The Vikings Are Coming…

I just found this post, half written from back in July of last year (now that sounds odd….but hurrah for it being 2014!  I’m ready for a fresh New Year), so figured I’d finish it and finally get it published….

Recently, Felix had to dress as a Viking for the day, for a school project.  As the Tudor Boy costume I made has been worn so extensively, by both my boys and children of friends, I decided to make a quick tunic in the hope it’ll also be well used.


It wasn’t in any way historically correct, although I did reference some original patterns for guidance and was made quickly using linen and trim I already had in stock.  Above you can see the basic shapes (this is half the tunic, obviously, so there are double side triangle pieces and the rest is shown folded).


F had chosen to make a sword for his project homework….out of wood, at his insistence.  I was thinking of cardboard but he was very keen to use wood so I figured he’s old enough to use a knife and cut balsa, although I did worry he might lose a finger at one point.  Actually, what I was really thinking was maybe doing one of the written homework options, but F was having none of it.


He takes his posing very seriously doesn’t he?!  He worked hard on sanding and painting his sword and had fun hammering in brass furniture tacks for rivets.


We just bodged the rest of the costume with my belt, his trousers and some bits of linen tied roughly around the lower leg, partly to hide his school shoes.  Oh and the helmet was made from cardboard and paper mache.


If you’re thinking I make this effort every time the boys have to dress up for school, I don’t, only on occasions when I have time and I know that what I make will be worn again.   C recently needed a Victorian boy outfit, I resisted the urge to get out all my original stuff (of which I have lots, and plenty for men/boys) or to make a nice tweed suit and instead cobbled together the usual ‘working lad’ outfit.  I didn’t even make the hat (which I had planned to) as this one cost £7 and to be honest, it’s actually quite nice quality tweed, I probably couldn’t have made one for that money.


I like that both the boys have taken a quirky interest in how they choose to dress themselves.  Here, for Boxing Day (is it bad to admit that they stayed in their pj’s all day Christmas Day?!! – I didn’t, I should add, I dresses up including curling my hair and putting make-up on – go me!) they dressed themselves.  F has taken to wearing my Dad’s old school blazer, I’m trying not to be precious about it but can’t help reminding him it is very old and needs to be treated nicely.  C is very particular about what he wears and currently favours ‘smart’ clothing with, ideally, a Dickie bow (and usually a cardi and shirt with EVERY button done up).  I leave them to it.  They are always in need of a haircut.

Oh and the dog C is clutching is by Sally Nencini, I have a footstool of her’s to photograph and mention at some point.


My other reason for finally publishing this post is that I just treated myself to some new books, including this fabulous one, ‘Creating Historical Costume’ by Elizabeth Friendship.  She was the head of my degree course and taught me to pattern cut, so the book is brilliant for me, as it’s a process of pattern drafting that I already know quite well.  Still, I totally recommend it to anyone interested in cutting their own period clothing patterns, it really is a great guide.


Whilst I remember, another period pattern book I love is ‘The Tudor Tailor: Reconstructing Sixteenth-Century Dress’ which is also written by someone who went to my college, so again, it’s all processes I already know but it’s such a great book, I wish I’d bought it before I had to make the Tudor costume for F!

That’s it.  I’m easing slowly into the new year due to a stinking cold, but I’m determined not to let it beat me so I’m pretending it’s not happening and just making sure there’s a box of tissues permanently to hand.  I hope you all had a lovely time over the festive season and are also enjoying the start to the new year – let’s hope it’s a good one!

23 thoughts on “The Vikings Are Coming…

    • I was sad we weren’t ‘Up North’ as I’d have definitely taken F to York, but by all accounts he had a great day at school and he loved the subject, it was right up his street generally (he has also enjoyed ancient Greeks as a topic this term). Bethx

  1. He makes a great viking and I’m very impressed with the sword he made. Well done, letting him loose with a knife (my heart always sinks too, if they pick a ‘make’ rather than ‘write’ piece of homework!). The boys are both looking so grown up – and mine are always in need of a haircut too!
    Happy New Year. Juliex

    • Oh how I would have LOVED F to pick a writing homework for once. We opened C’s bag to do his late Sunday afternoon and it involved him needing to bake something (to practice weighing etc) and my heart sank as I was hoping for some nice easy maths! Oh well, I found enough ingredients to make muffins 🙂 Bethx

  2. Happy New Year Beth! I hope its a wonderful one for you and your family this year 🙂 I really love F’s sword and his tunic is gorgeous! It must feel really good to make clothes, I wouldn’t have a clue how to so I really admire you can. C looks very sweet as an Victorian boy! I really like there different dress sense, the Boxing day pic is very sweet 🙂 I love C’s bowtie and F is rocking that blazer! They look very happy 🙂 Hope you all had a wonderful time together, love safxxx p.s. your books look brilliant, am fighting the urge to get them on amazon now!

    • Hello lovely – wow this is ages ago now isn’t it? We did have a great X-mas, it feels like a dream now and I could do with Spring starting proper as I’m bored of the rain and worried about all the flooding 😦 Those books are great, if I recommended just on it would be the tudor one as it makes a nice read, even if you don’t make anything from it, but generally, they are quite niche, I guess. Bethx

  3. Happy New Year Beth!

    Your boys are adorable, in special costumes or “chosen themselves”-clothes – which seem to be rather interesting too, that bow! that old-school-jacket! – fantastic! And it’s funny how much they have grown during these years (it’ been years!) of reading your lovely blog!

    I wish you wonderful start for your year, flu or not, happy creating and some sunshine soon too! Let’s make 2014 the best ever!


    • Hi Mia, I never realised I hadn’t replied to comments on this post – oops!

      It has been years hasn’t it? We’ve just had a lovely chap called Andy decorating our bathroom (I’ve mostly given up in decorating myself as I just don’t have the time these days) and we chatted about the fact he first came to paint here when F was only 18 months old and C wasn’t even born yet! It reminded me of how quickly the time is going.

      Sadly no sunshine as of yet, but we live in hope 🙂


  4. Happy New Year Beth, I hope it’s a good one for you!
    Your boys are brilliant, as are their customs, good for them, taking an interest in what they wear!
    I have to admit to having a soft spot for that cute little Victorian boy! 🙂
    V xxx

      • Ah Charlie is indeed cute, I think he might be teacher’s pet at the moment at school as he’s a bit of a ‘Peter Perfect’ as well and loves work and homework etc etc – sadly, that makes poor F the ‘Horrid Henry’ of the house, I do feel for him being the ‘naughty’ one, we have to try really hard not to tell him off all the time but it’s difficult with C being such a goodie two shoes and F being a moody teenage style 8 year old! Bethx

  5. Felix did a fantastic job on his sword! Love the tunic, too and great to see it laid out in pieces… I may refer to that for future costume making myself. I love that your boys enjoy dressing up. Our big boys are rather keen on bow ties at the moment too, thanks to a Dr Who obsession.

  6. Hi Beth – a very happy new year to you and your beautiful family.
    You make the greatest costumes for your boys – you put my attempts to shame! :0)
    I’m loving how dapper they’re both looking. I didn’t appreciate how little boys could take an interest in their appearance. I thought they just liked to wear ill fitting jeans that showed off their pants!!!!
    Didn’t F’s sword turn out well – well done him. It looks great.

    Jill xx

    • Oh I don’t, you make lovely costumes and I’m quite jealous you get to make girl costumes, I do get a bit bored of tunics and swords. F did well with that sword, I was impressed how hard he worked…shame is, I now feel we have to keep it and we have a mountain of the boys home learning work already – oh well 🙂 Bxx

  7. I feel a little bit sorry for the mothers of the children in your sons’ classes, they must feel very inadequate! Fab costumes. Happy New Year, hope the colds are over soon, we’ve been the same and they are dragging on a bit now. Julie x

    • Oh no, believe me, there are many, MANY mums who make much more effort than me, I do what I think is enough, but that keeps the boys happy (if that makes sense) but I do see that it’s easier for me as not only can I sew, but I often have lots of fabric and other bits already in, which makes things a lot easier. Bethx

  8. I love, love the blazer! And don’t you know, bowties are cool.
    I haven’t been to visit any blogs in forever, it’s great to see all your projects. Happy New Year!!

    • Hello, hello! Lovely to hear from you 🙂 I have to admit, I too, love the blazer, when my Mum first gave it to me (many, many years ago) I could actually wear it, because I was teeny tiny (almost up until having my kids when I put on a *ahem* few pounds 😉 ), but I always had to be careful I didn’t try to lift my arms too high as I was frightened it would rip – ha ha. F looks good in it and I am hoping to persuade him to let Charlie wear it when he too, gets older, so they both get turn. I hope all is good with you and Happy New Year to you too!

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