Archive for the ‘Re-enactment’ Category

Just finished another band on my inkle loom. This one was also ordered by a re-enactor; I’ve sold three bands now and earned the same amount the loom cost me.

Inkle loom bandInkle loom band

It resembles much the first band I ever wove, but this one has an extra stripe of dark brown along the edge. When I look at the pictures of my first band I’ve definitely improved my weaving! My goodness, the edges of that first one are so wonky.
This is the exact pattern I used (made here). It has 33 warp threads and is 23 mm wide.

Inkle loom patternInkle loom pattern


Read Full Post »

Inkle band warp float pick-up patternInspired by the fantastic blog Backstrap weaving, I continued weaving bands, this time trying my hand at a simple but nice technique that allows for a bit  more complicated patterning: warp floats. There is a good tutorial on the abovementioned website. My first try was much appreciated by some of my fellow Viking age re-enactors and two people even ordered a band. I haven’t had a hobby before that pays for itself actually, so that was nice.

Two inkle bands pick-up pattern
On the backside you see the colour of the weft coming through, which gives a funny effect as well. Perhaps I will try to do more with this another time, it’s an easy way of bringing in an extra colour:

Inkle band warp float pick-up pattern

Two inkle bands
The trouble with this technique is that the threads are pulled in a bit more than with plain weave, so that the band becomes narrower. Hence you need more warp threads so achieve the same width, and that wasn’t really working out on the small ‘loom’ I had. That’s when I decided to buy myself a proper inkle loom. It came by mail this weekend, and I’m so happy with it!

Ashford inkle loom
Setting up the warp was SO much easier and it’s also very nice to not be tied to your weaving. I also found it less tiring for my arms and shoulders. On the picture above you see the shortest possible warp: 1.3 m giving a band of a little more than 1 m. The longest possible warp is 3.4 m, a little shorter than what I would have wished for, but I couldn’t find a larger loom available in my country. This one is an Ashford, they have a smaller model available also.

Inkle band

Read Full Post »

After writing in a previous post about my Viking age coat/kaftan, I was asked which pattern I used. Well, I used a very basic Viking age dress pattern and simply cut open the front panel to create a coat. I made a graph and some instructions for those who are interested. Although I did my best, I can’t guarantee that all is correct as I’m not an experienced pattern maker, so please use your common sense while using this pattern.
Viking coat kaftan pattern

ab = your length from shoulder to ankle (or whatever length you like the coat to have)
cd = circumference at breast height devided by 2, plus a little extra to avoid tightness
ef = distance from ankle to waist
gh = 30 to 40 cm
ij = length of your stretched arm from shoulder joint to wrist
kl = 10 to 12 cm
mn = ± 40 cm

Always add seam allowances to the measurements above! Also when cutting out for example the neck-hole, remember that it will become larger when you sew the hem.

Textile finds from Birka show that the tunic-type garments from 9th and 10th century Sweden did not have separate front and back panels with shoulder seams, but were cut as one large piece with a hole for the head opening. For the wider fabrics that we have today this is likely an inefficient use of fabric, therefore I assume here that you have separate front and back panels.

Cut front and back panels as rectangles of size ab x cd; you will make the front opening and the split for the back gore later. Similarly, cut the sleeves as rectangles of ij x mn, you will shape them later. Cut the neck-hole out of the front and back panels. At the back it should be 3 to 4 cm deep (after sewing the brim), at the front it doesn’t matter because you will enlarge it later on.

Start the assembly by sewing the body halves together at the shoulders. Sew the four side-gores to either side of the front and back panels. Sew the two gore halves of the back gore together. Cut the opening along the back to insert the gore, but be careful not to make the slit too large, it should be a little shorter than the distance e-f because of the seam allowances. Sew the sleeves to the body, centered on the shoulder seam. The square gussets, that serve to relieve tightness in the armhole, are sewn into the corner of the sleeves and the front panel, as shown in the graph.

Finally, fold the whole thing in half and sew each side from wrist to armpit to hem. Shape the sleeves while doing this, but do not make them too tight, your balled fist should still be able to fit through. While sewing the armpit area, the square gusset is folded into a triangle, attaching the point indicated by a * in the graph to the other armpit, also indicated by a *. When you are finished, you have a dress. Now, make a coat out of it by cutting open the front panel along the centre, making the upper part into a V-shape so that the front opening lines up with the sides of the neck-hole. Fold over the fabric to the inside and secure with small stitches that are not visible on the outside. Do the same with the sleeve ends and underside of the garment.

SleeveShaping the sleeve

To finish, press all seams open with your fingers and sew the seam allowances flat with a stitch that is invisible on the outside. Finishing the seams like this is especially important in places where multiple seams come together, such as at the top of the gores, and it will improve the drape of the final coat. For thinner fabrics such as linnen I prefer not to press the seams open, but to fold both seam allowances to one side for more strength. Mostly I trim one of the allowances to 1/4 inch or 1 cm and the other allowance to 1/2 inch or 2 cm, then press them to the side of the shorter one and fold the longer allowance around the shorter one.

You can decorate your coat by adding some nice embroidery or -which was probably more common- by attaching woven band or metal-brocaded braids. In Viking times it was also very common to accentuate the seams with decorative stitches. For more information on decorations as well as general information on Viking clothing and coats, visit this nice website.

Read Full Post »

In the last post I talked about a band I was weaving to decorate my Viking age coat or kaftan. Here are some pictures of the finished coat.

Viking coat with woven band

The coat was made of wool in a very dark shade of grey, almost black, which contrasts nicely with the colourful band. I also like how the colours of the band match the glass and amber beads. Fashion at that time was to have strands of beads hanging from the two brooches that fasten the straps of the apron dress (the green one) at the chest/shoulder (brooches are not visible on the pictures).

Viking coat with woven band

Last weekend there was a re-enactment event at a castle where I wore my new coat, and it served its purpose of keeping me comfortably warm. The only thing I still need are a pair of clasps to fasten the coat at the front.

Read Full Post »

     Inkle loom woven bandToday I finished weaving a 6 m long band. Nice and colourful, isn’t it? I will use it for decorating a re-enactment Viking coat. Two of the three colours I dyed myself with plant material: red with madder roots and yellow with onion skins. I really enjoyed the dying process, it is so much fun to see beautiful colours appearing from simple plant material.

I especially liked dying with onion skins, they are easy to collect during daily cooking and give wonderful colours. This golden yellow was  obtained by heating the wool in water with 100% of the wool’s weight in onion skins, dyed for only 30 minutes at maximum 90°C (the wool was first mordanted with 15% alum). After that I felt sorry to throw away the onion skin ‘soup’ that still had so much colour, so I threw in a second skein of wool. This one was not  pre-treated with alum, and I heated it for about two hours (at max. 90°C) and let it cool in the dye pot until the next day. It turned out more orange-brownish compared to the first one.

Wool dyed with onion skins

Onion skins – madder roots – onion skins:

Wool dyed with plants

I am planning to buy an inkle Inkle weavingloom, but for now I simply weave by tying one end of the warp threads to a fixed point and the other end to my belt, with the heddle in between. I do look forward to buying an inkle loom though, as it is hard to keep the tension right, especially of the outermost warp threads.

For this specific band, I needed warp threads of 7.5 m long. I cut them, wound each on a paper roll, and hang them on a stick, so that I could slowly pull and make a braid. This braid was untied bit by bit as I wove.

Warp threads inkle loom weaving

The weaving pattern was designed with help of the pattern generator that I’ve linked to before. These graphs show the order of the warp threads and the final pattern:

Inkle loom patternInkle loom pattern

Inkle loom weaving band

I hope to show pictures of the end result soon, when the band is sewed onto my coat.

Read Full Post »