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 Lynn: I have been in the SCA about 15 years and sewing for about 60. I constantly add to my skills with each new project. On this one I will be learning or improving on weaving, tablet weaving, embroidery, glass beads, metal work, and wood carving. Each new skill is challenging.
Their Project: Viking based garb with accessories based on my interpretation of historical finds. 9th century. Under shift, apron, head ware, Hedeby bag, and apron adornments.
I completed a Hedeby bag as an accessory for my Viking outfit. I cut out the handles using finds from Birka for inspiration. I then carved the wood handles with a design found on a sword scabbard in Valsgarde, Sweden. I wove a 2/2 wool twill on a 3 heddle loom for the body of the bag. Next I wove a wool tablet weave in missed hole technique from 10th century Birka for the shoulder strap and trim for the bag. This Hedeby is Viking in origin. Used for wide period around the tenth century by all classes. This was the first time I have done wood carving so that was a little painstakingly done. The weaving I have done a couple of times and still hope to improve my skills.
About Matthias: I have been in the SCA for just about 2 years, I am an A&S focused individual and embrace a wide range of craft skills. I sew at a moderate level for modern things, and am still quite new to historical sewing. My persona is early 15th Century, but decided I want a set of garb to fit another time period as well in building up my SCA wardrobe.
His Project: I will be planning an Anglo-Saxon outfit of the 7th-9th Centuries, This will be daily wear for a person of moderate economic means. It will consist of a tunic, over tunic, square cloak, hat and accessory item. I plan on hand sewing the entire project. All trim and embroidery will be done by myself.