Since I’m headed back east on Friday, I figured now was the time to finish the sister’s (slightly fantastical) Viking outfit.

Interested? Read on!


There’s limited evidence for a triangular shawl in Scandinavian clothing of the late iron age and even less evidence for that shawl surviving into the tenth century. Ásfríðr Úlfvíðardóttir (Rebecca Lucas) provides a really thorough write-up on her blog on the Medieval Baltic (

In keeping with the SCA-Viking theme for the sister’s outfit, her shawl is not a nice folded rectangle, it’s more an elongated D shape that drapes nicely in the back.

The rough shape of the sister’s shawl.

Cutting the shape out instead of using a more generic shape allows me to fiddle with the edges to get a nice ripple.  If this were late iron age or early medieval Scandinavia, someone would probably bonk me over the head with a stick for wasting fabric that could also serve as a blanket, man’s cloak, emergency dress for when Loki steals your clothes, etc.

The shawl is decorated with a stamped pattern based on one of the Chernigov fragments. The fragments date from the 10th – 12th centuries (K.A. Mikhailova argues 10th/early 11th century [Михайлова К.А. Византийские влияния на парадный костюм североевропейской и древнерусской аристократии эпохи викингов, Диалог культур и народов средневековой Европы. СПб., 2010], L.I. Yakunina says 1th/12th century [Якунина Л.И. О трёх курганных тканях, Труды ГИМ вып. 11, 1940]) and were found in Chernihiv (Chernigov), Ukraine. The motif was stamped on wool and consists of crosses within a circle. I do not know the nationality or sex of the individuals buried in the Chernigov kurgan. The initial work by Dmitry Samokvasov is largely inaccessible to me.

Please be aware that I have absolutely no evidence that fabric stamped with such a pattern (or stamped with any pattern at all) would have been worn by a 10th-century woman in western Scandinavia. AS FAR AS I AM CONCERNED, THIS IS PURE FANTASY. 


But pretty fantasy! Here’s a picture of the stamped fabric. For the ink, I used Jacquard screen printing ink in Solar Gold.

Is this the real life? No, it’s just fantasy.  Don’t use it for documentation.

I put a wide silk border on the leading edge of the shawl.

The colors all together. So green!

Apron Dress

I added a band of gold silk to the top of the dark green apron dress.  I might go in and add the Oseberg “Olympic ring” motif to the silk in green wool, I haven’t decided. (For more on the Oseberg embroidery, check out this page!) Unlike at Oseberg (where the fabric was a stunning samite), the silk I’m using is a plain dupioni silk (with minimal slubs). I thought (for a hot minute) about adding a matching band at the hem, but decided that I didn’t like hand sewing that much.

I have the cutest supervisor

I also added “seam treatments” to the seams (appliqued yarn). I get a little tetchy about the SUPER BOLD OMG SEAM TREATMENTS OF TEN COLORS AND A STITCH THAT ONLY WORKS IF YOU HAVE THE FUNNY TOOL FROM CLOVER. So I thought a simple line of appliqued yarn in contrasting yellow would be a nice compromise between the appliqued braid on the Hedeby fragment (the original inspiration for this garment) and the SCA Viking aesthetic.

“Seam Treatments”

I made a set of loops and looped straps for the dress but haven’t attached them yet since I don’t know how long they need to be.

Frankly, it’s hard to focus when this face is staring at you.


I added gussets to the pit area of the underdress. Hopefully, this will improve the fit through the sleeves. I tried something new with the gusset by rotating the piece directly in the armpit so it was cut on the bias.  I’m curious if this will give it more stretch. I’m taking what I have left of the fabric with me in case I need to make last minute adjustments.

Note the bias cut diamond-y bit at the base that’s then sewn to a non-bias cut triangle leading up the arm.


Oops, forgot about this initially.

I used Penelope Walton’s most excellent discussion on the Coopergate Hood (pages 361 and 362 of Textiles, Cordage and Raw Fibre from 16-22 Coppergate) for my pattern.  Basically, this came out to a long rectangle (the original was 55 cm by 18.5 cm after conservation, see page 427 of Walton) with a dart snipped into the top to create a rounded back seam. I’m not sure what the original color of the Coopergate hood was (Walton indicates “-” under the column for dye, as compared to the “n.d.d.” elsewhere used in the table for “no dye detected”)

The Coopergate hood is grouped with Period 5A of the Coopergate find, indicating that it dates to around 975 CE.  The Coopergate dig was in York, England and provided significant insight into Anglo-Scandinavian York, sometimes called Jorvik. This means that for once I’m at least temporally matching something to something.  So proud.  Bear in mind though, that while there were Danes in Jovik and Danes in Hedeby, this does not constitute evidence linking the hood to the Hedeby fragment.

Pattern based on the diagram in Walton on the left, finished product (without ties) on the right.

Avoid the dreaded hair part burn, cover your head.


Yeah, she’s going to have to figure those out herself.  Poop.


Do not use these pages as documentation for what Actual Vikings(tm) wore.  Feel free to use this as documentation for what SCA Vikings(tm) wear.

Final photos coming soon!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s