My new viking dress

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Me at Burg Ludwigstein in Witzenhausen, Germany, during the Drachenwald 20 Year Celebration in my new viking dress.

In March I decided I should finish the viking outfit I had started a rather long time ago by cutting out the under dress. Since the Kingdom of Drachenwald was having its 20 Year Celebration in June I figured that it would be nice to have something new for that occasion.
So from the beginning of March until the beginning of April I made an underdress from a herring bone twill natural linen, a dress out of a soft orange wool and an apron dress out of a naturally dyed and hand woven fabric that I got at Pennsic a few years ago. The weaver of the fabric has her own online store and you can find it here.
It turned out that I had bought a little bit to little of the hand woven fabric so a friend of mine who dyes and weaves offered to sell me a piece of a green fabric so that I would be able to keep the apron dress as naturally dyed and hand woven as possible. 🙂
The seams of the apron dress were then embroidered with Ösenstitch which is what in modern time is known as Vandyke stitch.
I used a naturally dyed filament silk that a friend of mine had dyed to pick up the orange from the dress. To cover the seam where I joined the purple and green fabrics after the apron dress turned out a bit short I learnt how to make viking whip cord and for that I used the same wool yarn as I used for the tablet woven band at the top of my apron dress and at the bottom of the sleeves on the orange dress.
At the top of the apron dress I wove a round band directly onto the fabric with a rigid heddle with the same wools as for the tablet weaving and whip cord. This saved some of the length of the dress as well since I didn’t have to hem the upper part of the apron dress.
The shoulder straps for the apron dress were sewn out of the same fabric as the majority of the apron dress. All linen was hand sewn with linen thread and all wool was hand sewn with silk thread.

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The underdress fabric and one of the seams.
The pattern I use for the linen underdress and this dress is very simple. Back and front are cut straight at the top and from the waist it starts flaring out to the hemline. I cut the front and back open in the middle and insert a gore. The sleeves are straight pieces that gets narrower towards the wrist. And I use square gores in the armpits.
The pattern I use for the linen underdress and this dress is very simple. Back and front are cut straight at the top and from the waist it starts flaring out to the hemline. I cut the front and back open in the middle and insert a gore. The sleeves are straight pieces that gets narrower towards the wrist. And I use square gores in the armpits.

 

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The cut of the apron dress. I use a 4 piece pattern that is from a Swedish website called Historiska Världar. Once cut out I still fit it so that it gives a nice silhouette.
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Before weaving the rounded braid onto the top of the apron dress I did a small practice piece just to figure out how the fabric and weaving behaves.
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The ösenstitch on the seams of the apron dress were made with naturally dyed filament silk.
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The top of the apron dress with the round woven edge and the very simple tablet woven band attached right to the rounded band.Image

After the basic dress was all done I wanted to make a front panel with lots of embellishments to make it suitable for such a big occasion as the 20 year celebration of my Kingdom.
Last summer we had bought a bunch of filament silk that we were going to dye. Now it turned out to be rather complicated to get all girls interested in the silk project in one spot so it ended up with our lovely dyeing godess doing all the work for us…
I created a pattern using some bits of the embroideries from the Mammen finds, and then I found inspiration for a vikingish Pelican and laurel wreath online and altered it to suit me.
I used split stitch for this embroidery. Now – I know that most of the Mammen finds are done with stem stitch but for some odd reason my hands refuse to make a neat stem stitch. Split stitch is also one of the oldest stitches and since my hands seem to be able to make that one – I chose to just roll with what I can make look nice. 🙂
The embroidery took about 3 weeks from start to finish. I had quite a lot of days off from work during that time but unfortunately I never bothered to write up all the hours.
Once the embroidery was done I moved on to learn how to make the posament decorations.
These decorations are almost exclusive to Birka and even there they are rather rare.
I had found a few websites mentioning them but there were no tutorials to be found.
I will mention the posaments only briefly here since the handout for the class I taught on the subject at Drachenwald 20 year Celebration is posted under the section for Documentation on this blog.
What I did was to look at pictures of the finds from Birka which can be found in this section of the Historical Museum in Stockholms website as well as the pictures on silberknoten.de
I
 stared at the pictures and tried and failed and tried and failed until I got it!
There was a lot of cursing in different languages – but finally I managed to figure it all out!
I ended up making 4 roundels that went on the embroidered piece, an edge decoration at the bottom of the front panel, a double threaded piece for the tablet woven band I put on my veil to use as decoration and a tie and two pieces that I put under some more of my tablet weaving at the top of the front panel. You can pretty much see my learning curve on the posament since I put everything I made on the outfit not wasting anything no matter how uneven it was.
Once the embroidery was sewn on to he panel I made some more whip cord to put as outline of the embroidered piece and I also used whip cord for the two small loops that are needed at the top to hang the front panel from the brooches.

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The last piece of posament that I made and that went on the tablet woven band of my veil/head wear.
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The front panel with embroidery, posament and tablet weaving but I hadn’t made the whip cord yet when I took this picture so that was still added to cover the seams where I attached the embroidered red wool. The front panel is made out of a dark purple wool. The green band is the tablet weaving I made for my veil and after this picture was taken it was put at the front edge of my head wear and the ends of the bands are used to tie the veil to my head.

So the final thing I did was to weave myself a belt. I had already started a rams horn patterned belt at one point but then I messed it all up and gave up. However my weaving godess friend was just about to publish a book on tablet weaving from the Finnish iron age that she co authored with a friend and she needed to practice her teaching in English and was kind enough to give me a pattern from the book before it was even printed so that she got to practice her teaching and I got an awesome pattern for my new belt!
The book is in Finnish and English and can be bought here.
And now I suddenly know how to even read the tablets while I weave!
The reason I chose a pattern from a different culture was that the new tortoise brooches my husband had given me to complete this new outfit are based on a find from Öland. The bead spreaders that the brooches come with are extremely influenced by Baltic tradition since the shape of the spreaders can be found in Baltic finds. So I figured that my outfit could be from Öland which is between Birka and the Baltic region and hence had influences from both places. 🙂

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My belt for the viking outfit. It was woven with 20 tablets and each repetition of the pattern took about 30 minutes to weave and was about 10 cm long. The final length is about 3 meters.
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A chain find

Sometimes when I have a bit of spare time and nothing special to do I make searches in the Bildindex and just go through pictures of all sorts. And the sometimes on strange searches you hit the jack pot and find a really interesting picture!
A while back I found this picture of a chain:

Kette der Armbrustschützen.

And it looks remarkably much like the chains in for instance a lot of Cranach paintings, like theese two by Lucas Cranach the Elder:

The chain is from the Rathaus (City hall) in Schmalkalden, a small city in the region called Thüringen. The closest bigger cities would be Erfurt and Kassel.
I have had many discussions with people on what theese chains were made of. Were they metal? Gilded leather?
A close up of the chain also found in the bildindex led me to believe it could be a metal chain.

Close up of the chain.

However, the information provided in the bildindex did not say anything about the materials and I have tried to contact the Rathaus in Schmalkalden with no result this far. But I will not give up since I find this chain very interesting!
And I hope this will help some fellow artisans interested in German 16:th century clothing and jewelry.

How to make a Stuchlein – a looooong post!

NOTE: This is a 4 page post due to editing problems in WordPress…

First of all: this is my version of how to make the German 16:th century hat called stuchlein.
There are no extant examples – the only thing we can do is guess how it was made and this is my take on how to recreate this headwear to make it look as in the woodcuts and paintings.

There are many varieties of this hat – different regions had different fashions and the decorations varried depending on how wealthy the womans family was and if the stuchlein was ment for every day use or for special occasions.
The stuchlein was the headwear of married women. And it also stated that the woman was no longer a virgin. If a woman lost her virginity – the norm was that sje has to cover her hair. This way the stuchlein and the schleier (veil) could become a stigma if the woman had lost her virginity ouside of marrige. ( The article ”Haubendämmerung” by Jutta Zander-Seidel, 2010).

The stuchlein was made of at least 3 parts – sometimes even 4.
First you wore a linnen cap. This way you protected the wulsthaube – the second part of this headwear – from getting dirty from your hairs oils and dirt. The wulsthaube was a cap with a stuffed roll attatched to it to get the volume at the vack of the head that is typical for the stuchlein. The stuffed roll was either sewn to a cap or laced to it – there are different takes on this and it is quite possible that both ways of construction existed.
After that you wore a cover that could either be just a schleier (veil) or a decorated or richely decorated cap. The veil often had a long tail that was either wrapped under the chin and then fastened at the side of the headwear with a pin, or the long tail could be wrapped around the wearers arm.
The decorated caps could be decorated with different trims making up a pattern of stripes and they could also be embellished with jewels. If the ouer cap was decorated with jewels and expensive embroideries – the women often wore a very thin veil on top of it so that the decorations could be seen through the light fabric but at the same time the valuable decoratoons were protected.

Here are some pictures that shows some stuchleins that have inspired me to this project.

Instant pater noster

For a while I have collected some beads to eventually make a pater noster to go with my renaissnace dresses.
This morning I finally got to making it since I really needed to DO something and not just sit around with my arm in a sling.
I have studied some pictures, read a bit about materials used, an today with the help from friends I read up some more on a pater noster website.

After that I simply got my materials and made a rosary that I think is pretty. Now I know I might hav the incorrect number of beads and other things – this time I just went with easthetics and what I think is pretty – but at the same time use the correct overall look for the item.
I used coral beads that were a leftover from site tokens for the event Aarnimetsä Academy that I was autocrating, silk thread of embroidery weight, carved bone beads in the shape of skulls and some metal beads and fresh water pearls for marker beads.
And 20 minutes later I had this:

 

Pater Noster made from coral beads, bone beads, fresh water pearls, metal beadds and silk thread.

Pouch all done!

I am finally done with my contribution to the Estrella giftbasket!
I used metal beads for all the tassles and for the closing cords I used carved bone beads that I think are pretty neat.
The cords are made with basic fingerloop braiding with DMC cotton.
Now it only needs to join the rest of the giftbasket to travel across the pond!

The little alms pouch I made for the Estrella giftbasket.

Progress on gift item

Today I attatched the ensignia embroidery on the wool the pouch will be made of.
First I cut off exessive fabric around the embroidery, then I attatched the embroidery to the fabric with regular hem stitches. I had to undo it once and reattatch it since it became obviously tilted.

After it was all fastened to the background fabric I took a piece of the DMC yarn and couched it down around the edges of the patch to cover any of the white linnen showing around the edges.

The embroidery all fastened on the pouch outer fabric.

Estrella giftbasket project

Since one of my eminent minions (Viscountess Whilja) is the King and Queens chamberlain she is in charge of getting the giftbasket for Estrella War together – and hence I feel it my obligation to suport her work. 😀
The King and Queen will hand the giftbasket over to Their Majesties of Calontir so I decided to make something with their ensignia on. And due to the far travelling that we Drachenwalders have to do to attend events across the big pond, we can’t make to big or to heavy items.

After finding out what other people in the Barony where I live are planing to do, I finally decided to make an alms/reliquary pouch.
On the pouch I will aplique an embroidered patch with the Calontir ensignia.
After three days of cursing and hating the embroidery – it is finally done! The reason for the cursing was basically the fact that I made the crosstitch embroidery on a regular linnen fabric which is woven of uneaven threads and which is quite tightly woven.
I used the charter made for the Atlantian embroiderers guild which has brilliant charters for all Kingdom badges! The yarn used is regular DMC yarn since I happened to have the right colours at home – however they are not the ones recomended on the charter.

The embroidery measures about 5,4 x 5,4 cm (about 2 incehs) and this is how it turned out:

The embroidery I made for the alms pouch that will be part of the Estrella giftbasket from Drachenwald.