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.

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!