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.
Her final thoughts on her C3 experience:
I’m very happy with my final project! When I started the dress concept in October, I was trying to envision what would look good photographed in a bleak January landscape (Pennsylvaniacan be pretty dreary this time of year!). I had many moments during the challenge where I questioned the decision to leave my designs simple and the colors natural, but in the end I’m very happy that I stuck to my original plan. It turned out exactly as I wanted it to.
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.
The second layer is a simple gown made of Shetland wool in a diamond twill. It’s a dress style and pattern that I’ve used many times before, so no issues! All the seams are handsewn and raw edges enclosed.
My third layer is an apron dress. The fabric was hand woven from yarn that I spun in my fiber mill. The center panel is dyed using walnut hulls. The dress is a simple tube construction with a little gathering in the front. I think that the tube style might be an issue if I was walking, but in the wheelchair it gathers the underdresses in and keeps them away from the tires very nicely! I had originally wanted to bind the top edge with more of the walnut dyed fabric, but it ended up being too bulky so I used the same wool as my stockings instead. I really liked the look of the felted fringe at the edge of the weaving, so I left it as the bottom of my dress.
The seams are handsewn; however, the fabric is a very loose weave and I did have trouble keeping the seams from unraveling. The fabric is thick enough that bound seams were becoming very bulky. Because getting dressed in the wheelchair can require a lot of tugging fabric into place, I reinforced a few of the seams on my sewing machine. This is the only machine sewing in the entire project.
My judged accessory is a willow and oak basket. The most explanation that I could find on viking baskets that were not the Gokstad backpack was the following reference “Round and square basket bases were found in the Scandinavian settlement in York, England, then known as “Jorvik.” The bases have holes around the perimeter, indicating that sticks or reeds may have been seated there, serving as the vertical staves to support the horizontally-woven bands.”
My husband cut and drilled the oak base for me, as the majority of our woodworking tools are in the basement which is not wheelchair accessible. I soaked the willow for a week and then wove the basket using a 3 rod wale for the bottom and top edges and a single plain weave for the body. I’ve made baskets before, but this was my first willow basket and my first with a solid base.
Additional accessories include:
A handwoven shawl from Shetland wool. I spun the yarn in my fiber mill.
A headscarf of linen, lightly dyed with walnut.
A Jorvik cap, handsewn from linen I wove on a ground loom many Pennsics ago.
A leather knife sheath with sterling silver embellishments.
A necklace of carnelian and crystal quartz with bronze additions.
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?
Her final thoughts on the challenge:
I learned so much with this project. I can’t wait to make something else!
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 the Clowder: Our group is a mix of newcomers to our Barony and people who have been here for years. We decided as a group to do something for one of our newcomers who had very little in the way of garb. Our group name was chosen because we mostly agree that this is going to be like herding cats. 😉
Their Project: We will be constructing a Viking Era Norse woman’s outfit for one of BLT’s newcomers. We are going with a general Norse outfit based off of several extant finds. Details are still being hammered out.
Eadaoin made a tablet woven ring belt of knotwork.
About Flavia: I have been in the SCA for about 11 years. This is my first endeavor in making a complete outfit based on a historic piece. I’ve made bits and pieces before, but it all went with my old persona. I’ve changed personas since joining the SCA and I am now a Roman courtesan. This outfit ties into my persona perfectly. In the SCA I have done quite a bit of embroidery. I’ve also focused on teaching, but in recent years I’ve been away working on my mundane career. (Which is teaching.). I also have dabbled in the bardic arts, calligraphy & illumination, and the making of largesse.
Her Project: I am looking to create a Roman women’s outfit roughly around the eruption of Vesuvius. My inspiration are these statues at the Getty Villa (which are recasts of the originals that are in Naples.) plus a statue at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. I plan on hopefully including a strophium, peplos, tunica, and if I’m lucky and the metal gods are smiling upon me, handmade buttons! Oh, and a palla for good measure. I also plan in making a leather circlet similar to the ones(which may or may not have been leather…since it’s a statue we won’t ever know) on the statues.
Her Final Thoughts on her C3 experience:
This was really fun. It is the first outfit I have sewn by hand in its entirety. It is simple in construction and it’s all about how well the fabric drapes. Modern fabric such as the lightweight linen I used, will drape correctly once it softens a bit with wear and washing. I am so proud of myself because I finished this after starting a month late and having COVID. I didn’t do all the things I wanted to. I’m sorry I couldn’t find a less modern spot to take pictures. We’re in the midst of a remodel so all I had was a corner of my front room. 🙂
Layer 1 is a linen tunica that would have been worn in Ancient Rome. I am a Roman Courtesan and this would have been perfect as a skin layer or even on its own.(though a little more than sheer.) I hand sewed the seams and hand hemmed the raw edges except for the selvage edges. I sewed the brass look buttons on to create the gap sleeve look. The only thing I would change would be the length. Evidently fabric store added some length to my order, which I didn’t catch.
Red linen peplos from Ancient Rome. I was inspired by a statue at the Museum in Boston that has a peplos over a tunica. I hand sewed and hand hemmed this. Again the length is a bit of an issue thanks to fabric store sending me more length. Oh well. It was also a PITA to pin. I would see where two buttons would be a better choice. I love the look though!
Wool gauze Palla. No respectable (I’m a courtesan…but I’m respectable) Roman woman set foot outside her home without her palla. This is hand hemmed and it was a pain because the gauze liked to pull! That gauze is yummy! Thanks Dharma! This can be used as a head covering, a wrap…I even imagine as something to cart a baby around, though that may not be HA.
This is a leather circlet. I took inspiration from one of the reproduction statues at the Getty. I would have gone to see the original in Naples last spring…but the Rona! I dyed this length of leather with black leather dye and then used bronze leather paint to paint the design by hand. I used sueded cord to close the circlet similar to the inspiration pics. Circlets can be made of lots of different materials. I’m not sure what the circlet on the model for the statue was wearing so I took a leap of faith. I cut the little notches in the end with leather scissors and an exact knife. This was a pain to do. I like the look of it, and the fact that it is adjustable(with some coaxing it will slide.)
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.
Her final thoughts on her C3 experience:
I’m really happy this event happened. It got me out of my rut and gave me something to get done with a due date since everything else has been in a state of limbo.
I was able to three entirely new patterns for myself and they are things I’ve been wanting to do for quite some time but never had the initiative/need to start them. They were always on the “eventually I’ll make that” or “someday I’ll try that.” It reminded me I don’t really need an excuse and a deadline to make something but it really does help with the motivation.
I’m going to go and make one more layer for this outfit as I did run out of time due to how long it took me to make my patterns since I made test pieces I really did complete more garments just not for the final show. 🙂 But I plan on cutting out my coat to have it ready for this fall.
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. 🙂
Overdress – The overdress is a lightweight linen with silk accents and silk tablet woven bands. The pattern for this dress is modified with extra gussets on the back shoulders to accommodate for my physique. While this style has not been noted in grave finds for Rus/Norse it is well documented in the cultures of the Middle East. Pskov was a trade town, which bridged the cultures of the Norse and the Middle East to the South. Ibn Fadlan traveled up the Volga River in 921 C.E. and other traders traveled the same routes for the Silk Road from China/India to the Scandinavian countries. There are finds in Russia, which show obvious Asian influence in the gilt shot/patterned silks and the use of more Asian style of clothing patterns. These influences were all found in graves South of Pskov, and they can be conjectured to have also occurred further North.
The extra gusset is trapezoidal in shape and allows for more movement at the shoulder blades before the rest of the garment lays straight. It seems odd that such a small change would allow for such good movement but it really does. I made my gore that goes with it angled on the outside and I think for ease of fit of the underarm gusset/gore sets that I will make this straight next time. It is just easier to assemble and it will help with the ease of cutting the hem. With the angled gore the back is wider than the front . However, if you have an ample “back 40” this may actually be a good modification. My next rendition I will try it and see how I like the fit.
Like the other layers, all of the long seams are sewn on my 1947 Singer Featherweight and then hand finished. The silk yoke of the dress has reinforcements along the button band. The linen while very opaque is quite light in weight and the weight of the bells used as buttons and knowing that buttons can be a stress point in garments this needed reinforcement. The loops are also silk and are integral with the band reinforcement. The trim is woven in silk by Duke Ivan Petrovich, OL & KSCA, and is based on a Danish pattern from around the same time. Tablet woven bands have been found throughout Russian and Scandinavian grave finds. The silk at the cuffs and hem is finished with a small running stitch which all work on the yoke is finished with a whipstitch. The threads used are commercial Gutterman or vintage mercerized polyester (Auntie’s stash thread).
Fitting the shoulders for this pattern worked really well, what I would have done differently would be to open up the sleeve circumference a bit for a bit more movement with the other dresses underneath. Having worn the clothes for a few hours, I am not noticing much issue with that fit but it is a note for future garments on this same pattern.
Only recently, had naalbound hats been found in archeological evidence during the SCA period, before then it was conjecture if they existed but the evidence was favorable with mittens, socks, cuffs etc. all being made by this fiber technique. The pattern was first documented in Danish Bog burials as the “milk strainer stitch” as it was used a strainer for milk. I chose this pattern because 1) it is the only stitch I know and 2) it provides a nice open weave which breaths well. Additionally, the stitch has been shown as a decorative edging on clothing as well. Most folks who embroider can do this stitch, as it is the buttonhole stitch! The hat started with 8 stitches within that circle and the hat spirals out from there. The loose end of the circle is pulled to tighten the circle down to a closure i.e. magically closing it! After the first row, the next row follows with 2 stitches in each of the stitches from the previous row, then the next row does two stitches in every other stitch, the next row does 2 stitches in every 3rd stitch and so on until the top of the hat had met or exceeded the circumference of the wearers head. The final rounds of increases for this hat were 18 or 19 stitches between each increase. In this case, that was about 8″ in diameter. After that diameter had been reached, the pattern was 1 stitch per 1 stitch until the hat reached the proper length.
Living in Atenveldt I still want my head covered but even in Winter having your clothing breath helps a lot. I made this hat slightly oversized to go over my hair in various styles and to go over my head wraps. Again, the want is to let things breath while still keeping the sun off you.
The yarn is my own handspun from 2013-2015. I believe it was from the Bisbee Arizona Fiber Guild and I spun the plies on my hand spindle while I traveled all over as Crown (2013), and then was plied (2-ply) on my spinning wheel (2015). It was my first project on my wheel, and it is a bit bumpy and lumpy but once on it looks great and it is a wonderful color.
The needled for this project is fossilized mammoth ivory and made by Duke Ivan Petrovich, OL & KSCA.
About Jacquette: I have participated in the SCA for about 12 years, off and on. I was an avid sewer in my early years, but in the past few years have found it difficult to give my attention to. This project will encourage me to get back into a hobby I have long admired while challenging me to focus on historical research.
Her Project: My plan is to construct a Viking apron dress that would have been specifically used for breastfeeding. By interpreting burial artifacts, illuminations, and foreign cultural influences, I will portray what I theorize is the style mothers would have worn while feeding their young. This focused piece is inspired by my own lactation challenges, and my interest in how mothers prevailed in history.
The under tunic (or serk) for my Norse (Viking) garment is based on the Herjolfsnes archeology find in Greenland. I focused on the garment D10585.1 which shows a serk with a front slit in the middle of the chest. This garment got me thinking that with the slit in the middle, a Viking mother has accessibility when breastfeeding her child.
All the sewing was done by hand with wool or silk thread which was purchased at a SCA event. The stitch used for the basic structure was the running stitch while the decorative stitch is the hemming bone stitch. All together the under tunic was made with linen or linen-blend fabric. I am proud to say that I finished all raw seams with a whipstitch. I rarely ever complete a garment’s raw edges.
I had originally planned to make this layer an exact replication of the historical garment, however, due to issues in the patterning and construction of the garment I had to do some modifications. Firstly, the tunic was too short at the bottom (or hem), thus I added a blue linen kick-panel to add length. Secondly, I attempted to sew the gores and gussets in the technique suggested by “Medieval Garments reconstructed: Norse Clothing Patterns” but found complications when doing so. When adding the gores, I folded the raw edge of the serk and sewed it flat to the gore using the herringbone stitch. This work marvelously on the sides of the garment and added an extra decoration. However, when using this method to gores in the back or front, I had to use a different stitch and manipulation of fabric around the points of the gore to make it not pucker as much. After attempting this on the back and being frustrated, I chose not to add the gore to the front, which would be similar to garment D5674.
If I was to redo this garment I would finish the seams with a flat-felled seam or French seam. The greatest hurdle I would like to overcome is being consistent with all my stitches. I notice that when I get fatigued I tend to get sloppy with the size and length of each stitch.
The second layer of my Norse (Viking) garment is the apron dress (smokkr). This garment is roughly based on the Birka archeological dig. The construction is based on the theories of Hagg (1974). I mainly focused on the grave titled 464 and 465 for interpreting the types of fabric and parts of construction. The Birka dig found fragments of a blue wool with a linen fragment pressed against it. Encompassing both fragments at the top was a strip of silk. Thus I chose the wool as my main fabric component and linen as the lining for the smokkr. For the sides, I folded the wool over the raw edge of the linen and stitched it with a whipstitch. I did not double fold the fabric. I found this technique was the better way to sew the garment because of the thickness of the wool. I used a strip of white silk over the top of the linen and wool, and used a whipstitch to finish the seam.
The main construction of the smokkr was based on the theory that the apron was made of one solid piece of fabric that wrapped around the body. I tried to imitate this in my construction and found that for a voluptuous woman this caused extra space around the bust line. A better choice would be to gather or pleat the material. The smokkr loops I made from wool. The fabric was folded on both sides, causing 4 layers, and stitched along the raw sides with a blind (or sometimes called ladder) stitch. This was found in many of the Birka graves. The majority of the graves also had several loops at either the top or bottom of the turtle brooches, especially in the case of 465 grave. This leads me to believe that other components, such as a front smokkr panel, could have been attached.
This brings me to Bau’s (1981) theory of the front smokkr being open and a front panel being hooked onto it with loops. The theory of the detacheable front panel would be plausible for a breastfeeding Viking women who would have to adjust or get rid of the front of the smokkr to have access to the chest.
The third layer of the garment is based on Yorkshire Museum’s Viking Silk Cap (900AD-999AD). I chose this as a basis for what a Viking mother would have worn around her head to cover up her hair while breastfeeding. Personally, I found that breastfeeding while there is hair flying all over the place is very frustrating. Therefore, some form of cap would be plausible. The main body and fabric of the cap was made similar to the Yorkshire cap. It was constructed using two silk fabric pieces with a seam down the middle. I chose to put a linen lining to add comfort and interest to the cap. I used the same method of finishing the seams as with the smokkr. I folded the edge of the silk and linen, however, I did a double fold since it was not as bulky as the wool. I whipstitched the seam with silk thread pulled from left over pieces of fabric so to match the cap.
The fourth layer of my garment is an attempt to replicate a tri-lobed brooch. Based on skeletal remains in Birka and other locations, the tri-lobed brooch was usually located around the “adams-apple” or chest of a serk, or attach to a cloak or coat. The use of this accessory for the serk was similar to a button, holding the top two edges together. This would be plausible for Viking women who would need some form of closure around the neckline of the serk.
I tried to replicate the tri-lobed brooch by making clay molds and melting metal into the molds, aka casting. This layer was extremely difficult for me because I never had dealt with metal and casting before, and I did not have proper materials like a kiln. I used terra cotta clay and sculpted a mold. I then baked it using a typical kitchen oven at 275 degrees for about an hour to harden the mold. I had to make sure that the mold was less than 1/2”, so it would dry out properly. If not properly dry, it could explode when hot metal hit it and there is moisture (known as a steam explosion). Unable to get bronze, gold, or other fine metals, I attempted this accessory using molten lead through a melting pot. Having difficulty designing a clip to attach to the brooch, I settled on melting a safety pin to the backside. If I could do it again, I would solder pieces of metal together to create a clip.
About Lasair: My name is Lasair nic Taillier. I have been in the SCA off and on for 30 years. My persona is an early period merchant and sheep farmer. Sewing is one of the many crafts that I learned from my mother, although I am confident, I am not an expert nor am I very good at sewing clothing or making patterns. My expertise is in working with wool and strings. I am a Master Spinner (modernly) and an experienced dyer. I love working with all aspects of wool, from the raw fleece to a finished yarn. The challenge for this project will be in the pattern/fitting part. Creating the complete outfit and not being sidetracked before it is finished will also be a challenge. I am by nature a provider of goods, as in I provide yarn for spinning, dyed wool for felting, dyed and skeined silks for embroidery, bands for trim, etc, so to finished a project is a challenge for me, especially when it has many parts.
Her Project: I have been wanting to make a new complete Finnish outfit for a while now. I have made and worn Viking tunics for many years because I prefer the simple early clothing. However, when Mistress Johanne of Fisher Gate introduced me to the Finnish Outfit, I fell in love with the simplicity of the dress and the crafty ornate aprons. The metal ornaments (neck ware and spiral bracelets) are really cool too! I am going to make an Eura type outfit as described in “Ancient Finnish Costumes, by Pirkko-Liisa Lehtosalo-Hilander:Page 53. Fig 37. The Eura costume”. Consisting of an undertunic (linen), the main-dress (wool), a mantel (linen or wool to be deciced), and accessories (to be determined).
Her thoughts on her C3 experience:
Making this outfit was so much fun. I learned about making coil beads and weaving bands onto fabric. I will enjoy wearing this to an event. Can’t wait to see everyone’s new outfit.
Layer 1 is the under dress for my Finnish Outfit. It is machine sewn from 100% linen. I measured and cut the fabric based on the pictures from the Eura costume based on ‘Grave 56’ at Luistari, as detailed in ‘Ancient Finnish Costumes by Suomenkielinen lyhennelma’, pages 45 to 53.
This was an easy layer, since the fabric only had to be measured, cut and sewn at the shoulders and hems. The most time consuming part was weaving the Baltic trim using silk. I have done Baltic weaving as a learning experiment using cotton, but have not made any for use or used silk thread. So there was a learning curve, but not a steep one. I made 2 1/2 yards of two different patterns, one for the top trim and one for the bottom. After this project, I consider myself very much more educated in the art of Baltic pick up weaving and un-weaving and re-weaving, etc.
My final layer is the Mantel. Using a 1 yard piece of commercial wool, I cut it to the correct width and used the left over pieces to create the woven edge, metal bead and fringed ends. Historically it would have been finished off on the loom using the warp of the fabric as the weft of the band. I do not own a warp weighted loom and did not weave the fabric. So my compromise was to fringe(remove the weft threads) from 20 inches of the ends and use my small inkle loom to add a Baltic style band using my hand spun yarn as warp and the warp from the fabric as the weft for the band. Next I made the metal beads and added 3 rows of beads to the fringe. Then I wove a second band under the beads using the same yarn and style as the first band. Lastly I braided and tied the ends of the fringe.
This was quite the challenge as I have never made metal beads and have certainly never woven a band onto a length of fabric. Weaving the first band was not too bad, it got a bit fiddly as the cloth was moving through the pegs on the loom and because the warp threads were of different diameters choosing the correct number of warp/fabric threads to use so the fabric would not gather was a bit tricky. I got the hang of making the beads fairly fast and adding them to the fringe was just a matter of keeping them even. However, the second band quickly became a very fiddly challenge as I had to try to keep the beads in line and use the correct amount of weft threads and ease the band/beads around the loom pegs as I wove it.
One thing that was helped a lot was tying the weft threads after weaving to keep the band tight and stop it from slipping.
This is the apron for my Finnish dress. The apron is red linen with metal work and handwoven Baltic trim.
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.
Their final thoughts on their C3 experience:
Loved doing this.. Seriously reinforced the skills I already had and improved ones I am just starting in.
This is a 9-10th century Viking Chemise. Hand sewn using linen and silk thread with seams encased to prevent fraying There are several modifications of the standard early tunic pattern. I did modify this to decrease the should width or it would have hung down to almost my elbows. I have found other modificatiions that accomplish this and would loke to try those next time.
9-10th century Viking dress tunic This would have belonged to a wealthier lady due to the colors used and the amount of embroidery. Again would like to try another modification of the pattern next go around..I was extremely pleased at the fit and how this one turned out.. Next step…Weaving the linen and hand dying it.
9 to10th century Viking apron and cover.. Would have belonged to a wealthier woman due to color and amount of embroidery..I put lot of thought into making this layer . On seam treatments and choice of embroidery patterns and tablet weaves. I am completely pleased with how this turned out.. If I didnot live in Florida would have loved to embroider and make an outer cape or cloat for next project.
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.
Additional Viking accessories. Viking woman wore their wealth so even more accessories could be added. I made lampwork glass beads using period designs to add to the front of the apron..I also made a leather flask hand tooled with a heraldic dragon..
About Mikhaila: My SCA name is Mikhaila von Dhaun and I am a second genner. I have been sewing my own garb for about 15 years and have been wanting to completely hand sew an outfit for a while. This gives me a good reason to sew this Anglo-Saxon outfit, especially being made up of fairly geometric shapes. I sew regularly. I have slowly been gaining more comfort and confidence with my own abilities. My persona is German, but I was born in England near an Anglo-Saxon Village in Suffolk called West Stow. I thought this would be a good explanation for why my German person was in England.
Her Project: I will be aiming to make an outfit that fits within the same time period as the Anglo-Saxon village that I was born near, West Stow, 420-650 AD. As I am unsure if I will be able to find extant examples all from one place, I plan to construct pieces using information from Germany and England, possibly Middle or Merchant class. I hope that by bringing together this combination of extant items, I will be able to make up an outfit that would have been worn within the bounds of viability for West Stow.
Her final thoughts on her C3 Experience:
I appreciate the opportunity to push myself by producing this outfit completely by hand and researching the pieces that would make a plausible outfit of this time period, culture and place.
I would like to state that I chose to recreate the wrist clasps and bands from Lincolnshire as they were not out of the realm of possibility for a merchant to have purchased a set on their travels to purchase things to sell back home.
This layer contains: an early period linen underdress sewn by hand with linen thread and a linen strophium, hemmed with linen thread. I failed to complete a pair of underpants and socks due to some research difficulties.
This layer contains a wool overtunic sewn by hand with linen thread, a set of Anglo-Saxon wrist clasps (based on a set from Lincolnshire, cut out, stamped and bent from brass sheet) embedded on leather bands (sewn with linen thread). I also forged a brass penannular pin to close the slit of the keyhole neckline.
This layer contains a linen peplos-style dress (hand seamed and hemmed in linen thread) with a set of brass fibula pins that I forged to hold it together at the shoulders. I failed to finish a linen tablet woven belt in time due to some technical difficulties.
Based on an Anglo-Saxon spiral bracelet from Tuddenham, Suffolk between 410-649AD. I made it from purchased strip brass, which I sawed to length, annealed, stamped and bent into shape.
About Tasha: I’ve been in the SCA for about 20 years. Sewing is one of my main activities, but really, if it involves textiles, string, or some combination of the two, I’m in. I started hand sewing all my garb several years ago when I realized that I hated machine sewing, I wanted my garb to fit better and last longer, and I couldn’t hear the movie I was streaming over the sound of the sewing machine. In addition to sewing, I also do leatherwork and am a regional combat archery lieutenant. This project does tie into my persona in that I believe it’s the sort of thing I wanted to make for my late husband, both in and out of persona. I think it will be a challenge both because I haven’t really made menswear at the level I am at with womenswear, and because I will be drafting at least two new patterns (shirt and pants) if not three (the coat). It will also be a time management challenge, since the holidays are smack in the middle of this process. This is going to be fun!
Her Project: I’m planning to make a set of men’s clothes from Viking Age Sweden, built to fit me. I started fighting a few years ago and I still don’t have a proper pair of pants (track pants from Target Do Not Count). I really want to figure out how to draft a pair of late Viking Age trousers for myself, both to add that skill to my repertoire and to have a pair of pants to fight in.
I’ve also bee fascinated by the Viborg shirt for years, and am extremely excited to adjust the pattern to fit me and to use the very interesting stitches I’ve found to flat line the bodice. I’ll also be making a wool tunic with my tablet woven trim, a coat to go over everything, and a leather belt and pouch. I hope to spin the wool thread to sew the coat and tunic as well, and if I can find the right fabric, I may even dye it for the tunic.
Her final thoughts on her C3 experience:
This was a heck of a challenge and I’m glad I did it. I learned a LOT about how to put things together quickly and easily, and pro tip: it’s not using modern sewing methods. I’m looking forward to making more clothes using the things I learned.
I made a version of the Viborg shirt adapted for my figure, using instructions from the pamphlet “The Viking Shirt from Viborg,” by Mytte Fentz. The original was made for a man with a 32″ chest — I am not that size or shape. It was found at the bottom of a posthole in Viborg Søndersø, Denmark, in the center of Jutland. Because it wasn’t found in a grave, we have no idea who wore it or why it ended up there — it could have been a sacrifice of a valuable garment for the future stability of the building… or not.
The front and back of the torso section is lined, but the sleeves are not. There are flaps hanging from the front and back as well, and the edges of these extend a couple of inches to wrap around the body, with the back overlying the front. These are also unlined. The shirt has a square neckline, with an ingenious arrangement of flaps at the neck with slits at either front corner and ties arranged so as to pull the slits closed for warmth.
I made it out of 5.3 ounce bleached linen from fabrics-store.com, because it was in my stash. I adapted the measurements to accommodate my curves, making it longer in the front of the torso and longer over the buttocks in the rear, as well as making it bigger through the bust and shoulders. I used a mix of linen and silk thread to sew it — I ran out of linen and had silk on hand.
I finished the main layer of my outfit: a pair of wool trousers based on the Thorsberg Trousers, and a tunic based on the Kragelund tunic. The trousers, while harkening back to the much-earlier Thorsberg find, are also found in digs dating to the 10th c in Hedeby. They would have been worn by men, though given the nature of the vast majority of the Hedeby finds (Wadded up between the planks of a ship and covered in tar), it’s impossible to know what social class wore them. I’m inclined to say everyone did.
I’ve never drafted trousers before, and they are *really* hard to pattern by yourself. I really could have used help fitting the back and hips, but I did my best. They’re still about four inches too big in the waist; given my waist to hip ratio, even a belt won’t hold them up comfortably and allow me to get them on and off easily, so I think when I finally rebuild them, I’ll want some sort of fly. It’s not attested to in period, but needs must.
I first made a mockup out of muslin, basting and rebasting and remaking pieces till I got it where I thought I needed it. Then I traced the pieces onto heavy paper, cut them out of a brown and yellow herringbone wool, and sewed them with handspun thread. I usually sew wool by sewing down the seam allowances and then whipping the seam together, but for extra strength, particularly in the seat, I sewed the seam and then pressed both seam allowances to the same side and sewed them down.
I greatly overestimated the rise I’d need, even after cutting off quite a lot. Currently they are 3-4 inches too long in the crotch and about that much too big around. It’s going to require some reconsideration to fix the issues. Other than those fit problems, however, I find them quite comfortable and would be willing to make more… once I get the pattern sussed out.
I found the tunic much easier, since I’ve made similar garments before. I like to draw cutting layouts before I go to the fabric, and I drew layouts with the tunic body in one piece and with a shoulder seam, and for a knee-length tunic, it was actually more economical of fabric to do the body in one piece.
I cut the gores in such a way that I needed to sew them all together up the middle, and I did that using a lapped seam (cited in Die Textilfunde aus dem Hafen von Haithabu by Inga Hägg, 1984). The side gores were inserted into the seam, but the center front and center back (CF and CB) gores were inserted into a slit… sort of. Using chalk, I drew a line down the center of the body panel, starting where I wanted the tip of the gore. Then I drew stitch lines down the edges of the gore using a 1/2″ seam allowance. I lined up the edge of the gore with the line on the body panel and stitched it down. Then I cut the line, flipped the gore to the inside of the tunic, lined the edge of the gore up with the cut line, and sewed the other side in. I reinforced the top of the gore with knotted buttonhole stitch. Rather than the pointy and sharp tip that people seem to strive for in the SCA, the tip of my gore is rather rounded, but it hangs beautifully, looks great, and best of all, was incredibly easy to do. I’ve avoided CF and CB gores for *years* because they intimidated me — well no longer! I am the BOSS of I found the tunic much easier, since I’ve made similar garments before. I like to draw cutting layouts before I go to the fabric, and I drew layouts with the tunic body in one piece and with a shoulder seam, and for a knee-length tunic, it was actually more economical of fabric to do the body in one piece.
Once the gores were in, I pressed the seam allowances to the outside of the gore, snipped away the underside seam allowance to reduce bulk, and sewed down the seam allowances with either an overcast or herringbone stitch, depending on how much I felt I needed to baby the edges (I use herringbone when they seem likely to fray). I used handspun thread as much as I could, but eventually my dwindling supply of thread bumped up against my dwindling supply of time and I finished the rest of the tunic with commercially made Burmilana wool blend thread from MadeiraUSA.
The sleeves were next. I sewed in the gusset and sewed shut the sleeve, then sewed it to the body of the tunic. Again, I turned seam allowances away from the gusset, graded down the underside seam allowance, and sewed down the seam allowances. Then I cut the sleeves to length and tapered the sleeve from elbow to wrist… or at least that’s what should have happened. On the first sleeve I tapered first and cut to length second, then needed to retaper as it wasn’t close enough, and then needed to move the elbow point as it ended up somewhere near the top of my ulna.
Then I put in the second sleeve inside out and discovered my mistake after finishing the seam allowance, so I had to cut it out, flip it, and carefully resew so I didn’t destroy the tiny amount of remaining seam allowance. It went really smoothly, but had I been paying actual attention to what I was doing I wouldn’t have had to fix it and put myself a day behind.
I bound the neckline and cuffs with some silk dupioni I had in my stash. It looks nice, bound edges were known in period (though perhaps later than the Viking Age), and it’s SO much less bulky than a turned hem. I did turn the hem at the bottom, pressed it with steam, and stitched it with a herringbone stitch because it’s practically invisible and very very flexible.
I am SUPER happy with the tunic, medium happy with the trousers, and when I put the whole thing together with my shirt and put on legwraps, shoes, and a belt, it all looks REALLY good. I will definitely be wearing this when I need to be outside in cold weather at an event.
This is a Klappenrock, also known as a wrap coat or a warrior’s coat. It would have been worn by men in 10th c Hedeby, and fragments assumed to be from a similar garment have also been found at Birka. It’s made of blue wool lined with a tightly woven yellow wool twill, edged with silk and trimmed with cotton and silk tablet weaving. I made it based generally on the shape of the tunic, though due to a lack of lining fabric I left the sides open as slits rather than adding gores to make it wide enough to walk in. The entire coat is flatlined, using the same sewing technique I used to join the sides of my shirt, which is modernly known as the English stitch. By stitching these seams very closely, I was able to create strong, sturdy seams that went together fairly quickly. Everything went pretty much to plan; I don’t recall anything surprising or anything that threw up a roadblock. I did find that the fronts are too wide (probably the whole coat is a touch big, but I’m not taking the whole thing apart), and I plan to fix that later. I actually don’t think I would do much differently with this pattern. It went together fast and neat and I’m very happy with the result.
This layer is a leather belt, based on straps and knife sheaths found at York in the Anglo-Scandinavian layers. The buckle was purchased from an Etsy seller and is based on a find from 10th c Norway, in the Borre knotwork style. The belt is approximately 5/8″ wide and is made from a vegetable-tanned belt strap purchased at Tandy Leather. I beveled the edges and slicked them for comfort, then wet the straps and impressed a geometric pattern of lines using a stylus, modeled after similar designs from knife sheaths from York. I used a modern dye to dye it brown (Tandy Waterstain in medium brown) because I didn’t have time to make a period dye. Using my fingers, I rubbed in a hide softener to condition the leather and make it more supple. The belt strap wasn’t quite long enough for my purposes, so I pieced two together, stitching them with waxed linen thread. I skived one end of the strap, making it thinner to wrap around the bar of the buckle, and punched a (very wobbly) slot for the tongue of the buckle to go through. I punched stitch holes with a stitching chisel and sewed the belt end around the bar of the buckle using a saddle stitch for durability. I then marked and cut the belt to length, punched hold for the belt tip using an awl, and sewed the belt tip to the end of the belt with waxed linen thread. Finally, I punched holes for the tongue of the buckle in the strap and the belt was complete. The build pretty much went as planned; this width is both a pain and a joy to work with. It was hard to slick the edges because it was hard to hold the leather and run the bone slicker over the edge at the same time. If I were to do it over, I would look for more sources about belts; all I had time for was the one resource I had that’s written in English. Overall, though, despite a whole lot of “don’t wanna” yesterday, I’m really thrilled with how it came out.