Wool Norse coat

Wearing my second Norse-style coat (along with a hat and outfit I'll blog about later!)

Wearing my second Norse-style coat (along with a hat and outfit I’ll blog about later!)

A while back I made a coat/caftan for my Norse costume out of basketweave linen. It was very large, and although it’s wearable, I really wanted to make one out of wool instead, and more fitted.

Fabric

Fabric 'haul' from the Grandmother's Fabric Sale 2014

Fabric ‘haul’ from the Grandmother’s Fabric Sale 2014

I bought some wool at the last Grandmother’s Fabric Sale (seen on the very bottom of the pile to the left) with the intention of using it for a Norse caftan or coat. It is a pale grey with a dark grey and royal blue Houndstooth plaid. The fabric feels wonderful, but a little burn test suggests that it probably has a small synthetic percentage, which I don’t love, but don’t mind.

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Blue linen underdress

Focus on neckline and cuff of new blue linen underdress

Focus on neckline and cuff of new blue linen underdress

 

In November I attended a Tavern night with the SCA group in Calgary, and found that my skirts (well, dresses) were just a bit too short for the cold weather. I made a mental note to explore the wearing of pants by women (there are stories in the Icelandic sagas that mention this..) and also to make a longer underdress that I could wear for indoor events like this.

I used some of the navy lightweight linen from Fabric.com that I got for less than $5.00/yard (before tax and shipping) – it was such a good price that I bought 25 yards of it, and have used it for a bunch of other things too… it washes up really nicely!

The pattern

I used the same kind of pattern I’ve used a few times before for general early-period underdresses.  I’ve used this same general pattern (with some variations) for my most recent brown linen underdress, a blue underdress (with an embellished hem), a white linen underdress (with embellished hem) and a pink & purple underdress, and the black linen underdress I blogged about last year. Continue reading

Black linen underdress

Neckline embroidery stitches on black linen underdress

Neckline embroidery stitches on black linen underdress

One of my most recent completed projects is a black linen underdress for my Viking wardrobe.  The same underdress is also suitable for a few other early-period costumes. The black linen is from Fabric.com, from my post not too long ago about online purchases.

The pattern

It was only after I made this dress that I thought about actually researching the underdress pattern – instead for this dress I used the same kind of pattern I’ve used a few times before for general early-period underdresses.  I’ve used this same general pattern (with some variations) for my most recent brown linen underdress, a blue underdress (with an embellished hem), a white linen underdress (with embellished hem) and a pink & purple underdress. Continue reading

T-Shirt Recycled Skirt

Completed t-shirt skirt - a full skirt with a wide ruffled hem, made entirely from unwanted t-shirts!

Completed t-shirt skirt – a full skirt with a wide ruffled hem, made entirely from unwanted t-shirts!

A while ago I was given a whole bunch of t-shirts… they were all new, made of nice soft material – but they all had a horrible, ugly logo on them that I would never wear (not that I wear a lot of t-shirts as it is…). The colour was great though – a nice rich brown with more of a red undertone than a yellow undertone, which I thought would work really well with a Steampunk wardrobe/costume. Since I had so many t-shirts, I used one for a bag… and then the rest became this skirt…

Pattern (sort of….)

I had 7 shirts to work from, so I could get a LOT of volume in this skirt – you don’t need that many by far (I’m plus-sized). 3-4 shirts would be enough for a lot of sizes, depending on how much volume you want, and if you can use the reverse of the shirt or if the logo is too visible. For mine, the logo was way too visible, so that part of the shirt was discarded.

Step one - what to do with a bunch of logo t-shirts.. make a skirt!

Step one – what to do with a bunch of logo t-shirts.. make a skirt!

For the first steps I removed the sleeves and rib-knit collar.

Then I cut up the side-seams. (Your t-shirt may or may not have side seams.. adjust as needed!)

Then I opened the sleeves up….

From the front of the shirt the logo was discarded, and I cut a rectangle from above the logo, one each from each of the sleeves, and two from the belly area of the shirt. (The shaded out part of my super-quick sketch are discarded fabric areas.)

From the back of the shirt I cut a wedge-shaped piece of fabric. You can do this straight, but I find that if I want a wide hem, having a tapered shape gives a better look; less gathering at the waist.

 

Step two - what to do with a bunch of logo t-shirts.. make a skirt!

Step two – what to do with a bunch of logo t-shirts.. make a skirt!

All those little rectangles (I had 20 of them) were sewn together on the short ends, and eventually gathered all up into about 6-8 feet (I didn’t measure) of ruffled fabric… this is for the hem… I used a ruffler for my sewing machine to make this really fast….

6 of the wedges from the back of the shirts were sewn together to create the body of the skirt…

… while the remaining wedge I set aside.. and later cut up into three longer rectangles that would become the waistband. (If I’d thought of it, I could have just cut them out to begin with… but I was thinking of doing something else at first…)

After gathering the waist of the skirt using clear elastic, I attached the waistband, and ran waistband elastic through the channel, sewed it closed, and did  a little bit of top-stitching to secure the elastic.

MakeASteampunkSkirtFromTshirtsThe finished result is a  very full skirt with a big wide ruffle of fabric at the hem, giving it even more volume!

On the left is a Pinterest-friendly version of the instructions in case you want to Pin it!

Apron dress – a reasonable attempt

Brown linen under tunic, blue cotton apron dress with festoons & 'turtle' broaches

Brown linen under tunic, blue cotton apron dress with festoons & ‘turtle’ broaches

The other day I shared a quick, simple ‘pillowcase dress’ I had made – but I had an ulterior motive in making it (other than it’s just super quick, simple, cute, and really low-waste). I wanted to see how it would work as an attempt at an early-period Viking ‘Apron Dress’.

I had the ‘pillowcase dress’ in the back of my mind, but then when I was looking at early-period (tube-style) Viking Apron Dresses, combined with the “reasonable attempt” bog dress from A Wandering Elf, (An option she suggests would be reasonable for Celtic or Norse, although not documented, but still easy to make, and light and cool to wear for summer or hot-weather SCA/ Faire events) and the super-pleated, full apron dresses inspired by the documented find from Köstrupkjolen. (Links are in Norwegian.) I thought this might be another “reasonable attempt” and fit a “view from a distance” standard. (And something I would wear for the mundane world, but definitely not documentable.)

The finished "Pillowcase dress"

The finished “Pillowcase dress” without adornment

Now, my version deviates in a number of ways… none of the inspirations involve gathering – they all involve pleating. Their pleats are held in place with banding or stitching, and then straps (or pins/broaches) are attached for the shoulder straps. My version uses a drawstring which I don’t think is at all period whatsoever. Still – from a distance, and once all of the other costume elements are added… I think it LOOKS good. Ren Faire or dress-up party good that is 🙂
Once I got the pattern dimensions correct though (figuring out how long to make the shoulder straps in relation to the arm holes, for instance, and how wide I wanted the band at the top – this could easily be re-done  with pleating and pinned straps instead of a drawstring, with nearly the same (from a distance) effect. (Although up-close it would look significantly different pleated vs. gathered.)

Since it’s a very, very low-waste pattern as well, I think it fits that goal, and although I made my first version in cotton, it would also go together well in linen (especially if pleated… hmmm pleated linen… ) (I also know my keys and broaches aren’t right.. but it’s a start!)

Brown linen under tunic, blue cotton apron dress with festoons, 'turtle' broaches, & 'tablet woven' belt

Brown linen under tunic, blue cotton apron dress with festoons, ‘turtle’ broaches, & ‘tablet woven’ belt

In the photo above I’ve re-used a buckled belt as a tied belt just to get the photo… for costuming I’d replace it with a similar tied belt.  The braid used for the belt is commercial bought, but I thought it was a reasonable approximation of tablet weaving, since I haven’t learned that, nor had the chance to buy any “real” tablet weaving… yet.  The festoon is from a previously written post.

What do you think?

If you’re involved with Viking recreation – what do you think of my attempt? Do you think it meets the “reasonable attempt” criteria?

I posted one of the photos on the Viking Clothing (SCA-style) group on Facebook (which I found thanks to the Wandering Elf’s blog) and most of the comments were about the accessories instead of the apron-dress. Some of the areas for improvement (other than what I already identified) included:

  • Not using the belt with a buckle – yep, that was more just to have a belt, more so than to use that one – I have plans to make another tied belt out of a similar braid.
  • The longer key chain could be shorter to be less in the way when worn – a reasonable suggestion; I’ll wear it and see if it’s ever in the way and adjust from there.
  • The white belt is for chivalry – the belt is actually a cream and brown braid – but if it looks white in a photo, then it might look white in person from a distance too – on the agenda- make sure the braid I use for the next belt is dyed! 🙂
  • The short-sleeved underdress should be fine – and for cooler weather I can wear a long-sleeved dress under it – which I have!
  • The gathering is what appeared the least authentic part of the outfit to one poster, who had recommendations for a form-fitting tube dress, a “double C” wrap dress, a wrap front dress, a split open front, and the pleated version that I was considering in my ‘inspiration’. The same poster went on to elaborate that there was only one example of a pleated apron dress, with pleating only between the broaches, and done perpendicular to the body (like cartridge pleats) rather than knife pleats.
  • Read all the comments here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/624164817603195/permalink/813216098698065/

So.. I’ve got lots of options for changes – but also a few thumbs-up so far for the “reasonable attempt” for an upcoming event I am hoping to attend!