March – September 2018
This Viking ensemble is made up of an underdress, an apron dress, and a Jorvik hood. As it’s designed to coordinate with Aaron’s linen Viking outfit, I sewed mine in all linen too. For more about the underdress and Jorvik hood, there are additional write-ups on the Medieval Linens project page.
Apron dresses do not take much yardage and I had left-over yellow linen from my 1920s collection. It’s a pretty color and works with Aaron’s pumpkin tunic. I ordered some swatches for the underdress to see what would go best with the yellow, and after much deliberation ended up picking oatmeal.
A pattern is available at the Viking Apron Dress Pattern Generator. The only change I made to the fit was to remove 1/2″ of width from my back piece. I also cut the dress without separate triangular skirt gores. The simpler lines of a basic four-panel dress are cleaner looking. This saved a lot of work. All of these linen seams had to be flat felled, and neatly at that, since they show through the fabric. The visible stitching is all done by hand. The dress hangs on 3/8″ wide, double straps. The long straps were handsewn closed, after trimming the seams to 1/8″.
The most flattering way to fit these dresses seems to be with a very snug high bust. One way this is done is by adding darts to the neckline, or by taking a little more in at the seams above bust level. However, it’s a pull-over-the-head dress. This creates a problem for me. I need at least a little ease there, in order to shimmy it over my shoulders. My solution was to add a drawstring at the back panel. The drawstring runs through the facing and ties inside the dress. Once the dress is on, the drawstring is pulled tight, and it fits great. It’s not too jarring as the gathering is all in the back. Either way I had fun trying to solve my problem in a Vikingish period manner.
I’ve definitely warmed to the turtle brooch aesthetic. Though it took the entire time working on this project to get there. At the same time, I did want beads to hang from them. A few bags of lampwork mixed beads from Fire Mountain Gems, and I managed to piece together a modest blue-green strand. In the end I purchased a $5 pair of brooches on amazon. These brooches have a pin mounted horizontally, meaning there’s no way to hang beads or the dress. So I just pinned them to the straps. The bead strand was converted into a necklace. Then I sadly sewed the straps permanently into the neckline, omitting the loops at the front of the dress which would hold a turtle brooch. Above is a slightly better view of my bargain accessories.
The Jorvik hood is in handkerchief linen. For these photos I pinned it to my hair. I prefer the look of it worn untied. A Hedeby wooden bag handle from ChampagneFaire on Etsy really is the “perfect Viking accessory”. The bag was made up in a scrap of mustard colored linen/silk and decorated with a few Viking stitches in DMC embroidery floss.