[SCA-AE] Question: Need help with Viking aesthetic.
hraefnn at yahoo.com
Wed Aug 18 12:16:41 EDT 2010
Since you asked...
Karelia is in Finland which, while heavily interacting with the Old Norse in
the 11th c, is its own distinct culture. I recommend you read up more about that
find before proceeding. This may help:
Anicent Finnish Costumes -
As for apron dresses, the broaches commonly associated with apron dresses have
essentially passed from the archeological record in Scandinavia by the 11th c.
Here are a few good on-line resources about apron dresses as found in the
archeological record. Follow their sources.
Viking Women: Aprondress -
A Viking Pinafore -
Loose Threads (a blog) -
Recreating Viking Clothing - http://www.pvv.ntnu.no/~hmg/lrp/kostyme/viking/
When it comes to decorating an apron dress, you'll find the most archeological
evidence between the broaches usually as a band of tablet weaving. There's four
cases of seam decoration that I can think of off the top of my head and those
come from Sweden, Denmark and Russia. The Swedish and Russian examples are both
silk strips over what may have been a seam or opening on the side. The Danish
examples are either herringbone stitch or a braid over the seam. The herringbone
stitch was on a pillow. I have no evidence for decoration on the shoulder
The amount of embroidery in the Viking Age tends to be small and fragmentary.
There are surviving examples from Oseberg in Norway, Birka and Välsgarde in
Sweden, Jorvik and Orkney in the British Isles, and Mammen in Denmark. The
Mammen find is believed to be a man's grave from c. 972. It has the largest
amount of surviving embroidery but even that is fragmentary and highly degraded
from its internment. If you want more info, email me off line.
If you want to make something luxurious yet appropriate, look into using silk
strips as decoration. You'll find that style of decoration all over the
Scandinavian influenced areas in the Viking Age. The best part is that you can
use thin strips (10cm or thinner), so raid your Byzantine and Italian Ren
friends' fabric scrap bins. Also look for fine wool fabric in a twill, chevron
or diamond weave. The fabric you use will say a lot about the fineness of your
Finally: dates. The Viking Age existed in England from 798-1066. You can safely
expand it on both sides in mainland Scandinavia. In Iceland, they didn't have
the Viking Age but rather the Age of Settlement (874-930) and the Commonwealth
(930-1262). Don't know what was happening in Finland at that time.
Hope that helps and be careful when you tell a research geek not to hold back ;)
And this above all to thine own self be true.
- Shakespeare, "Hamlet"
----- Original Message ----
From: Marie Stewart <maricelt at gmail.com>
To: AEthelmearc List <discussion at aethelmearc.org>
Sent: Wed, August 18, 2010 10:38:13 AM
Subject: [SCA-AE] Question: Need help with Viking aesthetic.
I'm working on something new. And I need help with where to look for some
information and I need help developing an 'eye' for what is right. I'm
taking my first foray into Viking. Specifically, 11th century Karelia.
So think Eastern Viking. But general information will help so don't hold
I'm making a dress, a very simple apron dress. My question is with
decoration. I am planning to decorate the seams, and the shoulder straps,
and the top and the bottom openings of the dress with a simple geometric
pattern. (Found one from Karelia (aka Finland)). What I'm wondering is
what is too much. Or is there such a thing in Viking culture?
Resources on clothing decoration, aesthetics, textile finds (I've looked at
the Mammen), and such would be very helpful.
I want to create a piece of clothing that would look appropriate for the
time, luxurious, but appropriate. And I don't feel that I've got the right
Any help, pointing in the right directions etc. very appreciated.
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