No, I haven’t even seen the History Channel series. I prefer to get all of my information from books, lecture series, and historical reenactment. I cannot get enough information on Viking clothing, lifestyle, social structure, combat strategy, trade habits and armament. It’s all I’ve been sewing lately in preparation for the Vermont Winter Renaissance Fair!
Sewing historically inspired garb makes me feel connected to the past and the ancient complex tradition of garment making. I debuted several new costume items this weekend, which I’ve been feverishly sewing for weeks. Our friend Andrew MacRobert took some really nice photographs of the costumes that I made for Jake and I below.
These outfits build upon the garb that was already finished and worn to the Connecticut Renaissance Faire this fall. The addition of kaftans, furs, a hood for myself and a hat for Jake, as well as three new bags made us ready for winter. I talk a little more extensively about the hood and Jake’s apricot kaftan in previous posts.
I made the furs from simple cuts of Joann’s new faux fur line. The brown is imitation mink and the gray is supposed to be bear. They’re both extremely soft and dense, and actually, are both only made from one yard of fabric, but the pile on the gray bear fur is so much higher that it looks like way more material.
The canteen bags and blue shoulder bags that I made are not super visible from these photos, so I will publish more on them in an upcoming post. I wanted a convenient way to carry more things, especially water, and hide my modern accessories without disrupting the heavily researched historical look. The blue cross-body bag was easy to make with a small piece of burlap, and is extremely functional. The canteen bags hide our modern water bottles and make them easy to carry.
Overall these costumes are comfortable, warm, and allow for good range of motion so that we can participate in a number of activities while wearing them. They also do pretty well to hide several styles of modern shoes. I made every bit of these outfits myself with a little help from Jake! However the materials and methods of sewing are not true to history; I’ve used a lot of synthetics like polyester, fleece, and pleather instead of wool and real animal products. I also constructed most of these items with the sewing machine and/or serger. Details like embroidery and beading were hand-done, but I was too pressed for time to sew everything by hand, and I don’t feel a need to go into that level of historical accuracy! I hope you enjoy the photos. There are more to come!