In summer 2016 I hosted a supply swap – with the plan for it to be part of a two-event challenge in the SCA, however there wasn’t enough participation so I had to cancel the second part. However, I did come away with some lovely wool plaid fabric from Asny Hafdansdoitter, a SCA player from another kingdom.
The yardage is a medium charcoal grey, with light grey, navy blue, and burgundy plaid. The only challenge for me – it was only 170cm long by 140cm wide – much too small for most of the garments I’d want to make for myself.
I decided to give a try to a more simple, completely trapezoid pattern for a Viking-style apron dress. Instead of shaped panels or gores to give more fullness to the skirt, this is just made up of trapezoids, created by folding the fabric, and cutting the “side seams” on the diagonal. A little bit leftover at the edges was just enough to bind the top edge and make narrow straps.
In looking at different speculation from different times in the Viking Age, it is suggested that the more shaped fabric panels to make garments is more typical of the later Viking Age, while early in the age, more simple shapes were more likely. Thus, I’m considering this to be more in the style of an earlier design, rather than my main kit which I strive for later Viking (late 900s) age for.
The pattern is extremely fabric efficient, with next to no waste. However… on my figure (with a significant difference between my bust and waist) there is some pulling- the garment looks much better belted than unbelted to correct this.
There have been some fabric fragments found from the Viking Age that were plaid. More about that in “Väl rutet – en kort blogg om rutigt på vikingatid och medeltid, del 1” however it’s possible that a four-colour plaid would have been much less likely in Scandinavia than in the British settlements.
Construction was simple, and I did it entirely on the machine – however finished all of the seams with a herringbone stitch in burgundy/dark red pearl cotton.
Historical Sew Monthly
Since I normally do later period Viking Age, this apron dress based on earlier period speculation is somewhat ‘out of my comfort zone’… I think that I far prefer a more fitted apron dress (hangerock) but I really do appreciate the fabric-efficiency of this design, and like that it opens up chances to use shorter yardage than what I would normally plan for.
The Challenge: October: Out of Your Comfort Zone – Create a garment from a time period you haven’t done before, or that uses a new skill or technique that you’ve never tried before.
Material: 100% wool plaid
Pattern: Self-drafted – trapezoids
Year: Early Viking Age
Notions: thread, embroidery thread
How historically accurate is it? Fiber content is good, Plaid is possible, pattern is speculative. Embroidery stitch is correct, though the pearl cotton is not.
Hours to complete: Unsure. Not terribly long for cutting and construction, an additional few hours for embroidery.
First worn: Just for photos
Total cost: Somewhat free. The threads were already in my stash, and the fabric was free-to-me. However, the thread would probably be in the $2-3 range, and the fabric would likely cost about $30-40/meter retail. I exchanged some buckles, beads, and fabric of my own for it, all of which were no longer useful to me, but I couldn’t begin to estimate the cost.
Want to join?
I haven’t been able to do a lot of the Historical Sew Monthly challenges this year, which makes me kind of sad because I was really looking forward to a lot of them!
Of course, I’d also love if you would join me on my Facebook page as well!