Please keep in mind that archeological evidence is continually being cataloged, studied and interpreted. In which case, there is always the chance of conflicting results or changes in theories. It’s something to keep in mind for when ideas clash. There is also so little known that a lot of speculation has to happen. One of the neat things about being in the SCA or any historical reenactment group is that we get to go test drive a lot of these theories. That being said, here are some sources for you to begin with.
It can be overwhelming and expensive to get everything at once, here is a list in order of importance of items to work on obtaining. Remember, you can always make things out of cheaper materials first and work up to nicer stuff later.
The smokkr (Norse apron dress) is probably the most Norse garment in the SCA and reenactment communities. It’s an iconic item of clothing that quickly and easily, even from afar, distinguishes a persona from the Viking Age. As Norse. This is particularly amazing because not many items of clothing are so identified with a culture outside of the Toga. It’s distinct. This is also interesting because it had a fairly short self life, we don’t actually know what it looked like, and there’s no evidence that all women identifying people wore them. What we do know comes from the brooches (called: tortoise brooches) that are found in graves. Experts are basically of working backwards from there. If it wasn’t for these brooches there may be little speculation as to if the smokkr was a thing. With this being said, it is important to note that new finds and new interpretations are happening all the time.
This smokkr (Norse apron dress) was designed by The Honorable Lady Emer ingen ui Aidan’s and is based on her research of the Haithabu/Hedeby find. This interpretation has: one cut, three seams, gores built in, and a few inches of scrap left over. It is a remarkably easy design and very fabric efficient. When I make this smokkr I end up with only a few square inches of fabric waste.
How I make loops and straps:
Cut 1 3/4 – 2″ wide piece of fabric that is long enough to pass from the back of the smokkr over your shoulder and to about two inches above the front of the smokkr (the two inches will be taken up by the pin in the back of the tortious brooch – add it back in if you don’t plan to use brooches), double that number so that you create a shoulder strap that is a long loop (add an inch or two for wiggle room). Take the fabric and fold both sides into the center, then fold in half, then whip stitch the open edge. You have achieved straps!
I’ll be posting my analysis and notes about making this interpretation of the Norse smokkr soon.