Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Viking Style

I recently became interested in making an old-world style linen dress. Why? An unusual style, very cool in the hot summers, good for ceremonies and trips to the Ren Fest... the list goes on! I'm also hoping to use it to show off some hand embroidery.

The mos compelling argument for using a viking style construction however, is efficiency. In the days where all threads were hand-spun, all fabrics hand woven, and all clothing hand sewn it was imperative to not create much waste. A well executed apron dress can be created without a single bit of waste! A man's tunic is made by similar concept and is equally careful with waste. This pattern comes from Dragonlore.
I did want something a little more modern, so I combined the sleeve design from a tunic and the gores from a dress. Still, every single cut except the neckline is perfectly straight. How easy is that! The small square will make an armpit gusset, the sleeves are perfectly straight.

After making all my straight cuts I added a bit of shaping for shoulders and a curved neck hole. As you can see from the rough drawings, one can lay out the "pieces" on your fabric for minimum waste. Even better, the small pieces I have left over are rectangles that can be easily used for another project (probably a matching belt bag).
Here's how the armpit piece works, remarkably simple, and surprisingly comfortable. I have a good range of movement, important in a culture where everyone was involved in labor or fighting...
Here's the piece so far. I intend to trim the hems with hand embroidered ribbon, so the completion may be several months out! I would love to have it for wearing to Beltane and Midsummer, a perfect light and airy summer garment. How Retro is that?

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