I have finished sewing an iron-age-inspired tunic dress, a new staple of my costuming closet. The desire to sew this gown came to me after looking at all of the warm costuming options that the Vikings wore.
After attending an unseasonably cold Connecticut Renaissance fair in October in my usual fall-suited garb, my body told me that I needed some more cold-weather trimmings. This tunic dress is based on of the tunics worn by Viking women under their apron dresses, however I modified the lines for a more flattering fit. As a result, the gown also works on its own as an early medieval piece. This dress is great for layering; the lacing in back can be loosened to accommodate warm layers beneath. Did I mention that those lacing holes were hand-sewn? Those lacing holes were hand-sewn. This was my first time hand-stitching a lacing hole, and while it wasn’t exactly difficult, it was very time-consuming and not easy to make them consistently sized, despite measuring and marking the fabric beforehand.
My character in this case is a green witch, a common figure in pre-inquisition societies, though called many different things. I chose to work with green poplin because some costumes benefit from literal interpretations. The green leaf trim further connects the dress to nature, again in a quite literal way only suitable for hobby costuming. I felt a trim was nice because vikings love their bling, but I didn’t want anything that would over-power the surcoats and aprons that I plan to layer over this. Versatility is always a goal when I make a garment.
On that note, I also cut two colors of lacing. I couldn’t find an exact match to the fabric, so one option is a natural deep olive-green which is only a few shades off from the dress. Subtle, and good for layering under something when I don’t want the laces to be noticed. The second color is a very bright green, slightly brighter even than the trim, which again, I could not secure an exact match of. This bright trim would be nice when wearing the dress as a stand-alone piece. The bright lacing add another point of interest.