Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Hedeby Apron Dress

I didn't get the dress completely finished for event, but it was done enough to be wearable, and my hopes are high that there'll be another Norse themed event next year to showcase all the features I didn't get done in time.

In the end, I made my dress almost exactly as I'd cut Órlaith's. I did look into cutting my main panels in a A-line shape as per the Hedeby fragment, but the difference between my bust and hip measurements was so slight, I didn't feel it would have added anything to the dress.

My vague look of annoyance in the third picture was when I was questioning Órlaith if she was really going to keep taking pictures of me while I was adjusting my costume. She gleefully replied in the affirmative, and kept snapping. sigh

But this is my almost finished dress. The seams of the dress need to be sewn down, and I'm currently spinning up some scoured Gotland fibres for that job, and I didn't have time to place the darts and trim onto the back. The top of the dress was hemmed with a herringbone stitch, made from the inside to add a little give to the hem, and when trimmed with the tablet weave from my barter with Catherine Weaver of Thamesreach, was invisible from the outside. The belt is also made by Catherine Weaver, but was gifted to me by Baroness Caitríona, back when I had no intention of going Viking *ahem*. The brooches and hair pin were purchased from Pera Peris.

As Crown Princess Isabel of Drachenwald was in attendance at the event and rumours were heard of court to be held, I wanted my garb to have a "day" look as well as an "formal" look. I figured while beads and jewellery, while all well and good, would get in the way during day time chores, so I omitted the beads for during the day and wore the belt which will eventually have a great number of items suspended from it; for the moment my site token looks all lonely hanging there.

The formal look shows off the shaping around the waist much better without the best in place. One of my biggest surprises with this dress was that as I had decided not to wear modern underwear with it, there was still a surprising amount of support from the fit of the apron dress. And speaking of underwear, I've seen conflicting accounts speculating whether Norse women would have worn anything under their dresses. An unseasonally warm October weekend doesn't give the best of testing conditions, but a boat trip on Sunday morning over Lough Ree confirmed that you'd have to be crazy to not have something on underneath when the harder weather comes on. So a pair of simple trousers will be added to be sewing list for this outfit.

Overall I'm very pleased with this outfit. I think it looks well on me and the fit keeps the dress close to my body without tangling my legs. I was only really chilled on my arms and shoulders, where I only had one layer of linen to keep me warm, thought getting to work on a kaftan to wear while outdoors should sort that out. Given that we don't have enough of the dress fragments to have a single "correct" look, I feel confident that my interpretation is a good one; when I get it completed that is. But with a sewing list of fun projects for this costume as long as my arm, I've no fear of it not being seen through. 

As it happened, it was a good thing I'd planned for a formal look to my dress too. While I was at the event, HRH Isabel invited me to become her Mistress of the Wardrobe for the coming reign. I was breathless! It's such an honour!. The whole Kingdom is going to be seeing my work, and I need to find ways to step up my game. 

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