Saturday, April 4, 2009

Viking Apron Dresses--Revisiting the Hedeby Fragment

Just when I'd thought I'd done as many styles of Viking apron dress as would be useful to do, I ran across Peter Beatson's article suggesting a different cutting pattern for an apron dress based on the trapezoidal fabric piece from Hedeby, which is believed to have been part of an apron dress.

Now, the Hedeby fragment has inspired a lot of apron dress cutting patterns; I've even tried one myself. Beatson's pattern was different, in that he suggests that the dress is just four long rectangles, all of roughly equal size, with triangles cut off of the corner of two of them, flipped, and sewn onto the bottoms to give flare to the skirt.

I was skeptical about how well this would work, so I took some brown wool flannel I had no better use for and have tried cutting out such a dress for myself. It's hanging on a hanger in my room now, pinned together partly because I wanted an idea of how big the final product would be and partly because I bogged down in sewing narrow seams into the wool by hand. What I have so far looks awfully narrow, too narrow to be wearable, and since most of it is still pinned together, I can't risk trying to wriggle into it unless I wish to risk the death of a thousand pin-pricks.

But I intend to persevere. Best of all, I still have some of the flannel left. What I plan to do is try the dress on, carefully, one day after I have sewn three of the panels and the gores together, with the last panel pinned in place. If I can't manage to get into the dress that way, and/or if there is no way to make the dress fit on me if I unpin the fourth panel, put the rest of the dress over my body, and re-pin the the fourth panel in place, I will simply cut a wider panel to take its place and finish the dress that way. Then, I will take pictures.


  1. Do you have more Good Stuff (tm) on your LJ -- even if it doesn't have pictures? I'm not entirely certain that I realized that you had one!

    jerusha (Susan) -- FlorentineScot

  2. Thanks for the wonderful compliment!

    Sorry, but no. I rarely discuss costume-related issues at all on my LJ, because most of the people I know face-to-face are not costumers, and most of my LJ friends are face-to-face friends.

    I kind of like the idea of having a separate blog for costume-related stuff, and Blogger works in such a way as to make it easy for me.