Re-doing viking kit - trying to get it right this time

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valen
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Re-doing viking kit - trying to get it right this time

Postby valen » Mon Dec 03, 2007 6:43 pm

So, after reading Thor Ewings book on viking clothing it's given me enough impetus to throw out most of my (now six year old, and decaying) kit & start again.

Starting with the shirt... it seems viking shirts were usually white or cream, so as to show dirt well. Would a really pale blue, almost 'baby blue' be OK, too ? I want to make it lined, as it'll be the main shirt. The viborg one had a very distinctive pattern front and back, holding the lining in place. I don't want to copy it, for fear of turning up to a gig with the same shirt as someone else. Any other recommendations on how to attach the lining ? I was considering sewing it up with red silk, to give a nice contrasting stitch...is that out, for shirts ? I got the impression they didn't have 'plain undergarments', as such. Going to try an overcast of a double-fold hem, with hem stitch to join the pieces. Plenty of opportunity to show off nice red silk thread.

There was some mention of something that *might* have been a Kaftan in Dunmore cave, Co. Kilkenny. Seems to be buttoned like a Kaftan, but maybe not split down the middle. Does anyone have any guesses of what this could be ?

I'm more likely to go the route of cloak + warm waistcoat, anyway. I've a few cloaks I use for doing native Irish, so I'll use one of those - it's just 30cm wide strips of wool, sewn into a rectangle of 3.5 meters by 2 meters, so should be fine. Would arctic hare be a ridiculous lining for the waist coat ? It's warm, and shockin' white. No idea what to do on the outside of it though...maybe a fine wool.

Most likely I will go with white (tightly fitted?) linen breeches to the knee, and then short hose below. I'm not sure I've ever seen a Viking wearing this, so would love a second opinion before I spent 50 hours sewing it up by hand!

John



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Postby Random Mumblings » Wed Dec 05, 2007 8:59 am

Can you give a bit more info about who you are trying to portray? Which dateline and ethnicity? 9th, 10th, 11th Century? Western/Rus Viking? Living in the UK/Norway/etc etc? What status?



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Postby valen » Wed Dec 05, 2007 10:23 am

I'm going for mid-status (don't want to have to shell out loads on Jewellery and expensive ring-swords), viking living in Ireland, 8thC maybe. I don't attend any shows that are a specific time period, so I'm not that pushed to portray any time/ethnicity in particular, as long as it's not Rus, who were unlikely to be present in Ireland.

So, Dubh Gall or Finn Gall (Dark foreigner AKA Danish, or Finn Gall AKA Norwegian), is all good. I've plenty of 11thC kit, so I'm looking to concentrate on earlier periods.

John



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Postby Medicus Matt » Wed Dec 05, 2007 10:42 am

valen wrote:I'm going for mid-status


That's the red silk stitching out then. :wink:

And probably the arctic hare lined waistcoat too. And isn't Ewing's interpretation of the "thorax" as a waistcoat somewhat contentious? Even if you do accept that it's an acceptable interpretation, I thought that he only relates it to a couple of high status examples?


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Postby valen » Wed Dec 05, 2007 10:52 am

So, I got the impression that use of silk thread wasn't in the same league as silk cloth. Apart from the massive cost difference, was there a social pressure, keeping well-to-do non-nobles from silk ?

Hmm. Maybe I can push the budget out a little, and go up the ladder; in the later medieval period, there was a big difference between someone who could afford ermine and rabbit..where would balance that be in the Viking period, where fur seemed a little more common ?

By 'mid-status', I'd meant a wealthy non-noble farmer or merchant, rather than just a freeman.

John



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valen
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Postby valen » Wed Dec 05, 2007 3:46 pm

Matt, on the 'thorax'...there are a few definite examples of them on high-status people, kings, popes etc. But there were also a number found in hedeby, fastened with ring pins at the hip; many similar pins were found in the similar (slightly lower) position in birka, which would lead me to believe that it (or a kimono-like wrapped shirt) was very common.

Any info on restriction of silk to nobles would be interesting. It certainly happened among the Irish in the early medieval period.

John



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Thor Ewing
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Postby Thor Ewing » Tue Feb 05, 2008 10:37 pm

I'm pleased to see you found my book convincing. I've now posted the only serious review I know of online at http://tinyurl.com/2gryq3.

Baby blue should be a good Viking colour. Not too expensive to dye, but still a cut above the self-coloured homespun. Unless of course, if it's dyed linen, which would put you into the realms of conspicuous consumption. I don't think that the use of silk thread is out of the question for the well-to-do commoner.

A lot is made of the preciousness of silks in Viking times, and I think people have in the back of their minds the fact that the Oseberg queen had cut her silk cloth into thin strips (or maybe her slave had done it for her) and appliqueed them to her dress. But this was samite, which we might expect to have been especially expensive.

The Irish Norse would probably have had their own distinctive forms of dress which would have marked them out both from the native Irish and from the Vikings in Scandinavia. One feature of Irish dress which I suspect they might well have adopted is the brat-style cloak, pinned on the chest. They also seem to have moved towards Irish dyeing traditions. As far as I remember, Norse Dublin yielded a remarkable number of gold and silver tablet-woven bands, some of which were rather wider than normal for Scandinavia.

As I try to hint in the book, I think that a common alternative to the Viborg-style stitching is to have a single seam running between the oxters across the chest. In at least two illustrations and one grave find, there was a tablet-woven band in this position, which might have covered such a seam.

I do hope your new costume pleases you, and I'd be very interested to know if you run into any problems, as I haven't put everything into practice yet myself!

Best wishes,
Thor



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valen
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Postby valen » Wed Apr 02, 2008 12:13 pm

OK, first piece is done - a lined viborg-style shirt. As you can see, the lining is held in with geometric stitching pattern over the front and back. The bottom pieces are separate, and the back one slightly wraps around the front (by maybe 2 inches either side) to give a wonderful cowl effect.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/10706647@N ... 245191852/

Next thing is to work on an outer garment - I have an Irish brat (elsewhere in the same photo set) which may do. Though the trews I'm wearing are quite low status - homespun linen with a small amount of pattern in a light madder colour. I've legwraps on in the photos, done in birch-coloured wool.

If I'm going to bother 'upgrading' my trews to something more appropriate, it would be to britches & hose. Has anyone done this before ? Do they have an idea how it would look ? Should I base it on normal styles that I saw around hastings - loose long linen braies, overlapped by hose & garter ? Or would leg wraps be OK for someone of mid-status that could afford a dyed tunic for every-day wear ?

John




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