Next Big Project – Skjoldehamn Garb

For someone who sews a lot of 16th century clothing, I sure do seem to like to weave earlier Scandinavian stuff.

For those who are not familiar with the Skjoldehamn find, a body was found in 1936 in a peat bog in northern Norway (near Skjoldehamn, which is how it got its name). For a long while it was interpreted to be late 15th or early 16th century.  Carbon dating changed all that, marking it as most likely 11th century.  The body is believed to be that of a Sami male or female, or a Norwegian female.

The body was dressed in  hood, undertunic, kirtle, trousers, socks, ankle wraps and bands, shoes, and a cord belt.

You can read more about the find here.

I’ve been thinking about this find for some time now.  Though wildly inaccurate, I’ve affectionately nicknamed it the ‘Rainbow Viking Pantsuit’.  I love the use of colour in the cuffs, collar, etc.

The garments are unusual in their tailoring.  The individual pattern pieces are not symmetrical or even.  For example, on the one side of the kirtle has been cut on the straight (it uses the selvedge) while the other is cut angled, and then the sleeves are made in different lengths to compensate.  It’s maddening.

My current plan is to handweave at least all of the custom-coloured parts of the garment, so the striped fabrics (including the kirtle body and possibly the hood).  The remaining fabric will be handwoven or bought, depending on how my budget fares.  Since this is an outfit I intend to wear, I will be evening out the worst of the asymmetry to make something that won’t drive me crazy.  I think I will also make a ‘wonky’ copy in less expensive materials.  Should be fun to compare the two.

Any ways, my goal is to have this finished by Spring of 2018 for our Kingdom Arts & Sciences Championship.  Wish me luck!


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