Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Viking Women's Cap

One of the classes that I teach is a head covering for Viking women that has a basis in several finds in Dublin, Jorvik (York), and Lincoln.

Viking Woman’s Cap
By:  Mistress Muirghein inghean Rioghain Bean Ui Eamonn, CP

So, you’ve got this wonderful Viking outfit all set to wear and realize that you don’t have anything to wear on your head in the chill outside.  This is an easy cap made from  leftover pieces of linen, silk or wool.  Since this cap is made from a single rectangle of cloth it falls into the rectangular construction category for garment making.
Rectangular construction of garments goes back as far as cloth weaving.  It was a means of cutting the cloth, which took so long to weave, into garments while having very little waste cloth left over, if any.
You can find rectangular construction of garments in almost every culture.  This form of construction is not restricted to any one time period.  If you look throughout history you will find many instances of this method of constructing garments (i.e. Middle Eastern, Persian, Mongol, Viking, Rus, Anglo Saxon, Tudor, etc.).  Even today, there are countries where this form of constructing garments for their traditional  cultural "folk costumes" is still in use.
Based on textile finds in Dublin and Jorvik (York), we know that not only did women wear headcloths but they also had a simple basic cap.  Most of these finds were constructed of wool or silk, in a simple weave.  From the condition of the fronts of the caps, caused by pulling of the fabric in these areas, we can deduce that there were ties attached.  Some finds also had linen ribbon ties still attached.  They had rolled hems along the bottom and front edges of the fabric with a seam sewn down the back.
Where the Dublin caps had a sewn peak on the backs of the caps, the Jorvik caps had a curve to the top back of the cap.
To make this cap you will need: 
Fabric, measuring tape, yard stick, chalk or pencil, scissors
These are the measurements needed:
(1)  Circumference of the face (under the jawline and over the top of the head and back down)  _____  + 2 inches = __________
(2)  Circumference of Crown of head  _____/2 + 1 inch (seam allowance) = ____________
Now that we have our measurements we draw the pattern out.  Make sure you add in seam allowances before drawing pattern on the fabric.

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