Tour of the Costume Box: Viking Girl Outfit

October 19, 2011

Halloween Countdown: 12 Days

I don’t know when I started thinking of this as the Viking Girl Outfit.  It doesn’t have to be for a Viking, doesn’t have to be for a girl, and doesn’t even have to be worn as an outfit.

The trim is some discontinued green gimp.  The fabric is a crammed-and-spaced plain weave from the 1970’s, handed down from I-can’t-remember-who in my family.  I thought it was cotton, and I thought I’d washed it before storing it–but I was wrong.  When I washed the finished garments they shed buckets of lint. The fabric was revealed as cotton-linen blend with some scratchy bits of flax-stem sticking out here and there.

Fortunately, no Viking Girl would cringe from the assaults of plant matter.

Both the cape and tunic are cut from a multipurpose children’s costume pattern purchased on Etsy: Simplicity 8004, circa 1992.  When it arrived in the mail I discovered something very odd.  There were no sewing instructions.  Glueing, yes.  Sewing, no.

Simplicity was plugging a product called Heat-n-Bond.  They wanted you to make the costumes from lightweight fabrics that required no hemming, and they wanted you to iron them together whenever possible–lapping edges and using nice fat rolls of wonderful 3/8” Heat-n-Bond.  This meant some of the printed seam allowances were wrong for sewn seams.  Hem allowances weren’t factored in.

I traced and redrew.  The cape is basically a 3/4 circle.  On the positive side, 3/4 of a circle makes a full, twirl-able cape.  On the negative side, there is no way to add length and still fit the pattern pieces on a 50-some-inch width of fabric.  I sketched an ovoid instead.  The hood is enormous!  Simplicity drafted it with fiddly pleats to fit it to the neckline.  I didn’t feel up to altering the hood’s basic shape, but I did want to line it.  I cut out two complete hoods, pleated them individually, then sewed them together at the front–first interfacing the bejesus out of that front part with Craft-Fuse so it would not simply flop over my nieces’ heads like a sack.

Kind of Obi-Wan Kenobi, don’t you think?

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9 Responses to “Tour of the Costume Box: Viking Girl Outfit”

  1. Jenny Says:

    Definitely Obi-wan Kenobi. I was thinking that even before you said it!

    • trapunto Says:

      Yeah, I looked up a picture on the internet and the front of his hood is even more stiffened up than this one! Hollywood costumers must spend half their time figuring out how to make fabric act like something else.


  2. I thought ‘Druid’ but Obi Wan is good too. Frankly, the sheer breadth of possibilities there are in any costume with a big monk’s hood are staggering.

    • trapunto Says:

      I wonder if they have even seen Star Wars yet. Probably not. My sister is careful about age-appropriate exposure. I just had very good thoughts imagining them seeing Star Wars for the first time.

  3. zibilee Says:

    It looks like a Jesus robe! I love it!

    • trapunto Says:

      I never thought of that, but it totally does. They could drape the blue cloth over it and it would look like it was right off the cover of a children’s Bible.


  4. It ought to be a little scratchy — for long-suffering maidens on a quest to overcome the spell of some evil wizard. Like the princess who had keep mute while spinning enough flax into make clothing for brothers who had become swans.


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