Back on the Bandwagon

Just a little update. It’s been a long time since I’ve done any sewing. I am not sure if I was burned out, or frustrated with my ever-changing size, or something else. But this weekend, dear friends of mine won Crown and another was put on Vigil for the Order of Chivalry. This means I get a make a whole ton of viking garb. This excites me huge! Onward and upward to stitching. I will try to keep track of the plans and progress here.


Coronation Wear – Arnsbjorn

As I said in a previous post, some friends of mine did an thing, that thing allowed me to step out of my 16th C costuming head and jump into 10th C for a bit.  The time between Arnsbjorn winning Crown to Coronation was very short.  Normally heirs have 8-12 weeks to prepare for their step up, because of changing calendar schedules, Arnsbjorn and Inga only had 4 weeks.  “Simple” you might say for a viking step up, its all rectangles and nothing is fitted.  You’d be wrong.  Inga wanted a simple apron dress, undergown, and a front panel.  Most of her “wow” would be in bling and beauties applied to the garments.  Arnsbjorn needed a whole new outfit; he spends most of his SCA time working on domestic things or wearing fight kit.


Most of the fabric’s for both outfits came from mine and Inga’s fabric stash.  The problem was that the red linen in my stash is not the colour of red they wanted.  1.5 weeks into the process, they ordered some more linen from Fabric-Store.  From the sample card Inga has, they thought they wanted the Redwood in IL019 (5.3oz 100% linen).  On a whim they also ordered Crimson in the same weight.

Shipping between Canada and the USA can be a challenge.  Customs and international borders delay deliveries and we couldn’t afford a delay.  Even shipping priority USPS (recommended by the retailer) the Linen didn’t arrive until 10 business days after being ordered.  This put us 1 week away from Coronation with the fabric still “on the bolt”.

When the linen’s arrived, the Redwood was much more orange then the same card or image online.  Thankfully the Crimson was much closer to their choice and we went with that.  The Redwood was a good tone for Sigurd’s coat (created by Inga and Brangwyn).

The Inspriation

Arnsbjorn wanted something different.  Below is the inspiration image.

From a Calendar (sorry no proper citation, not my calendar)

The mantle was sourced out to Ellsif and Una in Calgary. The pants (not visible) were made by Inga.  That left me with the coat and shirt.

2.5 yards IL019 (5.3 oz) bleached white linen
White cotton thread
The original image has a shirt with a tall collar that opens on the side with some red embroidered details.  Arnsbjorn didn’t want the tall collar, and we didn’t have time for embroidered details. 
The shirt is machine sewn with hand finished seams.  Small amounts of fiddling with the neck hole were required, but it came out fitting nicely.
Arnsbjorn at Coronation, photo courtesy Beothuk on Flickr
Crimson 5.3oz linen (IL019 from Fabrics-Store)
Yellow Linen
Black & Yellow tablet woven trim (By Driffa)
Black, Red & Yellow cotton thread
The pattern for the coat was based on the measurements for the shirt. I made a mock up in flannel and fit it to Arnsbjorn.  With the mock up trial, we found it would be a challenge to sit in so we decided to open up the back and make a riding coat. We wanted the hem guard and wrist guards in yellow linen and edged with the tablet trim.  We decided on far fewer bands and buttons on the chest, as well as opening in the front fully as a coat instead of the tunic in the original image.  
Instead of gores in the sides to make a skirt I decided to “show opulence” and make the skirt lines flow by cutting the skirt as part of the body.  The sleeves were made longer then the shirt and slightly larger to give the fullness shown in the original.
The bands along the buttons were 4.5″ x 2″ strips of yellow linen and 4″ of the tablet trim.
There was quite a bit of fiddling after the pattern was cut in Linen and assembled.  Necklines are the bane of my existence and Arnsbjorn is so thick through the chest, my automatic adjustments didn’t work on his sleeves and shoulders.  
Once we had a nicely fitting coat, I started adding guards.  They are 4″ and 3″ on the hem and wrists respectively. The yellow rolls over the underside of the red linen and then is stitched down with a stab stitch along the top of the guard.  A row of black and yellow tablet trim is running stitched along the top of the guard to break of up transition from red to yellow.
Tablet trim on yellow band
The bands were assembled by cutting and finishing the yellow linen bands, then applying the tablet trim to make 1 piece to apply to the coat.
Arnsbjron at Coronation
Photo by Beothuk on Flickr
Button loops were made of 1/8″ wide double folded linen strips and attached under the bands.
Although I was sewing trim in the truck on the way to the event and on site, the final product was stunning and I am proud to have been able to make this for him.


All good intentions seem to lead down the road to hell.  Or at least Valhalla.

Friends of mine went and did a thing, so I will be taking a short hiatus from my 16th Century costuming to work on their very period Norse stuff.  They have visions, I get to make them reality!

I hear all the time about how easy rectangular construction is… this is embellished truth.  I also hear about how viking’s are all the same …. an outright lie.  Or how “its all about the embroidery and jewelry”… whoever said that didn’t have 4 weeks to turn around full outfits!  I find rectangular construction just as challenging as fitted garments.  Mostly I psyche myself out thinking they are so easy and make stupid little mistakes.  We will get to those later.

As mentioned, 4 weeks to turn around the following:

Viking Womans undergown – White Linen
Viking Mans undertunic w/ side collar closure – White Linen
Viking Womans gown embllishments – Yellow Linen
Viking apron dress – Red Linen
Viking coat – Red Linen

Inga’s undergown pattern, including incorrect body measurement

I started with patterns, since neither had a good pattern that fit.  I took a few existing garments and pulled measurements.  **Note** When taking a pattern, make sure you’re measuring often and on flat surfaces.  Measure again before cutting.  I measured and then cut the body of the womans gown too small and it had to be remade…  Why do I find body blocks and fitted patterns so much easier!

Arnsbjorn’s shirt pattern.  Sans underarm gussets.

I wish I could say there was 3 dimensional measuring and math involved, but there really wasn’t.  Just a measuring tape and a flat surface, pencil and paper.  Once I had the measurements rough sketched, I plotted them on graph paper and started cutting.

All seams were assembled by machine, and finished in either a pressed flat open seam or run and fell seam, whipstitched down.  I am particularly proud of how my gores and gussets went in.

Inset gore at front of Inga’s gown.

Keep an eye on this space for a tutorial on how to inset gores without the help of a convenient seam.