Amanda Marksdottir
As I was walking from my hotel room to an SCA event in the beginning of a snow shower this past January, I realized that, while my wool apron dress and wool shawl kept me dry and the worst of the chill out, I wasn't particularly comfortable. Perhaps, I thought, it was finally time to make myself a caftan. I believe I've enough blue-black coat-weight wool in my stash to make a serviceable coat, too.

Trying to find the evidence for how I should go about this, though--yikes.

All of Hägg's Haithabu caftan material seems to have come from male garments: Fragments 11, 19, 45A and 45B, 56A, and 77 (plus a couple others from Textilfunde aus dem Hafen that I didn't sketch), and S28. The first design that emerges is the bathrobe-like Klappenrock, with two diagonal torso pieces that overlap at the waist with a bias-cut hem and are belted. The second design--S28 seems to be the best evidence that this appeared at Haithabu in addition to at Birka--buttoned down the front to the waist and looks like it had set-in sleeves.

Hägg's "Viking Women's Dress at Birka" has a bit of information. The women's caftans weren't buttoned, but were closed with brooches that kept the front edges from overlapping, using loops. They were fitted with "wedges and joints". If the tablet-woven bands found around the wrists of one of the graves (Ewing says this was Bj 967) came from this layer, they were long-sleeved. They were made from wool that was either plain, decorated with silk ribbons, or tablet-woven bands.

Thor Ewing, in his Viking Clothing isn't very encouraging, suggesting that "evidence for the women's caftan has, in my view, been significantly overstated", but does suggest some very plausible alternatives for the fragments that Hägg discusses. According to Ewing, the brooch loops from the caftan could just as easily have been part of a shawl, and the tablet-woven bands at the wrist could have been part of the underdress.

Was looking through the photocopies I have from Geijer's Birka III volume, but don't have much between pages 138 and 156, the section on dress to see what Geijer may have said about women's caftans.

I do have a reference from Inger-Marie Holm-Olsen's 1976 article in Viking 39, where she has an interesting "fourth loop" of cord that possibly came from a cloak (as opposed to cloth, which was probably from an apron dress). She mentions that Geijer pointed out that the cloaks were often edged with cord, like four of the western Norwegian textile fragments.

...maybe I should make a cloak instead.

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Amanda Marksdottir
13 April 2014 @ 16:28
If you've been looking for more evidence for hats to wear as a Viking persona, you may want to consider the Alanic hat discovered at Moschevaya Balka. There's a photo in Ierusalimskaja's 1996 Die Gräber der Moshchevaja Balka: Frühmittelalterliche Funde an der Nordkaukasischen Seidenstrasse, which is available in digital format here, along with its German caption.

Scholars have been using the Moschevaya Balka caftans to reconstruct the Birka coats, so there's precedent for this methodology.

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Amanda Marksdottir
09 February 2014 @ 21:12
Back when I was first making my copper-alloy needlecase, I wanted to make an appropriate chain from which to hang it. I'd seen a chain very much like this one, but longer, while at a museum in Lund with [personal profile] m_nivalis--I chose this style because of the happy memory. Also, it's nigh indestructible, and I need that quality in my chains.

It's not the most common type of chain found in Sweden, but since chains of this type have been found as far north as Lappland and as far south as Skåne, they're appropriate to both Danish and Swedish impressions. If you find a Norwegian example, let me know!

Viking Chain Tutorial: Two Completed Links

Instructions after the cutCollapse )

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Amanda Marksdottir
While I was working on my Køstrup dress, I was working with Rimstad's tables from Vikinger i uld og guld about the frequency with which different types of weaves are found in Danish Viking contexts. She quotes 2/2 twills as being 12% of the total finds, herringbone at 2% and diamond twill at 1%. Considering only 10th century samples, it makes up only 5% of the surviving identifiable fabrics. Considering only the Haithabu material mentioned in Hägg's Textilfunde... volumes, it makes up 8% of the settlement finds and 10% at the harbour.

Am currently poking through Hordaland Norwegian material quoted in Hana Lukešová's Fragmenter av kvinnedrakter fra vikingtiden – Metode for identifikasjon av gamle tekstilfunn. Her article doesn't have a lot of data--there isn't a lot of Norwegian textile material--so statistically significant conclusions are difficult, but 2/2 twill does seem to have been reasonably common, with 3 of the 10 fabric samples being 2/2 twill. On the other hand, four of them are diamond twill.

Maybe the popularity of diamond twill + oval brooches in Norwegian graves is a trend?

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Amanda Marksdottir
28 January 2014 @ 21:23

Two Needlebooks
Originally uploaded by Ragnvaeig.
In trying to de-stash from the huge quantity of embroidery thread I've inherited, I'll be doing more embroidery projects in 2014 than in previous years.

As part of that, I've just finished two needlebooks to give away. The first is embellished with an embroidered slip showing the badge of the Atlantian Queen's Order of Courtesy; this one I'll be donating to the Royal Largesse as a token. The second is plain green, and if I can find the person in charge of such things, I'll be dropping that one off on Saturday in the prize basket for the Persona Pentathlon at the Kingdom Arts & Sciences Festival.

I made both, approximately, from this tutorial from the Atlantian Embroiderers' Guild.

In making these, I've learned where to tuck the ends of the edging, and that you can totally use cross-stitch on Aida cloth for embroidered slips.


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Sinfonata: State of the Union Address
 
 
 
Amanda Marksdottir
12 January 2014 @ 14:13
Masquerade-themed events can feel problematic for the authenticity-minded early period SCAdian. These events feel like they're geared toward late-period personas, and very few (if any) masks you could purchase feel like they would be appropriate for early period wear. Don't fear: you, too, can make a reasonably authentic mask that fits your early period persona, and you can still go to the Hökunótt ball!

Viking Mask: Embellished

The embroidery is Not Very Viking. More on that later. Just wanted to share that caveat up front.

Instructions with PhotosCollapse )

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Amanda Marksdottir
Thanks for the recommendations on 15th century sewing--it helped fill in the gaps in my knowledge, so that I have a better understanding of the evolution of the doublet and how to adapt it to what Ambrosius wants. I've been poking around said resources, and looking at more illustrations from De Casibus, and have come up with enough of a plan to put scissors to fabric.

The white, long-sleeved under layer seems like it should be an early doublet, and in my brain that maps to a pourpoint, which I think I can do because it's cotehardie-ish. I'm trying to get the fit for Ambrosius' to be more like the Chartres pourpoint than the Charles de Blois pourpoint, so he can have his looser sleeves and smaller armscye, and I think the cut will favor his body type more than one with the de Blois silhouette. I don't intend to pad between the exterior and the lining, so it should serve adequately as a base layer.

The gown layer has puzzled me, but I've hashed out a plan for a fitted gown which could go with a maille shirt if he chooses to follow the illustration. Am currently planning for cloth buttons; a horizontal waist seam attaching a fuller skirt (the pourpoint I've drafted doesn't have the waist seam); and dagged, short, open sleeves.

Feeling much more confident about this than I had been! :)

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Amanda Marksdottir
17 November 2013 @ 15:52
I really ought to have been blogging about the socks I was spinning yarn for and naalbinding for myself out of some lovely grey Gotland roving, because now I need to interrupt that project! A friend is hatching as a Pelican in January, so he needs new clothes, and I'm part of the far-flung team assembling to make that happen.

I know very little about 15th-century men's clothing, so I'm fairly uncomfortable being voted the subject-matter expert (my qualifications seem to be that I did two 14th century dresses, from what I can tell :( ), but I'm going to do what I can. I'm repeating to myself, "I know how to drape, I know how to do research, I got this," in the hope that it'll stick. So stressful.

His basic idea for the day was "English archer at Agincourt", so from the images I ran past him, he has picked the archer's outfit from the detail of The Execution of Odoacer from De casibus (BNF Fr. 226, fol. 234), dated to the first quarter of the 15th century. I'm responsible for sewing the upper half of the outfit, meaning a long-sleeved shirt or doublet underlayer and then the red short-sleeved houppelande.

The fabrics he chose are a soft white linen and a medium-weight madder red linen. Mmkay.

Yesterday, I draped a toile to give me an idea of his fit, which I hope to follow approximately. Spec from the wearer nixes the idea of a proper, tight under layer--he doesn't want buttoned or laced sleeves, of course--so I need to look up some inspiration on what I might try for a trimly-fitted men's underlayer instead. I'm going to try Susan Reed's doublet article, not least because she has a citation for a linen farsetti, too.

Any suggestions on research resources would be greatly appreciated.

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Amanda Marksdottir
A blessing in disguise, the linen thread with which I'd stitched the pleating in my Køstrup dress snapped while I was at Pennsic, undoing the pleats. I made do with a pinned dart while I was there, but needed to redo the pleating.

This time, I used proper smocking stitches:

Køstrup Apron Dress: Redone Smocking

I think that looks better, don't you?

I used eight rows of 2 mm stitches that are centered 6 mm apart. This gives me the 3 mm pleats I wanted, with (mostly) invisible (from the front) stitches. I've also

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Amanda Marksdottir
25 August 2013 @ 21:30
Today I finally gave up on driving to the fabric store just for one spool of thread and decided to re-sew the fabric buttons onto my London hood, since I had tied off the shanks of the buttons and the knots had ravelled in the wash, leaving the buttons sort of floaty and insecure. How to prevent that, I wondered?

Don't cut the thread, evidently. Stitch through the shank and then travel the thread up the garment.

Nope, wouldn't have thought of that.

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