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I have here a tunic fitting a Norseman of my acquaintance, to use as a pattern for a tunic that I am going to make in trade for some armor. This tunic has modern-cut set-in sleeves and the body piece flares out in a kind of A-line from shoulder to hem. I haven't done a lot of research on Norse or other early period costuming, but from what I've absorbed I'm pretty sure this isn't right.

To make my (hopefully better) tunic, I took a bunch of measurements of the existing tunic: shoulder to shoulder, shoulder to hem, width of tunic at hem, length of sleeves, width of sleeves. My plan is to have a tunic consisting of a long central body piece with no shoulder seams, a gore consisting of back to back triangles on each side, an underarm gusset, and a sleeve piece. Each of these pieces is shaped like a rectangle or square (the gores are rectangles cut diagonally). I'll worry about the neckline later.

My fabric came from the stash - it is a black wool blend that has been through the washer and dryer. As a non-fiber arts person I have a very imperfect understanding of whether this means it has been fulled, or felted, or whether a treatment like this is appropriate for a Norse garment. Since fabric rips on the straight grain (unless, apparently, you are Blue) I was able to get most of the pieces cut out simply by measuring off the appropriate size of rectangle and ripping. The only more complicated cut was the gores, which I ripped first, then marked the diagonal using a straight edge and a piece of chalk before cutting.

After examining the stitch types at Archaeological Sewing (hat tip to [livejournal.com profile] rectangularcat), I am going to go with a single-fold hemstitch on each piece with an overcast stitch to join the seams. If I have time, I will also add the running stitch on the folded over edges, as in figure 10. The stitching thread will be a white wool.

No pictures, because all you'd be looking at right now would be rectangles of black wool.
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May 2011

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