19 September 2015

The Great Big Viking Project

The new Viking wardrobe project is nearly complete.  I've hinted at it a bit over the past couple of months (click the "Viking" tag at the bottom of this post to see), but I'm finally ready to show you [most of] my new stuff.

The full story is this: in 2012 I made a single Viking outfit to wear to the Battle of Ethandune Viking-themed event in the barony of Bjornsborg.  The event itself was EPIC.  The outfit was...pretty half-assed.  I didn't do any research on it, and I barely put any effort into the outfit itself - I didn't care for Viking at the time, and I hadn't planned to wear it more than the once.  Oh, how wrong I was about all of that.  Over the last few years I've done a ton of Viking clothing for other people, and along the way I've had to stop and do a bit of research for each project, and the more I learned, the more I became fascinated by the culture and dress of the Vikings of the 10th-11th centuries.

So this year I set about immersing myself in all things Viking.  I've been doing a TON of reading and web-surfing, I've made progress re-fashioning the original set of clothes for myself, and also am creating an entirely new Viking wardrobe so that this October, when Bjornsborg is holding another Viking-themed event, I'll not only be able to keep in-theme the entire event, but I'll also look fully and correctly dressed.

The first half of the project was to make-over the original outfit (here's a pic of it on me, and the full outfit on a table).  I showed you what I did to the under dress in this post in July.  The blue apron dress that went with it has been altered to fit me better, and re-dyed to refresh the color, but I haven't done anything else to it as yet.  I also took the coat completely apart and am currently in the process of creating a new lining and some trim pieces for it.  I'll show you pics of that apron dress and the coat when they're both finished.

The second part of the project was to create a few new complete outfits for myself.  I decided to use the project to hone my meager embroidery skills. I'm no expert, but I've learned a lot, gotten a lot of practice, and I'm really happy with my results on the following pieces:  

Seam and edge embroidery on the linen Skjoldehamn hood (August 5th)

Blue linen under dress (after the dress found at Eura, Finland), with seam embroidery.

A plain, black, linen under dress with
layered chain stitching along the cuffs
and neckline (May 2015)

Linen apron dress with hand-sewn loops and loop straps, and embroidery on
the seams and top/bottom edges.

Black linen apron dress with seam embroidery, top/bottom edge embroidered
botanical design with rayon ribbon appliqué'd across the top and bottom edges
(the embroidery on the straps is as yet unfinished)

Blue, open-front apron dress with seam, edge, and strap
embroidery, with contrast fabric at front opening
and lower hem

Whew! This has all taken me months to get done in my spare time, and the Great Big Viking Project isn't nearly complete.  Right now I'm gearing up for LPT (and trying to ignore the nightmares about it I keep having where I suck so badly at what I do that I get fired from the SCA!), but as soon as I get home I'll have more pics of more new Viking stuff for you - a couple of things I'm showing at LPT and don't want to post here yet, and some things that are in-progress but on hold until after I get back from the event (like that original coat, some jewelry, and a few small accessory items).

Meanwhile, some random thoughts about this project:
  • I. Love. That. Eura dress!   While I'm comfy in my plain black under dress and my blue-and-green tunic, the Eura dress is SO COMFY, and VERY flattering on me, even with nothing worn on top.  I really want to make some more in that style. 
  • I think I've finally reached the point where I actually enjoy embroidering! I had a lot of fun working on these pieces, and I have some decorative coming up that I can't wait to get into!  Because, as my roommate keeps reminding me, I am a Crazy Person. 

See you soon!

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