Green Viking Hood

Green linen viking hood, by Sidney Eileen; It is linen, entirely hand sewn and embroidered with linen thread. Stitches used are herringbone stitch to finish the seam allowances and bottom hem, running stitch for assembly and accent around the hood opening, feather stitch for decorative reenforcement of the seams, and Oseberg rings for decoration on the hem.

Green linen viking hood

The finished green viking hood is linen, entirely hand sewn and embroidered with linen thread. Stitches used are herringbone stitch to finish the seam allowances and bottom hem, running stitch for assembly and accent around the hood opening, feather stitch for decorative reenforcement of the seams, and Oseberg rings for decoration on the hem.

The piecing of the hood is based on the Skjold Harbor hood find, but is adapted for linen and for the style of decoration I chose to use.  As is typical for reenactment, this one is made from two square gores sewn into two long rectangles.  The original was made from three squares of fabric, so the fabric was solid right below the hood opening.  I wanted to be able to fold back the seam allowances for decorative finishing (see below), so it made sense to have a seam there instead.

Green Viking Hood - Gore Detail, by Sidney Eileen. The finished viking hood. It is linen, entirely hand sewn and embroidered with linen thread. Stitches used are herringbone stitch to finish the seam allowances and bottom hem, running stitch for assembly and accent around the hood opening, and feather stitch for decorative reenforcement of the seams.

Green Viking Hood – Gore Detail. This photo shows the inside and outside stitch detail at the tops of the gores.

The hood was assembled with running stitch first, using linen thread pulled from the selvage of the fabric.  Machine-woven fabric typically has much higher quality threads in the selvage so it can feed properly through the machines as it is woven, threads that are very well suited to hand sewing, and already color matched to the body fabric.

I then folded the seam allowances to the outside of the garment and finished them using a tiny herringbone stitch in Londonderry linen thread size 30/3 (medium diameter).

Green Viking Hood - Opening Detail, by Sidney Eileen. The finished viking hood. It is linen, entirely hand sewn and embroidered with linen thread. Stitches used are herringbone stitch to finish the seam allowances and bottom hem, and running stitch for assembly and accent around the hood opening. This photo shows the inside and outside stitch detail along the front edge of the hood opening.

Green Viking Hood – Opening Detail. This photo shows the inside and outside stitch detail along the front edge of the hood opening.

Along the hood opening I finished the edge with a decorative running stitch using the same color of 30/3 thread I also used for feather stitch along the seams.  The feather stitch provided a decorative reinforcement for the seams to prevent stitches from popping.

Green Viking Hood - Hem Detail, by Sidney Eileen. This photo shows the inside and outside of the hem at one of the seams, detailing the the embroidery on both the inside and outside of the garment.

Green Viking Hood – Hem Detail. This photo shows the inside and outside of the hem at one of the seams, detailing the the embroidery on both the inside and outside of the garment.

The bottom hem of the hood is turned to the inside and finished in a quick tiny herrinbone stitch again using thread pulled from the selvage of the fabric.  To cover those stitches, I decoratively embroidered the bottom hem with Oseberg rings.  This embroidery is based on a small piece of wool applique embroidery found in the Oseberg ship burial, and, according to Anne Stine Ingstad in The Textiles in the Oseberg Ship, “This type of small embroidery is known from the graves in Birka, and there too it is placed along the edges of seams and applications.”  If you go check out her article, the section on the ring embroidery is close to the bottom.

The inspiration embroidery is a wool core with wool thread wrapped around it and couching it to the fabric.  For my version I am using linen thread, size 18/3 (large) for the core, and 30/3 (medium) for the wrap.

Green Viking Hood - Hem Corner Detail, by Sidney Eileen; This photo shows the inside and outside of the corner of the hem, detailing the couched stitching and how I navigated the ring embroidery around the corners.

Green Viking Hood – Hem Corner Detail. This photo shows the inside and outside of the corner of the hem, detailing the couched stitching and how I navigated the ring embroidery around the corners.

And for purposes of sharing on social media, here are a couple collage photos suitable for different platforms.

Green linen viking hood, by Sidney Eileen; It is linen, entirely hand sewn and embroidered with linen thread. Stitches used are herringbone stitch to finish the seam allowances and bottom hem, running stitch for assembly and accent around the hood opening, feather stitch for decorative reenforcement of the seams, and Oseberg rings for decoration on the hem.

Green linen viking hood

Green linen viking hood, by Sidney Eileen; It is linen, entirely hand sewn and embroidered with linen thread. Stitches used are herringbone stitch to finish the seam allowances and bottom hem, running stitch for assembly and accent around the hood opening, feather stitch for decorative reenforcement of the seams, and Oseberg rings for decoration on the hem.

Green linen viking hood

 

Project: Green Viking Hood

Green Viking Hood – WIP 1-3

The past couple months I have slowly been plugging away at another Viking hood.  This one is made from linen fabric, hand sewn with linen thread pulled from the selvage of the fabric, and embroidered with linen thread using herringbone stitch, feather stitch, and Osberg rings.  If you follow me on facebook, instagram, or twitter you may have already seen these photos as I took them.

Green Viking Hood - WIP 1, by Sidney Eileen; Made from linen fabric, hand stitched with linen thread. Seams finished with small herringbone stitch in linen thread.

Green linen fabric with linen small herringbone embroidery/seam finish.

I am finishing the seams in a manner very similar to the apron dress I made last year.  The seam allowance is folded over and stitched down using a tiny herringbone stitch in linen thread, and then the center of the seam is reinforced with feather stitch.

Green Viking Hood - WIP 2, by Sidney Eileen; Made from linen fabric, hand stitched with linen thread. Seams finished with small herringbone stitch in linen thread. Hem is in progress, being finished with linen thread in herringbone stitch.

Green linen fabric with linen small herringbone embroidery/seam finish, and herringbone stitch hem finish.

The bottom hem is finished using a rough herringbone stitch using more of the fabric selvage thread.

Green Viking Hood - WIP 3, by Sidney Eileen; Made from linen fabric, hand stitched with linen thread. Seams finished with small herringbone stitch in linen thread, and reinforced with feather stitch. Hem is embroidered with small Osberg rings.

Green linen fabric with linen small herringbone and feather stitch embroidery/seam finish, and the bottom hem embroidered with Osberg rings.

As a finishing touch I am embroidering over the bottom hem stitches using Osberg rings.  This embroidery is based on a small piece of wool applique embroidery found in the Osberg ship burial, and, according to Anne Stine Ingstad in The Textiles in the Osberg Ship, “This type of small embroidery is known from the graves in Birka, and there too it is placed along the edges of seams and applications.”  If you go check out her article, the section on the ring embroidery is close to the bottom.

The inspiration embroidery is a wool core with wool thread wrapped around it and couching it to the fabric.  I am using Londonderry linen thread for all my linen embroidery.  For my version I am using 18/3 (large) for the core, and 30/3 (medium) for the wrap.  In the photo above I am working right to left, but I have since tried working it left to right and found it much easier to accurately size the rings working in the new direction.

This stitch is far more time consuming than I had expected.  Each foot of hem takes about five hours to embroider, and the first few rings were nowhere near as even as the ones in the photo above.

Project: Green Viking Hood

New Tutorial – How to Hand Sew Gores on Medieval Garb

How to Hand Sew Gores on Medieval Garb - 9, by Sidney Eileen.

The outside of the finished gore.

This new tutorial shows how to hand sew gores into a slash on the skirt of Medieval garb.  The style of gore insertion I use is based primarily on the 15th century dress finds in Iceland.  I like using this method because it is much more secure than inserting into a straight slash.  This method can also be used on a sewing machine.  Just follow the same steps, but on your machine instead.  Where I recommend using back stitch, stitch over the same line two or three times with your machine.

How to Hand Sew Gores on Medieval Garb

How to Hand Sew Gores on Medieval Garb

How to Hand Sew Gores on Medieval Garb - 9, by Sidney Eileen.

The outside of the finished gore.

This tutorial shows how to hand sew gores into a slash on the skirt of Medieval garb.  The style of gore insertion I use is based primarily on the 15th century dress finds in Iceland.  I like using this method because it is much more secure than inserting into a straight slash.  This method can also be used on a sewing machine.  Just follow the same steps, but on your machine instead.  Where I recommend using back stitch, stitch over the same line two or three times with your machine.

This particular dress is made from a linen blend fabric, and hand stitched using thread from the selvage edge of the fabric.  The selvage threads of machine-woven fabrics are always a higher quality so they will feed properly through the machine during the manufacturing process.  This makes them ideal to use for color-matched hand sewing, unlike the fabric body threads that can be too delicate to work well or hold up under wear.

Linen thread is beautiful for hand sewing and embroidery, but it does require some special handling to prevent a nightmare.  Use only high quality linen threads for sewing.  They do not need to be thick, but they should be smooth and free of obvious flubs and variations in thickness.  When selvage thread is not an option, I am a fan of Londonderry linen thread because of its high quality and the range of colors available.  When you pull your length of thread off the spool, hold it up to the light, pinch it between your fingers, and then move your left and right hands apart while lightly pinching the thread.  You will see some feathering along the thread, but it should be less pronounced in one direction than the other.  When you sew, to prevent damage to the thread you want the thread to pull so that it creates less feathering.

It is absolutely essential to use thread conditioner on linen thread or it can literally disintegrate on you from the friction of being pulled repeatedly through your fabric.  Beeswax is ideal, but other thread conditioners work as well.  Pull your thread through the conditioner repeatedly until it is completely saturated.  The thread conditioner will hold all those feathery bits to the thread, help it slide more smoothly through the fabric, and generally extend the life of your thread.

When you work with linen thread, keep the eye of your needle as close to the end of the thread as you can.  The abrasion of the eye will damage and eventually cut the thread, so anything beyond the eye of the needle will be lost.  Avoid the temptation to slide the eye down the thread as you work, like most of us do with all-purpose or cotton thread.  It will irreparably damage your linen thread.

The first step is to cut your slash.  Stop your vertical cut 1/2″ from where you want the gore to start, and then cut a “Y” pattern to seam allowance depth.

How to Hand Sew Gores on Medieval Garb - 1, by Sidney Eileen. Cut your slash, making a "Y" pattern at the top to the depth of your seam allowance.

Cut your slash, making a “Y” pattern at the top to the depth of your seam allowance.

 

Sew the point of your gore to the top of the slash.  Make sure you have seam allowance on your gore fabric to either side of the “Y” top.  Use a back stitch so you have as strong a seam as possible, since much of the weight of your gore will be hanging from this area.  Also, be sure to put right sides together.

Backstitch Illustration, by Sidney Eileen

How to Hand Sew Gores on Medieval Garb - 2, by Sidney Eileen. Sew your gore to the top of the slash. Make sure you have seam allowance on your gore fabric to either side of the "Y" top.

Sew your gore to the top of the slash. Make sure you have seam allowance on your gore fabric to either side of the “Y” top.

 

Turn the side of your slash so that it lines up with the side of the gore.  For the first inch or two I recommend using back stitch for extra strength, then stitch down to the hem using a running stitch.

Running Stitch Illustration, by Sidney Eileen

How to Hand Sew Gores on Medieval Garb - 3, by Sidney Eileen. Turn the side of your slash so that it lines up with the side of the gore, then stitch down to the hem.

Turn the side of your slash so that it lines up with the side of the gore, then stitch down to the hem.

When using a straight slash there is a very long area with limited seam allowance.  By using a “Y” slash, the area of minimal seam allowance is very short, greatly reducing the risk of your seam pulling free.  If it does, you will end up with a small hole at the corner that can be whip stitched or buttonhole stitched closed, rather than the entire tip of your gore pulling free.

Line up the other side of the slash with the other side of your gore and repeat.  Back stitch the top inch or so, and then running stitch to the hem.

How to Hand Sew Gores on Medieval Garb - 4, by Sidney Eileen. Repeat on the other side of the gore. Line up the seam allowances and stitch to the hem.

Repeat on the other side of the gore. Line up the seam allowances and stitch to the hem.

 

Start at one hem and work your way up the gore finishing off your seam allowance.  You can use whatever seam finishing technique you would like, but I recommend either a flat felled seam finish.  This will enclose the areas of minimal seam allowance at the tips of the “Y”.

Flat Felled Seam Finish Illustration, by Sidney Eileen

Flat Felled Seam Finish Illustration

How to Hand Sew Gores on Medieval Garb - 5, by Sidney Eileen. Start at one hem and work your way up the gore finishing off your seam allowance.

Start at one hem and work your way up the gore finishing off your seam allowance.

 

Trim the tip of the gore to seam allowance.  I wait until this point because if I am trimming off any hand sewing on the body of the gore (as I did in this case) I don’t want to give it time to unravel.

How to Hand Sew Gores on Medieval Garb - 6, by Sidney Eileen. Trim the tip of the gore to seam allowance.

Trim the tip of the gore to seam allowance.

 

Fold under the tip of the gore and stitch it down.  Then continue down the other side of the gore.

How to Hand Sew Gores on Medieval Garb - 7, by Sidney Eileen. Fold under the tip of the gore and stitch it down. Then continue down the other side of the gore.

Fold under the tip of the gore and stitch it down. Then continue down the other side of the gore.

 

Your gore should be securely sewn in place.

How to Hand Sew Gores on Medieval Garb - 8, by Sidney Eileen. The inside of the finished gore.

The inside of the finished gore.

How to Hand Sew Gores on Medieval Garb - 9, by Sidney Eileen.

The outside of the finished gore.

Breaking Radio Silence

I’m very sorry for the radio silence in recent months.  As any long-term followers of my work are aware, my health can make my pace of work rather slow, and sometimes unpredictable.  I did a lot of things in the early part of 2016, enough so that I severely burnt myself out and set back my healing by a significant amount.  That resulted in nearly four months of debilitating fatigue and extremely low activity.  In the past few weeks I’ve finally been starting to feel more like I did before wearing myself out, so I’ve been trying to put energy into the adulting things that have been ignored, like house cleaning.  It’s slow, and nothing my readers need to know about in detail, but I have been moving fairly consistently again.

I have worked on a couple things during those months, but I have not been able to get good photographs of the first one, another hand-sewn Viking underdress.  Fingers crossed that I’ll manage it in the next couple months.  I did take some good detail photos of inserting a skirt gore into a slash by hand, so I will be able to write a short tutorial on that.  The second project is another Viking hood on which I am doing experiments, and I’m not sure if it’s turning out OK or if it’s ugly as sin.  I will post photos when I’m a bit further into it and you’ll be able to see what I am attempting.  Fingers crossed that that one turns out decent looking when it’s done.  I also did a small amount of weaving, which I should photograph and share with you as well, whenever I get around to that.

 

Some Workshops!

On September 24th and 25th, I will be at Collegium of the Desert teaching four different classes.  It’s an SCA event, so medieval costume and theme all around.  These are all classes I have taught before, but I needed to make new kits and I significantly revised by Basics of Opus Anglicanum article.  On Saturday I will be teaching how to pattern and make t-tunics and tunic dresses, and how to hand sew seams, both in the afternoon.  On Sunday I will be teaching Elizabethan Freehand Blackwork in the morning, and Opus Anglicanum embroidery in the afternoon.

This means I hope to restart the Opus Anglicanum stitch-along very soon.

This week I’ve also been revisiting the Spoonflower fabrics and blackwork embroidery designs.  I have sold only a handful of pieces of the first two prints, so I decided any commission I make on Spoonflower fabrics will just go back into buying samples of more prints.  Over the summer I did set up and order samples of nine more fabric designs, five of which work great as they are, and four of which had to be revised because they had too heavy a line weight to easily embroider over.  I’m also looking at how to digitally create more detailed blackwork designs for more dynamic fabrics, wallpaper, and giftwrap to use as-printed.  The next fabric design is already publicly visible, so if you want to go take a look you can find it here.  In the very near future I will be making a post highlighting just that fabric, and I hope to release a new fabric every 1-2 weeks thereafter.

 

So, in summary, downtime is dull and results in nothing interesting to post, but I’m back on the mend, so I hope to have lots of new things to share with you in the months to come.

Hybrid Style Fully Corded Corset – WIP 6-15

I’ve been busy working on the corded corset the past couple weeks, and am taking a breather to post the WIP photos here.  If you follow me on facebook, instagram, or twitter, you can see images like these as I make progress on my projects.

It’s pretty close to being finished.  There are just a couple hiccups that need addressing so it fits comfortably.

Corded Hybrid Corset - WIP6 - by Sidney Eileen. What you are looking at here is I made a basting stitch in white thread at seam allowance depth, and then turned the seam allowance under and stitched it down.

What you are looking at here is I made a basting stitch in white thread at seam allowance depth, and then turned the seam allowance under and stitched it down.

After prepping all the panels I spent some time cutting things out, like the lining, busk pocket, and fabric strips to cover the seams.  Then I started assembling the panels.

Corded Hybrid Corset - WIP7 - by Sidney Eileen. I zig-zag stitched the panels edge to edge, with cotton ribbon backing for reinforcement. I used contrast stitching so I could easily see what I was doing, and it will be covered later.

I zig-zag stitched the panels edge to edge, with cotton ribbon backing for reinforcement. I used contrast stitching so I could easily see what I was doing, and it will be covered later.

Corded Hybrid Corset - WIP8 - by Sidney Eileen. Here the body panels have been assembled and I'm adding the waist tape.

Here the body panels have been assembled and I’m adding the waist tape.

I also assembled the lining, but did not take a photo, before stopping to go get a 3/8″ bias tape maker for creating the strips to cover the seams.

Corded Hybrid Corset - WIP9 - by Sidney Eileen. In this photo all the seams are covered and the lining is attached on the body of the corset. I can't say the same for the stomacher yet.

In this photo all the seams are covered and the lining is attached on the body of the corset. I can’t say the same for the stomacher yet.

By getting it this far when I did, I was able to take the corset with me to an SCA event and attach the lacing rings by hand over the weekend.

Corded Hybrid Corset - WIP10 - detail - by Sidney Eileen. When I took this photo I was almost done attaching the lacing rings to the corset. Only three and a half rings out of 26 were left. Then the basting stitches (the white stitches) could be removed. I used an up-down buttonhole stitch in black buttonhole thread.

When I took this photo I was almost done attaching the lacing rings to the corset. Only three and a half rings out of 26 were left. Then the basting stitches (the white stitches) could be removed. I used an up-down buttonhole stitch in black buttonhole thread.

Corded Hybrid Corset - WIP11 - detail - by Sidney Eileen. These are detail photos of attaching the bias binding around the armholes, showing the difference in final product when you use couture techniques.

These are detail photos of attaching the bias binding around the armholes, showing the difference in final product when you use couture techniques. Initially I tried to do it entirely on the machine (bottom photo), but it turned out terrible on the inside and I barely caught the fold over in places. I’m not in practice enough to be able to fudge it, so after that I whip stitched the binding in place on the inside so I was certain it would turn out nice. It’s basically a basting stitch since I also top stitched after to create an aesthetic consistent with the seam binding, but done in such a way I don’t have too remove it after. If the whip stitch was the only finishing on the binding I would have made the stitches much smaller.

Corded Hybrid Corset - WIP12 - by Sidney Eileen. As of this photo I had finished attaching the bias binding around both armholes and the top edge of the corset, and I started in on the binding around the tabs.

As of this photo I had finished attaching the bias binding around both armholes and the top edge of the corset, and I started in on the binding around the tabs.

Corded Hybrid Corset - WIP13 - by Sidney Eileen, Here I am hand basting the gores in place so I can stitch them accurately. The lining on the gores is folded to the front with the raw edge trimmed to where it will be hidden under the body of the corset. The three goes still unattached are stacked on the corset for the photo. Every time I turn around I am finding another unanticipated step that involves hand stitching.

Here I am hand basting the gores in place so I can stitch them accurately. The lining on the gores is folded to the front with the raw edge trimmed to where it will be hidden under the body of the corset. The three gores still unattached are stacked on the corset for the photo. Every time I turn around I am finding another unanticipated step that involves hand stitching.

Corded Hybrid Corset - WIP14 - by Sidney Eileen, As of this photo, the only external detail remaining is to finish the binding on the top of the stomacher.

As of this photo, the only external detail remaining is to finish the binding on the top of the stomacher.

I got far enough along to be able to try it on before taking this photo, and unfortunately it does need a little bit of steel boning to prevent buckling at the waist. I’m also far enough in that it will have to be added by hand. So, more handwork. Still, it will give me an opportunity to try something else I’ve been curious about, and we’ll see if I can’t make the boning removable for washing.

Corded Hybrid Corset - WIP15 - by Sidney Eileen, Inglorious bathroom selfie! The blue painter's tape shows where I need to place the flat steel boning so it will be straight down the side of my body (no twisting). You can see the buckling, which isn't any worse than one would expect from a faux corset, but is horribly uncomfortable since this corset is tight lacing. I also need to move the anchor points that hold the top of the stomacher tight to my chest to correct the gaping at my bust.

Inglorious bathroom selfie! The blue painter’s tape shows where I need to place the flat steel boning so it will be straight down the side of my body (no twisting). You can see the buckling, which isn’t any worse than one would expect from a faux corset, but is horribly uncomfortable since this corset is tight lacing. I also need to move the anchor points that hold the top of the stomacher tight to my chest to correct the gaping at my bust.

I do think I know what I did wrong that caused the buckling. I started this corset (including cutting it all out) last summer, and I am pretty sure I didn’t cut the pieces on the correct grain. I think they are all grain vertical to the piece shape, which puts them more and more on the bias the closer to the front you get…. It’s a siilly mistake, but it does illustrate the absolute importance of placing grain correctly for the line of pressure along the body.  Had I done that, I don’t think it would need boning at all, because the wrinkling is actually bias stretch on steroids.  Without the full cording I don’t think it would be wearable.  The line of the tape is what the strength layer grain should be on the side panel, but instead I think it is even with the lines of cording.

All in all, I’d say that I’m happy with how it’s looking, and I’m sure I will wear it quite a bit, but there are a lot of things I would do differently, so at some point down the road I want to revisit this concept and make it even better.

Project: Fully Corded Hybrid Style Corset

Dark Blue Linen Viking Apron Dress

Blue Linen Viking Apron Dress, quick photo while at an event. Linen apron dress and underdress, hand stitched and embroidered with linen thread, square wool cloak edged with linen embroidery.

Quick event photo wearing my hand sewn Viking garb.

It’s been longer than I had hoped since finishing the apron dress, and I still have not managed to take nice photos of it and the underdress for my portfolio, but while at Talon Crescent War I did manage to have a friend take a quick picture of me in the outfit.

Linen apron dress and underdress are both hand sewn with linen thread pulled from the selvage of the fabric.  The apron dress is hand embroidered with linen thread.  The square cloak is wool, with linen thread embroidery finishing the edges.  The cloak is pinned into the tortoise brooches, which is pulling them to the side.

 

Project: Dark Blue Viking Apron Dress