Friday, 13 September 2013

dark ages viking - time to upgrade to a hand sewn ensemble

Tomorrow I'm going to be sitting on a sofa watching Game of Thrones season 3 while hand sewing a new viking shift/tunic.

The only reason I'm doing so much handwork is that next Thursday it's the opening night of the national maritime museum's new exhibition - Vikings - Beyond the Legend. To quote from the exhibiton page on their website:

The fascinating world of Vikings is revealed in the international blockbuster Vikings - Beyond the legend - open for a limited season.

This must-see exhibition draws on recent archaeological discoveries and nearly 500 rare artefacts to shed new light on the Viking way of life while challenging stereotypes of Vikings as ferocious, plundering pagans in horned helmets.

Many of the artefacts have never been seen in Australia such as the oldest known Scandinavian crucifix, finely crafted bronze and silver jewellery, exquisite gold and silver pendants, small statuettes of Norse gods, and Viking swords dating from 700-1100AD.

Visitors can also see an eight metre replica of the Viking boat Krampmacken, and step on board the Jorgen Jorgenson - a newly restored reconstruction of the late 9th century Gokstad ship.

I got the chance to get a ticket to the opening night by wearing my dark ages viking, but it needs a few fixes

My current shift/tunic is machine sewn so not re-enactment level. That and it's too short And I'm so unwilling to unpick machine sewing and hand sew it again, that I'm going to belt through a rough hand sewing of a better fitting blue linen shift. Plus it uses up stash :D It's not as shade of blue that suits me that well, but it's going to be done and I can dye it darker before I wear it again, and as I'm going to use cotton thread for stitching that will dye too.

If I get it done quickly (not easily cos I'll bleat like a stuck pig the entire time), I might make another apron style overdress And let's be honest, for hand sewing I really need a deadline or I'll avoid it like the plague. It's all about using stash - and I like having dark ages viking in the cupboard now that I have all the accessories.

Must find that dang belt!


  1. That reminds me, I have my Arya Stark outfit to start soon :)

  2. Can people really tell the difference between hand stitched clothing and machine stitched, or is it something you do for yourself?

    1. Some non-sewers might not be able to, but yes there is a difference. Admittedly there are a few, rare, people who's hand sewing is so small, neat & even to be hard to spot the difference - I've seen an original dress from the early 1800s and it's impeccable.

      However, I'm not one of them, and my re-enactment group's standard is that all visible stitching has to be hand done. I love the group enough that I'm willing to do it (so long as I can whinge aboout doing it!)