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.

Double Wars XXV

I haven’t posted in a bit since I have been suffering from a bit of an SCA bleh which has made me completely inactive during the last months of winter.
However at the end of March I got busy making the schedule for the A&S activities for Double Wars XXV – one of Drachenwalds largest events.
This year we broke the record of the amount of classes and we had 56 classes!!! Considering the event had about 260 participants and out of those 60 were small children – I am amazed of the extent of our A&S schedule and even more amazed how many participants all the classes had!
I taught a class on intarsia embroidery myself and had 6 participants. You can find my handout here.

This year Mistress Isobel Bedingfield (also known as Attack Laurel) from The Kingdom of Atlantia was our guest of honour.
She taught 7 classes during the week – mostly on the topic of Elizabeathan costuming but also a class on women in rapier.
The event was absolutely fantastic in so many ways that my SCA bleh has turned into a complete SCA yay instead!
And best of all was that I found new great friends in Mistress Isobel and her husband Master Robert Bedingfield. 🙂

Me and Mistress Isobel Bedingfield at the castle Hovdala in southern Sweden.

For my dear friend Mistress Uta Boucht: Part 1

At an event a few weeks ago one of my dear friends was elevated to the Order of the Laurel.
Within a group of friends we now have a tradition of making some small piece of outer garment with embroidered patches made by each one of us.
Mistress Helena who is a 14:th century costuming laurel got the first hood of love. I was second and they made me a gollar of love to go with my German 16:th century clothing.
Mistress Uta is also a 14:th century costuming laurel so she too got a hood of love.
We try to make them all a little bit different so Mistress Utas has laurel wreaths and the waterlilly from her arms.
This is the patch that I embroidered for her hood:

The patch for Mistress Utas hood of love: Silk embroidery on white wool. We all put out initial within the laurel wreath. Everyone gets the same pattern and then chooses materials and techniques on their own.

And here is Mistress Uta – just minutes after her elevation ceremony – trying on her hood of love for the first time! She gets help from Mistress Helena.

Trying on the hood of love for the first time. My patch can be seen on the right side.

It is really nice to see how all three of us cherish the hoods and gollar of love as much as we do.
So many costuming laurels aren’t fond of wearing things not made by themselves.
I find the gollar of love to be the most fantatsic piece in my medieval warderobe. That was I always have my friends with me – and on top of that I have a fantastic display of artisan skill from Drachenwald right around my shoulders!

Pennsic 40 project

I haven’t had that much time to blog lately since my new physio therapist is having me rest my shoulder so that we can get more mobility in the arm eventually. But I thought that while I wait to be able to do two longer posts on some of the gifts I recieved at my elevation and the dress I wore at that occasion I could at least post two pictures of the progress of my Pennsic 40 project.

It all started with a bunch of us saying it would be cool to do something for Pennsic 40 and eventually we went with making heraldic dresses to be used at opening ceremonies and later. When living in Drachenwald we don’t really get an oportunity to be a Kingdom in the sense of we and them if you get my drift. We don’t have a war with another Kingdom, we don’t have Kingdom encampments… In Drachenwald the Principalities or Baronies march to war against eachother.
But at Pennsic we do get to be The Kingdom of Drachenwald and that is a rare thing that we want to make the most of!

So my project is a sideless surcote from the late 14:th century/begining of 15:th century. The debate on how and if the heraldic surcotes were really ever used has been lively and I am aware that this might not be all that historically accurate.
However – if the heraldic sideless surcotes were used they had a ceremonial purpose – and I would say that opening ceremonies at Pennsic is just that! 🙂
Mostly I am doing this dress to be able to show off that I am a Drachenwalder!
Half of the skirt will feature my own arms – the other half the Drachenwald populace badge. But I have altered them a bit.
Theese are my arms:

Theese are the Drachenwald arms:

And here is the panel featuring my arms:

The two parts of the panel will be joined together to form half of the skirt for a sideless surcote. The fabric used is wool and the aplique is fastened by couching a thick wool thread down with a thin one to form a black outline.

This is the panel featuring the Drachenwald arms:

The dragons were challanging to cut out and will most likely be dreadful to couch down – but I am happy with the over all look of the skirt panels!

Brick stitch

As usual I am working on several things at the same time – especially now since my shoulder surgery has limited the use of my left arm. One thing that has been easy to do is brick stitch embroidery so I started a small pouch.
The pattern is from the blog Medieval Arts & Crafts and I have used a 36 count even weave with thin woolen embroidery thread bought in Tallinn (usualy used for their traditional  embroideries).
I did start out with a completely different embroidery thread, all naturally dyed but thicker. That turned out to be to thinck for the 36 count even weave though so I switched to a different thread. Now I feel a bit uncertain if the new thread is to thin, but it looks a lot better than with the thicker thread…
I chose a warm scale of colours and had some help with the bold choice from a close friend. 🙂
The picture doesn’t really make the embroidery justice since it is quite enlarged in the picture. This is a tiny embroidery where each square measures about 2 cm in hight. Look at the needle to the left for some sence of scale!

My first more serious brickstitch project made on linnen with woolen thread.

Cute on the collar

Today I finally finished the embroidery for a shirt collar that I started about 4 years ago…
I am a bit ashamed to admit that this is one of the projects that I started and that for a long time looked like it would be forever forgotten and never finished…
However, when I got bronchitis this week I picked it up and actually managed to work my way through the whole piece!
Over the years I have done a bit here and a bit there – but never the kind of progress I made this week.

The embroidery is 41 cm long (16 inches) and 2 cm wide (a bit less then one inch).
I chose to make it rust red and black, the original was black and red.
The fabric is whatever linnen I found at home – and also the major reason why I almost abandoned the project…
I have not yet attatched it to the collar but I did pin it on so you will get a sneak peak!

The all done emrboiredy! Black and rust coloured silk on linnen, 41 cm long.

 

 

 

 

 

The embroidery roughly pinned on the collar of the shirt. The shirt is handsewn from thin hemp. The shirt ties are made with a lucet out of linnen thread.

Should have been done years ago…

Today I came home from an SCA event with loads of inspiration!
So I decided to start a brick stitch embroidery. However, I had completely ignored the fact that my small rotating frame still holds a corss stitch embroidery I started YEARS ago and that I never made any huge progress on.
So instead of being bad and taking that embroidery off the frame and sending it into oblivion – I started stitching away.
And I think I made more progress in just a few hours today than I have made in 4 years on this piece… 😉

One end is now all finished and in the other end I have some more of the rust coloured stitches left and after that it is only the centers of the squares to fill. Might even get done this week!
Once it is done I will sew it to the collar of one of my shirts.
The linnen is just any linnen I happened to have home and hence the threa counting has been slightly challanging.
The embroidery is done with silk giving it a really nice shine.
Looks like this year is starting out nicely with finishing of projects that have been left forgotten in some corner!

Black work embroidery from ”Needlework Patterns from Renaissance Germany”, the designs are recharted from Schön Neues Modelbuch 1597.