Monthly Archives: September 2016

Norse Hood (a tale of delayed gratification)

Norse Hood

Norse Hood. Worn over my early-mediaeval bliaut, which would be roughly age-appropriate but not at all culturally accurate.

Last year sometime (or maybe before), my stepsister started dating a SCAdian (again), and thus was once again in need of garb. Early Viking, in particular. At Christmas last year, I was looking for a last-minute, minimal-to-no-cost gift, I had spent some thoroughly enjoyable time researching Viking garb and thought a hood like this would make a lovely, simple, not-overly-fit-dependent gift, with at least a nod to accuracy. Then I had no time and decided I would just give her some bits of vaguely-period-appropriate fabric from stash. Then our Xmas times with the Dads didn’t coincide, so I hadn’t had a chance to give her anything yet. So shortly after Christmas I cut out and started hand-stitching this nice wool(ish) remnant into a hood. It actually didn’t take too long, maybe about a day and a half from first cut to finish. (And then I didn’t see her, and didn’t see her, and then they were going to get married so I thought it would make a decent wedding present considering they were going for the most low-key and under-the-radar kind of ceremony…)

But eventually I managed to deliver it, and so finally I can share a post about it! Not that she reads my blog, that I know of, but you never know. 

Hand-stitching. Never my forte. Not improved by using rough-spun irregular yarn.

It’s a simple pattern—rectangles for the hood part (Or one long one, as I used) and squares for the front and back gores. My construction isn’t quite true to the historical base, but I’m cool with that. I’m less cool with my craptacular hand-stitching, but such is life. I wish I’d had grey matching yarn, but I was sticking with the stash. It also seems to be The Single Most Typical Viking Costume Piece On The Internet. Ah, well. She can get creative and do in depth research for her own stuff. At least it’s not a horned helmet.

Laid out flat

My remnant was big enough for the main part of the hood, with a very narrow strip left over. I was, however, able to cut that narrow strip into four and piece two chunks together to get two squares—the front and back gores. Symmetrical? No. A reasonable abuse of the principles of rectangular construction? I think so.

I did the stitching around the hood last, and I was getting a little better at it by then. It`s still not pretty.

The seams are butted and completely flat. I love doing things like that with heavy felted fabrics like these.

Laid out flat another way. This is more how it sits on your body.

One of the sources I read talked about how well-constructed Viking clothes were, it is often hard to tell which side was the inside. That would be the case here, although I’m pretty sure my coarse stitching would be an affront to any self-respecting Viking seamstress.

Back view

I actually really like how it looks as a whole, though, and the scale worked out well (which is fortuitous since there was no measuring involved, just a quick “I have this much fabric, will it fit if I do it this way?”) I think it’s quite a bit bigger and more drapy than the original find the pattern was based on. Not actually worried about that.

No head-shots please… Xmas holidays are exempt.

It’s actually pretty warm, even just being worn for a few pictures.

Another back view

The hood is quite big, luxuriously so. It hangs over the face in a satisfyingly Sith-like manner.

Give in to the Dark Side, Luke…

Yeah, so. She’d better like it, or next year she’s totally getting bath oil.

(Edit: I think they like it. Based on the argument over who got to wear it first when I gave it to the happy newlyweds. 😉 I should probably make another one so they don’t have to fight over it. Pretty sure I have some other remnants of coating that would work…)



Filed under Sewing



So there’s a bit of a gap in my coat collection, in that the Springy Coat is pretty lightweight, and my winter coat is fairly heavy, and I don’t have much in between. Technically my Lady Grey coat should be in the middle, but, um, much as I love the Lady Grey, that thing’s got short sleeves. -10 for practicality, Madam. Especially when made up in a hefty boiled wool.

So something in between would be pretty sweet, and it’s been a pretty long time since I made a coat that wasn’t for a tiny person.


McCall’s has some pretty cute coat patterns; I find them hard to resist, even though they aren’t terribly well drafted. (And by this I mean they use shortcuts, like having you use the same pattern pieces for the shell and the lining, not that the pieces don’t line up or anything like that.) It can take a fair bit of RTW Tailoring to get the pattern to a point I’m willing to go at it. McCall’s 7442 was better than some—at least it has a proper front facing piece and a front bodice lining piece to go with it—but I’d still recommend going over that sewalong or some other lining-drafting info before tackling it.

2016-09-05-11-07-08-1My first thought was a version of view C with the hood, but after trying out the little flounce at the waist I decided to skip it. It’s cute in theory but a little too much ruffle right at the waist for my liking.

14145381_1858178704410629_773238572_nThe fabric is a “wool blend” lightweight coating (or possibly a heavy flannel) that’s only 10% wool—eyeroll—but I sure do like the look. Plus the colour scheme will work really well (if boringly) with lots and lots of the other things that I have made. To make it a bit warmer, I underlined with some heavy flannel from stash, the same stuff that I used for the flannel petticoat an age or so ago. This has made it full-on coat-like, although definitely not Canadian Winter Coat Grade. Also, underlined coating is the sweetest stuff in the world to work with. My machine blind-hem is COMPLETELY invisible because not a single stitch penetrated the outer fabric… but that’s getting ahead of myself.

dsc08591Running with the inspiration of the lace-bedecked original, I also got as much of this black cotton cluny lace as I could fit in the project budget.

2016-09-07-16-21-05And I had just enough to go to town, covering not only the front and back yokes, but getting bands at the hem, waist, and sleeve hems as well. With only the tiniest sliver to spare!

dsc08592You might find this a bit unbelievable, but this is the only coat I have with a hood. It’s not quite big enough, from my point of view, to look good up, but it’s just right for wearing down. And I’m sure if I wear this far enough into the fall (assuming I can wear it, when the chips are down) I’ll test it out for warmth. At a certain point in the Canadian winter you give up on caring about what things look like.

I did, however, screw the pooch pretty big time on this one. I mean, it’ll pass for what it needs to do—it’s a work project, and it’ll hang and look decent on a mannequin for a month, but whether I’ll actually be able to wear it? Grum.

dsc08597Basically, I botched the plaid matching. Since it’s such a simple check, I guess I thought I could kinda wing it and, ah, no. Not a good idea. I should have spent much more time reviewing/researching. Or just thinking. Gah. All the different seam-lines (yoke, waist) didn’t help either.

Anyway, despite way more effort than it deserves, I totally failed at the most crucial of match-points—vertical lines right down the centre front. WTF, Tanit? HEADDESK.

dsc08586And I stretched and eased and fudged and tweaked and made it work, kinda, but, there was a price, which was that I had to trim off some of the centre front bodice. And that I lost what had been a vertical stripe match from left side to right side, in order to match bodice and skirt. Maybe not the right call in hindsight, especially since this meant I also lost inches, where you don’t really want to lose inches in a fitted coat that I was already making down a size. Which means the whole damn thing is tight, bordering on way too tight. Not what I wanted in a brand new coat. And you can see the awkward pulling across the front, especially above the bust, where there just isn’t as much fabric as there should be.

dsc08601Otherwise, I was pretty happy with my fit alterations. I started with a size 10 in the shoulders & bust, grading to a 12 at the waist, and squaring the shoulder down to the size 6 height. I did a petite through the armscye (but then forgot to take anything out of the sleeve cap, which led to a bit too much ease there, oops. My fabric was forgiving enough to accommodate it, but I wish I’d remembered in time to just trim it off. I’m glad I didn’t go with the straight 12 though as the shoulders are still a little boxy. I should have lowered the dart point a little bit, but the pulling above the bust bothers me a LOT more than the high dart.

2016-09-07-16-20-41I do like the two piece sleeve, although I did need to taper it in a couple of inches at the wrist—the bicep width is great, though. After comparing it with the sleeve for my Springy Coat, I added only 3cm of length, but then I lost about half of that trying to get the stripes to match up between my under and over-sleeve, and it’s still long enough. Which means that’s a very long sleeve to begin with, since it’s not unusual for me to add 3″ of length, not 3 cm. I wish I’d been able to keep the full 3cm, though—somehow with turn of cloth and everything it wound up about the same exact length as the Springy Coat sleeves, which are just a little shorter than I’d like. (Keeping in mind that I am obsessed with overly-long sleeves. Probably the length would be perfect for a normal person.)

dsc08594Oh, yeah. It comes with pockets! They are obscenely tiny. Make them bigger. BIGGER.

2016-09-07 16.20.23.jpgI do enjoy my lace, even though it adds to the business of my busy fabric. I used two rows to cover the yoke parts, and just had to piece in a tiny bit right along the shoulder-line.

dsc08603I think that’s it. I like the pictures. I love how it looks on the hanger. It just remains to be seen if tight is actually TOO TIGHT.

dsc08588The hood looks perfect when it’s down. Just the right amount of fabric to sit nicely.
Oh, I almost forgot the buttonholes! I did them on the Rocketeer using my vintage buttonholer. I was terrified because of the thickness of the fabric, and it OWNED. Not a hesitation, not a bunching, nothing. Even on the sections that were covered with lace. Perfect. I went around three times to get the coverage nice. 

dsc08604All in all, I think I will be happy once the plaid-related trauma fades…



Filed under Sewing

I want to blog but I really should clean…

We’re in the midst of prep for the local comic con right now (which is in a couple of weeks). 

Tyo is going as Terry Bogard from Fatal Fury

Zera is the dark-haired girl on the right.

Syo is being Zera from Fairy Tail Zero. If you know what either of those are, good for you. Right now Tyo just needs some fingerless bike gloves and a red hat with a metal plate; Syo is getting another dress/top, and it’s in pieces in a corner of the kitchen. Where it’s been all week because I had to go out of town for work for a couple days. And my boss totally brought her sewing machine, and I was super jealous, but on the other hand I had two evenings of glorious time to myself reading, so I can’t be too sad. (Please note, this is my boss at my non-fabric-related job. :D)

Hotel room

And the kids have gone back to school, but only just barely and now it’s the long weekend already. And the house is a mess which is squicking my husband out so if I’m a good supportive spouse I will help do something about that. Especially since at least some of the mess is sewing related (see the part about the dress in the corner of the kitchen.) And the sewing room is so deeply buried it’s almost unusable, which is the point where even I get a little squirrelly.  

Which didn’t stop me from bringing home a September project, because I’m an idiot.  I’m thinking view C but with a hood. The coating isn’t very thick but I have some plain heavy flannel in stash I’ll use for interlining to make it a bit more warm, so maybe I’ll be able to wear it a bit when I get it back from the store in October. Fall slips quickly into winter here, though. 

At least I won’t be bored?


Filed under Sewing