Viking Dress (part 1)


So my housemate is an almost 6′ redhead of Icelandic decent … so naturally she needs a decent set of Viking garb for the upcoming renaissance festival!

And what is the first thing to do when sewing for an era you’ve never sewn for before? Research of course! And where to turn besides the history books and extent burial collections? Pinterest. Here’s my page I set up for the project:


We started with the “tea towel” outermost part. Since I am doing most of the drafting and construction, she wanted to delve in to decoration and embroidery. Construction-wise it’s by far the easiest aspect. We used a curtain from the thrift store, cut it in to rectangles bust width and knee length. Put together as you would a pillow case, and voila!


The obvious curtain edges will be covered up by embroidery.


Using a marking pencil, she drew a design to embroider over


And began with the world’s smallest embroidery hoop because we couldn’t find our bigger ones. I’ll be posting updates as work progresses!



Work then began on the brown undertunic. For the most part, I’ve made so many chemises that I just kind of use measurements and my dress form at this point. But there are still parts for which I’d prefer to use a pattern! Primarily, I needed the sleeves from the Mccalls M4490 and the neck lining from the Simplicity 8855. I would base my keyhole neck in the tunic off of the lining piece.


Cutting out – Sleeves and gussets on the bottom, keyhole neckpiece in white laying on top of the tunic’s back, and the rest of the pieces in this picture were cut in to triangles and used as side gores.


Our dog helped….


Stitching on the neckline was so far the most delicate part. IRONING WHILE YOU GO IS YOUR FRIEND!! 🙂 Hem the outside first (iron), stitch to the inside (iron), then flip outside (iron)…


… pin and stitch down again (iron). I folded in the bottom bits to form a point at the bottom of the keyhole…


then pin and stitch down the other side (iron).


Run another stitch around the inside to tack everything in place and keep  the neckline crisp. I probably should have used a brown bobbin here to keep the seam less visible, buuuuuut  … I didn’t. I also doubt viking would have been using two different colors of thread to that end back then. So maybe I don’t feel so bad for that.



I put the neckline together first before even stitching on the sleeves or stitching up the sides. That way I wasn’t fighting with the garment itself – forever trying to turn it inside out and right side out over and over again. Once the neck was done, I was free to stitch on sleeves and stitch up the sides. Now I repeat with the cuffs that are meant to mirror the collar. (Forgive me, I took this picture before ironing!!)


A look at the (gah, again unironed!!!) sleeve attached to the garment, complete with gusset.


Well, that’s enough for part 1, I’ll start getting in to details on the green apron overdress in part 2!

UPDATE: Part 2 is up and to be found here!


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