Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Viking Apron Dresses--The "Front Cloth" Idea
My most recent apron dress experiment was inspired by Flemming Bau, who hypothesizes that some of the brooch pairs with three or more sets of loops indicate that a basic tube shaped or single-wrapped apron was worn with a separate piece of cloth over the front of the body (or, alternatively, with a "back cloth" that draped like a train in back). Some folk have hypothesized that the underlying apron did not close completely in the front, and that the front cloth was added to cover the gap.
Although I believe that brooches containing more than two pairs of loops is more likely to be a sign of an apron that wraps completely around the body than it is to be a sign of a dress-plus-front-cloth combination, I decided to experiment by making an apron dress that consisted of a wrapped part plus a front cloth anyway. Because my early efforts to develop a pattern for the dress by draping fabric showed that the gap in front is too large if you just use a simple rectangle for the section that wraps around the body, I added a right triangle-shaped gore to each side of the wrapped panel, while keeping the front cloth narrow. The result was attractive enough but slips around in wear more than I like. The pictures to the left and right show the dress in normal wear and with the front cloth held up to show the gap, (or, rather, the area that would be a gap if I hadn't added gores to create an overlap) respectively. My dress and its front cloth are 100% linen, and are completely handsewn.
Comments from anyone who's made such an apron dress on the wearability and practicality of such dresses would be greatly appreciated.