Hoods, two ways

Skjoldehamn style hood (with some alteration)

Skjoldehamn style hood (with some alteration)

To add to my Viking ‘wardrobe’ I wanted to make something that I might also wear mundane – and really liked the look of some of the hoods I saw while browsing Pinterest.

I started out with one style – what I’ll be calling the “London Hood” style with shoulder gores, and then before even finishing, I looked at the design of another, and decided to give it a try too.

London Hood style (gored)


There are a number of hoods (from London, Denmark, and Greenland) which all have shoulder gores like this. However, the dating of some of these hoods puts some of them outside of the time frame that I have in mind. Most (but not all) of the hoods like this also have a liripipe, but I didn’t want to include one, because I thought it “feels” like a later period than what I’m looking to represent.


The pattern for this hood is somewhat more complicated than the next hood, and in cutting it, there’s also a fair amount of fabric waste. However – there is evidence that the triangle gore could have been cut from some of this waste, and some extant finds show pieced gores which would have made even better use of the otherwise wasted fabric.

The pattern includes the main body part with a turn-back cuff for the face opening, a gusset that runs from the forehead to the back hem, and two triangular gores which are inserted into slits cut into the main body fabric. While there is historical evidence for the cuff and shoulder gores, the top-of-head gore is a personal addition I’ve included to improve the shape of the hood.

Hood with gores (not to scale)

Hood with gores (not to scale)


I cut out the main body pattern out of some plaid wool (blend) which I think I bought from a remnant bin from a now out-of-business shop in Vancouver. I actually had the notes about the fabric when I started the project – but then between then and now, I’ve misplaced it!
For the lining (a full lining, edge-to-edge) I used some hand-dyed linen leftover from my blue apron dress.  The plaid is dark grey with a light grey, black, and yellow-brown stripes, and it’s an uneven plaid. The linen is a blue-grey, and since it’s hand-dyed there are some inconsistencies with the colour.

The first step I took (for both the lining and the main fabric) was to insert the gores into the slits at the neckline. In future I think I’d make them a little bit bigger.

Next I added the top gore which runs from the forehead to the back, thus joining the two sides. The neckline on this hood will be pinned, so I didn’t need to sew this seam. I did consider adding ties or buttons or something, but none of the extant examples suggested either, and I figured that a Viking woman would use one more chance to show off some jewelry!

London Hood style hood

London Hood style hood

I ‘bagged’ the lining, and hand-stitched the edge closed. All of the machine sewn and serged seams are inside the hood, and not visible.  I did a wrapped running stitch on the outside of the hood in pale yellow cotton embroidery thread and then on the inside of the cuff (which will turn back) I did a wrapped running stitch in yellow and blue cotton embroidery thread.

(In the photos below I pinned the hood with the pin I made – that I’ll blog about later…)


Skjoldehamn style (rectangular construction)


This hood is based off a find at Skjoldehamn – a harbour on a Norwegian Island. Dating on the (bog) find varies, but most recent dating puts it in mid-late 11th Century.


Here is a quick sketch (not to scale) of the pattern I used, taken from other online sketches. I chose a central rectangle cut on the fold (the most efficient use of my fabric, though the original had a seam here) along with two equally-sized squares for the front and back gores.

Rectangular construction hood (not to scale)

Rectangular construction hood (not to scale)



Initially the construction of this was super easy – sew the back gore to one side, back gore to the other side, back seam.. front gore to one side, front gore to the other front side… and done.  BUT…

When I based the last seams in place and tried the hood on, I found that the height of the hood was rather uncomfortable. Later I read Eugenia Swingle’s blog about her attempt at this hood, and found that she had the same challenge I did.

I used the same grey/grey/yellow/black wool plaid for the outside of the hood as the previous hood, and the same hand-dyed blue/grey linen for the lining.

Adjusted variation

Skjoldehamn style hood

Skjoldehamn style hood

Since the tightness of the construction made the hood uncomfortable for me, I opted to do something a bit different… instead of adding one square gore to the front seam, I added two equally-sized square gores to the front seam. One is on the left, the other the right. They cross in the front, and then I stitched them together along the outside edges only – the wrap-front provides extra warmth, but also allows for more moving room putting the hood on and taking it off. It also allows the hood to hang nicely when pushed back – before adding this I could barely push the hood off the back of my head!

I also didn’t love the way the hood ‘hung’ when I just tried on the wool shell. I opted to put a band of folded linen (a scrap leftover from other cutting) in the brim area to reinforce the curve for the finished version – I think it works well.

Pearl Cotton threads

Pearl Cotton threads

For the edges of the hood I stitched Pearl Cotton thread with a blanket/buttonhole stitch and a mock buttonhole stitch. I used a super dark red colour which I love, but I think that it doesn’t quite show up well enough on the dark grey plaid… I might want to go in later and layer in more colour if I have the opportunity/desire.

(Pearl Cotton – grey #413, black #310, ivory #712, red #321 – my colour scheme for future embroidery!)

If I decide to make another hood like this, I think I’ll need to adjust the sizes of my rectangles (and subsequently squares to give myself more room.

Final thoughts

I strongly prefer the way the hood with gores hangs, both when the hood is up, and when the hood is pushed back. I think that despite the style dating back later than I’m aiming for, I’m still more likely to re-create that style than the other.


Historical Sew Fortnightly 2014

In my blog-wanderings, I also found the Historical Sew Fortnightly 2014 – of course, mid-way through the year! I won’t be able to participate in all of the challenges (and definitely won’t be going back and doing past challenges!) but I thought it might be fun to tag along in part when I can just to inspire creativity!

The challenge due August 1st that this fits into is:

#14: Paisley & Plaid – due Fri 1 August.  Plaid is the most universal pattern, found in the textiles of almost all cultures and periods.  Paisley is more unique and recent, but has had a lasting impact on design.  Make something that utilizes one or both of these patterns.

The Challenge: #14 Paisley & Plaid (in this case.. just the plaid)

Fabric: Grey/grey/yellow/black plaid wool blend for the main part of the hood, with 100% hand-dyed blue linen for the lining. I did a fiber test and I’m pretty sure that it’s a wool/nylon blend, but I’ve misplaced the slip of paper I had written the contents on – if I find it I’ll update this!

Pattern: drafted from recommendations online

Year: Viking age

Notions: thread, embroidery thread

How historically accurate is it?: The original pattern is fairly accurate, though there is no evidence for the modifications I made (main forehead-hem gore in the London Hood, and crossed-over front for the second hood). The potential nylon content in the wool is obviously not accurate, nor is the cotton embroidery thread, but I’m not too worried about that.

Hours to complete: Not sure.. I never really monitor how long a project is taking…

First worn: Other than just trying it on, I haven’t worn it yet  – it’s summertime!

Total cost: Not sure. The linen was leftover from another project, the wool was already in my stash and the embroidery thread was in my stash too,  but it’s … 99 cents a skein I think – but I didn’t use a full skein. As mentioned above, I’ve misplaced the piece of paper that I had the original price written on, but I think it was a remnant because I haven’t used it before, and there wasn’t a garment-length there. The wool was probably regularly 12-15$/meter, and the wool was likely regularly 15$/meter.

5 comments on “Hoods, two ways

  1. […] I had already completed two hoods (and figured out which one I far prefer over the other..) I wanted to do a bit of research before […]

  2. […] started off with Hoods – two ways where I far preferred the fit of the hood with shoulder gores over the rectangle-constructed hood […]

  3. Sig says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this!

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