When many people think about Vikings, they think about bearded invaders with horned helmets, but historically, the Vikings can be considered to be farmers and tradesmen as much as they were raiders. In their day- today life, a Viking man or woman would have likely worn a linen tunic, and learning to sew a linen tunic like the ones that they might have worn is a great project for any beginning sewer.
Choose your fabric. Linen was widely popular all over the ancient world, and if you want to get even more accurate, look for linen that has a tabby weave. Also consider the dyes that they had available in pre-modern times. Dull colours like mustard yellow, dull green, soft pink and dark brown were common, while stronger colours were not.
Determine how long you want your tunic to be. On a man, who would be wearing trousers underneath, a tunic would tend to fall to mid-thigh. On a woman, who would likely be wearing the Viking apron dress over her tunic, the tunic might range from mid-thigh to ankle length.
Take your measurements. A Viking linen tunic will be very loose fitting, so you will only need measurements going around the widest part of your body, from shoulder to wrist, around the widest part of your arm and from shoulder to the place on your leg where you want the tunic to fall.
Lay out your fabric flat on the floor or on a table.
Add 5 inches (12.5 cm) to the measurement taken from around the widest part of your body, and then divide that measurement by two.
Cut out two rectangles using the measurement that you figured for in step 5 for the width and the measurement from your shoulder down to your leg for the length. These are going to be your two body panels.
Add 4 inches (10 cm) to the measurement of the widest part of your arm.
Cut out two rectangles using the measurement that you figured for in step 7 as the width of the rectangle and the measurement from your shoulder to your wrist as the length.
Press the two body panels together and sew the shoulder seams. Leave enough room open in the centre of the garment to form the neck hole. This simple tunic does not have a neck hole cut in into it, and the opening for the head is formed only by the space left open and not sewn between the shoulder seams.
Set the sleeves into the body pieces. It is your choice whether you care to leave the seams facing the inside or on the outside of the garment. Viking tunics have been found with seams facing out as well as towards the body.
Sew the sleeves into the body of the tunic.
Sew up the sides of your tunic and underneath the sleeves.
Hem your tunic.
You may also pinch the sleeves at the wrist, and sew it flat, so you can get a more fitted sleeve. The Thorsbjerg tunic, which this pattern is based on, is fitted in this fashion.
Things you need
- Linen fabric
- Measuring tape
- Matching thread