a little history: medieval clothing

As I mentioned previously, much of the sewing I have done up to this point has been medieval. Please note that medieval doesn’t necessarily mean complicated – this ain’t no Tudor or Elizabethan wardrobe.

10th c Norse

This is a Norse (a.k.a. “Viking”) outfit. I think this can be remarkably modern looking, if you skip the jewelry. Actually, if you skip the undertunic, it’s practically a sundress.

I made all the textile items: lilac tunic with two apron dresses over top. All three pieces are linen. I bought the tortoise brooches (named for the shape, not the material) do up the straps. There’s a festoon of beads (with a couple metal pendants added on) suspended between the brooches. One friend of mine made the festoon in exchange for sewing; another friend made the metal pendants in exchange for money.

back view

Here’s a close-up of the festoon and pendants. All handmade, folks! (Just not by me.)

festoon and pendants
10th c Norse(ish)

I made my husband’s white linen undertunic, navy wool overtunic, linen trousers, and leg wraps (a.k.a. winingas, wickelbinder).

“Does this tunic make me look fat?” The overtunic is rather bigger than it needs to be: I copied the dimensions from an earlier tunic I had made, but this fabric drapes a lot more than the other. And I couldn’t be arsed to fix it.

back view

So, for those who were curious, this is the type of stuff I spent my time on before I decided that if I’m going to make something, I want to be able to wear it more than a few times a year.

3 thoughts on “a little history: medieval clothing

  1. Your Norse outfit looks remarkably comfy and the colors are groovy. I’m assuming those are era-appropriate colors? I have no idea. Thanks for a peak into your past!

    1. Yes, it is quite comfy. One mild irritation: the brooches are quite heavy and tend to slide down, which hikes up the back. It makes me wonder whether the historic apron dress was more fitted than my version (which seems unlikely since most clothing of the time was not particularly close-fitting), or whether some kind of counter-weight should be worn in back (which also seems unlikely since I don’t think any corresponding grave good have been found).

      As for the colours, I’m certain that the lilac was doable. The red and purple I’m less sure about; I’m fairly certain that the colours were possible but they would likely have been very expensive and may have faded easily.

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