer. The shift would have been used as sleepwear etc. The Pskov grave find did have evidence of very fine linen but it was mostly disintegrated in situ.
The linen is handkerchief weight linen and I used my standard pattern for the front back and side gussets and gores that can be seen in many Slavic and Norse grave finds. This construction is square with truncated triangles for gussets and gores. The gussets allow the garment to nip into the natural waist to give a bit of shape.
I cut the neckline wide and slightly scooped the armscye to allow good movement and to leave a clean line for where the square edges of the pieces met in the armscye.
The long seams were machine sewn but the straight cut edging (not bias cut edging) was applied by hand. The seams and hem were also had finished.
This is my underdress which is based on the evidence of a linen garment with a gathered neckline bound in the same fabric which was edged in silk at cuffs and hem in Pskov. The fabric is a plaid cotton since I did not have plaid linen but its wonderfully bright red and white and is representative of other checked fabric has been found in a number of graves in the North (Haithabu) and Russia. I chose a fine red silk for the cuffs and hem. Color is very common in clothing of the period especially rich reds.
All of the long seams are sewn by machine (1947 Singer Featherweight) and then finished by hand with a whip stitch by folding the seam allowances together and tucking the raw edges under to one side of the seam. The neckline was pleated with a single pass of the needle and thread with a basic gather and was then bound with straight cut edging of the same fabric as the dress. That edging also transitioned into the ties for the front of the neckline. The dress was sewn in Gutermann polyester thread but the silk was finished off with Guterman silk thread.
I was more generous in the cut down the neckline for ease of summer wear in Atenveldt than was was shown in the period example. I do plan on wearing this with my Norse kit as well and it will be a good addition to my wardrobe as a wealthy merchant woman on the borders of Norse and Rus culture in Pskov.
This garment has been one of the hardest items to pattern for my weight lifter physique and even the final garment required a redo of the entire shoulder to floor seams after I placed the sleeves too high (sewing too late at night is not a good thing). In the end I am most pleased with it. The garment is very comfortable and I will be excited to wear it for future events.
I will probably make another of these dresses but they are a lot of work for an underdress compared to my normal pattern but it was fun to learn a new thing and learn more about how to adjust and build patterns for different body styles. I do think on the next one I make, like the test pattern I made I will make the ties a bit thinner. These aren’t quite behaving and flop around a bit. 🙂
About Isibil: I have been active in the SCA for right at 20 years. I sew frequently, although I have had a dry spell with Covid. I love to hand sew and have been told that my skills are advanced. This project does tie into my persona, but perhaps a little bit of a different location (she traveled). I have made turn shoes several times, I would consider those skills to be intermediate. My naalbinding and knitting skills would probably be intermediate as well. This will be a challenging project both in scope and intricacy.
Her Project: I am going to do early period (10th Century) anglo saxon women’s dress. I have many historical painting/illumination images that will be included in my documentation. I plan to use accurate colors, linen fabric, hand sewn entirely. Naalbinding for accessories, inkle woven trim and hand made leather shoes with either knitted or naalbinding for the socks. I did something similar last fall for crown, but with more of a Calontir emphasis rather than a historical emphasis.
About Moon: I’ve been in the sca for 30 years and I am now just really starting to enjoy the arts and sciences. I entered one queens prize with a hand sewn tunic and would like to expand upon that experience with something to go with my persona.
His Project: A 10th century blend of Cherokee and Norse culture in an everyday outfit. This is something that I have wanted to do for a while and is purely conjectural experimental archaeology.
About Soma: I have been in the SCA for 6 years now. My main areas are sewing, embroidery, weaving, and lamp-working glass. These were all picked up as a result of my choosing a 10th century Norse persona. This will be more challenging for me as it will only be the second time I have hand finished my seams, and the first time purposely creating a whole outfit on a deadline.
Her Project: I plan to create a 10th-ish century viking outfit. This type of clothing has been found in a majority graves and would be worn by a middle class person. I plan to make a serk, an apron dress, a coat, and the accessories are undecided. Most of the inspiration comes from Medieval Garments Reconstructed, Norse clothing patterns. I have had all the supplies and been planning it for a while, but needed motivation.
This is a basic Norse serk used through much of the viking age. This is worn by women of all social classes. The difference being the material for what we can still find. The only thing I will do differently next time is a smaller neck opening.
Yellow flannel because, well wool is expensive. With blue chain stitching to finish. I had originally planned a blanket stitch but hated the way it looked 6 inches in. So I changed it! This layer is a modification of D5674 in Norse Clothing Patterns. This is a favored pattern of mine for its simplicity and fabric efficiency.
This layer is the Norse Hangeroc dress. The pattern was provided by Mistress Thora. It is seen in grave finds from 9th and 10th century. This dress is 100% wool, which is historically accurate. The dress was finished using a stab stitch shown in the book Medieval Clothing Reconstructed. I did struggle with this stitch and it is less than perfect in many places on this layer.
This is a tablet woven belt! Yeah I know. I said it would he the coat but the coat is naughty so its the belt! This is 20 cards of 5 forward 5 back simple geometric pattern. There are many geometric patterns found in the norse and Finnish graves. This one is not specific as the original pattern I ended up hating.