6 July 2020

A lower class tunic - Part 3: Drafting the Garment

It's been a while in coming, but I started feeling guilty about my terrible lack of blogging. Also, Emil has re-started blogging over here at Panzarsork, so I thought maybe I should re-start a bit of blogging, too. This series discusses making my husband a new tunic, which was done for Visby 2019, so nearly a year ago now (I said I'm awful at blogging -- this isn't even my most-delayed blog project.) Anyway, with no further ado, here is the next post.

As I described in the previous post of this series, I had decided on making a garment inspired by Herjolfsnes 43 because it has a fairly slim hem circumference (for a Greenland garment) and therefore better matched the pictorial research I'd done previously. Before I could draft a pattern, I needed to go back to the books - Woven into the Earth (WitE) and Medieval Garments Reconstructed (MGR).

I managed to extract a few measurements for No. 43 out of the books. Namely:

  • It is 1160 mm in length (WitE, p. 175).
  • The total chest circumference is 980 mm (MGR, p. 76-78).
  • The total hem circumference is 2020 mm (WitE, p. 175).
  • Each of the four side gores are 30-50 mm in width at their tips (MGR, p. 78).
  • Each of the side gores are 180-220 mm in width at the hem (MGR, p. 78).
I also identified the features of No. 43 that I was not going to be copying. These were:
  • The keyhole neckline, due to a dearth of similar necklines in the pictures I was using as inspiration.
  • The sleeve:body proportions, as I wanted this to actually fit my husband, not some long-dead Greenlander.
  • The pocket slits, as I was making a cote not a surcote.
  • The piecing, because I didn't need to piece my fabric.
  • Sewing with wool with the proper Greenland seams, partly because I had done two garments sewn like this already, partly because it was April 2019 by the time I started to draft this garment and I didn't have time for all the twiddly bits.
  • Top stitching, etc., for the same reasons.
  • The colour, because my husband is a peacock and depriving him of bright colours is sad.
Therefore, this is much more 'inspired by' No. 43 than a true 'copy'.

Armed with these measurements, and my husband's measurements, I used my ratio system for creating Herjolfsnes-style garments. I drew up a cutting pattern ... and promptly found that I didn't have enough fabric.


A quick email to the lovely Kerstin at Medeltidsmode sorted that and within a week or two I was the proud owner of 3m of beautiful mustard yellow wool melton.

I drafted up a cutting pattern, cut into the garment, draped it and ... promptly realised that I'm an idiot and had forgotten how Greenland side gores are patterned. Namely, if there are four side gores, one is cut as an equilateral triangle (split with a false seam) and the other two are right-angle triangles that are seamed together. Stupid me had cut these gores as three equilateral triangles and two right-angle triangles seamed to make 'one' gore.

Hence my cutting diagram now has "don't do like this" written on it...


This is what rush-sewing a month or two before Visby causes.

It also causes the complete lack of in-progress photos that I have for this project.

However, in my next post, I will finally give you pictures (!). I managed to finish-enough-to-wear the tunic just before our group's photoshoot, so I actually have decent photos for once.

Part 1: Pictorial Research ~ Part 2: Choosing a Pattern ~ Part 3: Drafting the Garment
Part 4: The Finished Tunic (to come)

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