Woman's Underdress:

The bottom layer of a Viking woman’s kit is the under dress. The pattern following comes to us from Hefdharfru Vigdís Vestfirzka. I have borrowed it until I can come up with one of my own. It is based on some Finnish Viking under dresses. These reconstructions show some of the other possibilities.

There are six measurements that you need to take to make this pattern work.

  1. Shoulder to floor
  2. Around the fist
  3. Over the shoulder to underarm
  4. Half your underarm width (usually between 6 and 10 inches)
  5. Shoulder to shoulder
  6. Arm length from shoulder

In order to determine how much fabric you will need first double measurement 1. This is the length of fabric you will need. As for width of fabric, the wider the fabric the fuller the dress. Vigdis says you can make a dress with 45 inch fabric but I recommend a minimum of 54 inches.

Once you have the fabric and all your measurements, fold the fabric in half length wise. Lay the fabric out of a flat surface and make the following lines using your measurements (see graphic).

It may be a little easier to mark and cut the body before making the measurements for the rest of the dress. Now is also a good time to work on the neck hole since you don’t have as much fabric to deal with (Check out this page for neckhole design).

Once you have all of the lines marked, cut out each piece of the dress along those lines.

I would recommend starting the sides by sewing the long gores to the arm pieces along the number 4 measurement. Next sew the two arm pieces together along measurement 6. After that sew the two arm/gusset pieces to the body. Finish the dress by sewing the two sides together.

The only thing left to do is hem the bottom and the sleeves.