Dec 2008

Medieval Project – Viking Woman I

   Posted by Atra Materia in Historic

(Click to embiggen!)

Entry for the Dixie Stables winter 2008 costume contest. Both fabrics are cotton flannel. Not period, but, eh. When has that ever stopped me?

I’ve been wanting to do this costume for years, even since I first laid eyes on that little dun pony. The style approximated is early medieval and would have been worn by women in Scandanavia.

The undergown is floor-length and uses the same basic cut as the winter smock from 2005. The sleeves have been narrowed, with range of motion provided by underarm gussets, and gores have been added to the front and back as well as the sides.

The overgown is what’s generally known as an ‘apron dress’. After perusing the available layouts, I opted to cut two panels, each slightly larger than half the circumferance of my bust + the allowance for the undergown, and added gores at either side. The top of the dress sits just above my bust, while the hem falls to mid-calf or so. The straps are simply tubes turned inside-out and stitched to the back – once the dress is on, I pull them over my shoulders and pin them to the front. Like Blue Cotehardie I, the ‘neckline’ has been spruced up with metallic-threaded trim. There’s at least some evidence for the use of trims on Viking clothes, so it’s less of a conjecture than with the cotes.

The accessories are of the ‘quick-and-dirty’ style – my brooches are two halves of a compact that have been painted gold and had pinbacks taped to the underside, and the connecting chain is a bracelet with large jump rings to add needed length. The coif, a folded rectangle with the topmost point rounded off, is cut from the same fabric as the undergown. That’s my real hair, for once.

My favourite horse in the world, Jens, is a Norwegian Fjord. The breed is documented at least to the Early Middle Ages (and probably existed even before – they’re very similar to the primitive ‘steppe’ type of horse best known today from the Przewalskis of Mongolia) and has been found in excavations of Viking burial sites – so it’s possible he’s the most period thing in the pictures! The silly little horns are most definitely not period (and I was told by one of the ‘barn dads’ that Jens should have bitten me for them XD) – I just tacked them on for fun. They’re tinfoil over paper cones and are taped to the browband.

This outfit is super comfy and warm – granted, it wasn’t freezing out during party hours, but I ended up leaving it on even after the costume class and going for a ride! I did pop my jeans on under it to comply with barn standards, but I could have managed fine without them as long as the skirts were tucked under me. I’ve taken to using the underdress as another winter nightgown.

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