My black and grey apron dress worn with a new apron panel and my green under dress. Photo ©Mysticus Photography
I made an open front apron dress a while ago (in 2015), and discussed some of my skepticism with the whole open-front apron dress + apron panel combination that I see a LOT of with SCA Viking-Age reenactors online and elsewhere.
Current Viking Age Palette
Still, despite my skepticism on the ‘evidence’ for this style so far, I can’t deny the pretty… I got some grey and black wool-blend fabric from my former teacher, and wanted to make something Viking-inspired from it. It also just happens to work perfectly into my Viking Capsule Collection plans.
It would have made a wonderful coat, but I just finished making a new wool-blend coat and didn’t really need another (my black and red one is now one of three wool Viking coats in my Norse Reenactment wardrobe…) With a coat off the table, I thought an apron dress would work, and specifically an open-front apron dress ( hangerock). I feel a lot more comfortable using wool blends for these speculative garments; saving my 100% wool fabrics for more documentable designs.
Open-front apron dress with embroidered front panel
This is one of those… grudgingly approached projects. If you remember from my Open Front Apron Dress post, I have some qualms about how period-correct the idea of wearing an open-front apron dress with a rectangular apron panel might be. The open-front apron seems totally impractical (although yes, it might have been something worn for special occasions) though at least the panel seems a bit more practical – as long as it’s belted that is so it doesn’t fall into the fire when you’re leaning over the fire!
Still, once I made up the dress, I needed to make the panel, so I figured I’d just go for it.
Open front apron dress
I’ve seen a lot of women online in open-front apron dresses with their Viking-age costumes. I understand that they’re getting the idea because some brooches were found with many different fabrics in them, and thus there’s speculation that more than just one apron (dress) may have hung from one set of brooches – but I don’t know… the whole idea seems very impractical to me – it’s basically like a coat that is open in the front and doesn’t cover your shoulders or sleeves. The open front also means it doesn’t protect the garments under it from smoke, dust, dirt, etc… Still, there’s argument to say that it may not have been an ‘every day’ garment, but rather something for special wear…