Sometimes learning history can be a bit of a drag, but in my mother's classroom it is a fantastic journey of discovery. For her upcoming unit on the Age of Exploration, she has asked me to help her costume herself and two of her peers in Viking garb. I already made her clothing for a Viking lady, but she wants her kiddos to see the male version as well, so a little gender-bending is in order!
I decided to start with the under tunic, mostly because it's been a tight summer and I had the fabric on hand. Well, most of it. I had to do a tiny bit of piecing at the back, but it worked perfectly!
For the design, I decided to go with what Marc Carlson describes as Nockert, Type 1. This style is very well represented, and I saw either identical or very close versions on Þóra Sharptooth's site, as well as in Nille Glæsel's book and on the Hurstwic site. Some versions include the front gores, while others leave them out. I decided to include them, for ease of motion and wear. I've seen (and made) a lot of tunics with only side gores, and they have a tendency to pull a little too tightly over the tummy.
When I moved on to the construction, I decided to pull out all the stops. I referred back to Jennifer Baker's wonderful stitching type handout and decided to use a (possibly overkill) backstitch to join the pieces, with a flat fell finish. I also used my favorite hem-stitch, although some of my hems were so small that they actually became rolled hems. As an additional step towards authenticity, I decided to actually do all the stitching with a linen thread. I usually go straight for Guterman's Heavy Duty threads, because both my husband and I are very hard on garments, but since this is for classroom use I did finally pull out the spool of linen thread I've been hoarding for the better part of a decade!
Finally, I decided to add tablet-woven trim to the neckline. In men's garments, this seems like it would be more of an outerwear feature, but I justified it with the thought that Mom will also be using this tunic for her female garb as well, where the length of the under tunic will be hidden.
All in all, I'm pretty proud of this project. It brings together a lot of the skills I've been learning and refining this summer, and without that additional study I wouldn't have been able to create something so authentic.
Finally, I'm going to leave you with an image of this tunic with the hand sewn apron dress I completed just before this project. They may be different sizes, but together they demonstrate a pretty productive summer in terms of my costuming skills.
As always, I would love to hear your thoughts, so please don't hesitate to comment. Thank you!
Baker, Jennifer. "Stitches and Seam Techniques Seen on Dark Age/Medieval Garments in Various Museum Collections." 2009. <http://nvg.org.au/documents/other/stitches.pdf> 11 June 2014.
Carlson, I. Marc. Some Clothes of the Middle Ages: Kyrtles/Cotes/Tunics/Gowns. 2003. <http://www.personal.utulsa.edu/~marc-carlson/cloth/tunics.html> 14 August 2014.
Ewing, Thor. Viking Clothing. Gloucestershire: Tempus Publishing, Inc. 2006.
Glæsel, Nille. Viking Dress Garment Clothing. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. 2010.
Østergård, Else. Woven into the Earth: Textile Finds from North Greenland. Denmark: Aarhus University Press. 2004.
Priest-Dorman, Carolyn. "Viking Tunic Construction." Þóra Sharptooth's Resources for the Re-enactor. 1997. <http://www.cs.vassar.edu/~capriest/viktunic.html> 5 January 2014.
Short, William R. "Clothing in the Viking Age." Hustwic. 2014. <http://www.hurstwic.org/history/articles/daily_living/text/clothing.htm> 14 August 2014.