Sunday, 30 August 2015

Norse Shenanigans

When I first set out to make myself a set of Norse garb, I said to myself that this would be a throw away project; I was going to make something that had the look, but I was not going to put time and effort and research into it, because damnit, I didn't have any... and here's what I found so far...
I didn't have time for original research, drawing my own conclusions from finds, but there's a hell of a lot of information available as it is. Firstly, and unsurprisingly, there are many different flavours of Norse wear. Between Hibernian-Norse, Saxon-Norse and the many flavours of Scandinavian Norse, each has it's own subtle differences that lends each a unique look, once you know what you're looking for. I already knew that with the fabrics I had available for this project, I wanted an underdress with apron dress arrangement, so I wanted to look for something that matched what I had in mind, and see how much project adjustment would be needed to get it right. 

This site came in very handy for that. Unfortunately many of the links on that site are broken, but if you have an idea of what you're looking for in Scandinavian Norse garb, it's still a very handy reference tool to compare the list of your ideas with the commonly worn garb from each settlement. From this, and from other sites I happened across, I initially thought I was leaning towards a Birka style garment, specifically the more fitted apron dresses of the 10th century. 

That was until I read this article from Tournaments Illuminated 186 about garments from Hedby, which seemingly had a much more fitted apron dress or smokkr through the use of tailoring, than the smokkr worn at other settlements. Another article,Viking Women: Aprondress By Hilde Thunem also compared the Birka and Hedby style smokkr's, while going into great detail regarding grave finds, so I was able to conclude I was on the right track for what I wanted to achieve. In mundane clothing I very much prefer clothing to be fitted, or at least not loose about my midriff, so a fully tailored apron-dress sounds ideal.

So I was decided, an underdress of exact pattern yet to be determined, and a tailored Hedby style apron dress. Now, I have seen a couple of references to a third layer, that or a tunic, short or long sleeved, which went over the linen underdress, and under the apron dress. However, due to fabric constraints, I've decided to just make the two layers for the moment. The third layer I can add in later on if I come across a nice fabric. 

When it comes to constructing the underdress, it comes down to personal preference of which particular tunic you want. A friend of mine has made great progress in research into and development of the Moy Bog Dress, but I want something fairly simple. I came across a couple of articles which have various methods of underdress construction, some with styles and patterns broken down by region or era, such as: 
When it comes to the apron dresses themselves, even though I've decided on my format, I thought I'd share a couple of the links that I came across along the way.
When it comes to my own construction attempts, I'll mostly likely try a combination of my own pattern drafting, draping and the old fashioned winging it. Even though this is a new project, I'm going to start on it in the spirit of the Drachenwald 30-day challenge, where you take 30 days to learn or improve on a skill. I've never attempted Norse clothing before, and I've an event in October I hope to attend, so I'm going to use the challenge to see how much of the look I can complete within the month. Though yes, I've already been working on the najlbound socks...

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