(P.S. I was unable to attend the Fêtes Médiévales this year so I will not be able to do my yearly review of bad LARP garb. I hope you are not too disapointed and you understand and forgive me.)
A Viking apron dress is actually quite easy to make. Just like most of the clothing of that time period, it is constructed from very geometric pieces. Once you know how to assemble them, all you have left to do is hems and you are done. I used the instructions and pattern from Vigdís' Viking Apron Dress page.
Nancy-Raven's Viking Apron dress and Tunic
Nancy-Raven's Viking Apron dress and Tunic - Close-up
For the tunic, I used the same T-Tunic pattern that I always use. (One day I have to make a tutorial for it.)
Usually, I like to make the gores on my t-tunic about waist height, but the truth is, in period only men wore their tunics tailored this way. Women, who were often pregnant, as is their biological role in the survival of the race, wore tunics with gores that came up to the bust level, leaving ample room for growing bellies. Regular tunics and maternity ones were one and the same; only the position of the belt changed. Following this principle, I made Nancy-Raven’s tunic with bust level front and back gores. As the fabric seemed a bit fragile at the top of the gore, I added a rectangular patch to solidify the junction, not unlike the ones found on extant clothing of the time.Nancy-Raven's T-Tunic
Since I was going to use trim to decorate the neckline, I finished it with bias tape instead of a facing the way I usually do.
The fabric I used for the tunic is light linen in deep blue sky colour. I washed and dried it before cutting it to shrink it, which also made it incredibly soft.Nancy-Raven's T-Tunic - Close-up
The trims were both hand woven by yours truly using my lovely tablet weaving loom bought in Pennsic back in 2007 (Lady Jeanne, please remind me once more from whom?), some tablet weaving cards I made from an old pack of playing cards and size 10, mercerised cotton crochet thread. The patterns I used are by Eqos on DeviantArt.
I used Andred which is a 25 cards pattern for the apron dress’ trim and Melynai which is a 14 cards pattern for the tunic's trim. I choose colours that would come alive on the fabric from the assortment of thread spools I already had.My Card or Tablet Weaving loom set up for the dress' trim
I made the apron dress’ trim first. Because the pattern was quite complicated to set up on the loom, it took me a whole evening to do so. The next day, when I began to weave, I realized I had made mistakes in the set-up, so I had to take everything apart and begin anew. After the second set-up, I was good to go and it took me about three evenings to complete the trim.Viking Apron dress' trim on dress' fabric
The second trim was easier and also took but a few evenings to complete. All in all, I would say it took me maybe 10 days to make both trims.
A Viking apron dress as two shoulder straps that are attached to the front with what are called Turtle brooches. I already owned a pair from Fettered Cock Pewters and they are really lovely and relatively inexpensive, so I ordered a set for Nancy-Raven as well.
I am no Viking garb expert, but from what I have seen, a necklace of beads hangs between the brooches. Using mismatched pottery and glass beads (from the craft section of my local Dollar store), and modern jewelry tools (nylon thread, metal rings), I made this piece of jewellery to complete the ensemble. Of course, the first on broke as I was trying to take pictures (crimping beads are apparently not that solid), and I am still finding beads all over my sewing room’s floor, but the second I made better, with two strands of beads (instead of one), knots and crazy glue.
Nancy-Raven posted a picture on her blog (Nancy-Raven's attic) of herself wearing her present at Les Médiévales internationales de Lachute (as well as pictures from the event, and I am sorry to have missed it - see them at The international medieval festival).
Doesn’t she look lovely? I always think so anyways.
Now you know what comes next don’t you? I want one too! Yep, the next Viking apron dress is for mig.