Since there haven’t been very many textile fragments found in Iceland of Viking Age clothing, I am including some of the re-creations from the “hands on” room at the Iceland National Museum in Reykjavik. This was kind of a cool room, obviously geared largely towards children. They included Viking Age clothing, Medieval Iceland clothing, and then examples of the Iceland historic national dress as well to dress up in and take photos. They also had games, a saddle, and other things.
I took photos of a few items of clothing that appeared to be Viking Age reproductions – however none of it was tagged to indicate what kind of examples inspired the garments…
Purple under gown
The first is this purple dress as shown above. It has a center front two-piece gore (with a seam down the center) which is repeated on the back as well. It also has a two-piece gore on each side seam, adding extra flare to the hem. The neckline is rounded with a slit, and the neckline is faced with a narrow band of self-fabric. The sleeves are rectangular, and sewn on with a straight seam. The neckline is top-stitched with a hand-sewn running stitch.
The sleeves are just rectangles.
Another view of the center gore – this time the center back. (Another two-piece gore)
A view of the side seam gores.
The next garment I photographed is this light grey apron dress. They chose a tabard-style apron (with no side seams or closures) which has sewn-on shoulder straps (rather than attaching with brooches), and trim decorating the top and bottom of the front.
I am curious about why they chose to include this garment like this. In my research thus far there doesn’t seem to be any support from wide, sewn-on straps, nor any evidence for bottom trim on the hem of the apron dress. (This is why the length is so subject to speculation.) Additionally, in my reading there has been a lot of criticism of the sideless, tabard-style apron dress.
This top had interesting tucks at the shoulder, taking in extra material at the shoulder, while letting the extra width remain in the body. It also had a rounded neck, with a very high neckline. I haven’t seen any evidence for this style so far in my research.
Another interesting aspect of this top is the seam placement….
I’ve exaggerated the seams above to make them more visible. It appears that this is made from three pieces of fabric – one makes up the sleeves, shoulders, and chest, with a hole for the neckline.
The remaining two pieces make up a left side and a right side of the body.
Like the tucks, I haven’t yet found evidence for this construction method, though I find it interesting. It does however remind me of underdress construction from a Finnish discovery. When I have a chance to go over more of my research I might be able to confirm this.
The grey tunic is the same as the purple one, but without the shoulder tucks.
National Museum of Iceland
Suðurgata 41, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland
+354 530 2200