Thorson and Svava

Viking Resources

Outfitting yourself as a Viking:
Suggestions for fabric choices: fibre, color, weave

Fabric Choices:
Linens and wools. Cottons were exceedingly rare.

A note on silks: Silks were relatively rare, and more often showed up as silk samit (i.e. a heavy silk satin relatively equivalent to a modern smooth-faced satin) and, occasionally patterned in large-repeat patterns, in bands at wrist and hem as "trim." "Raw" silk or "tussah" silk is a modern fabric, made from cocoons taken after the silk worm has eaten through and crawled out. Period silk (and modern smooth-faced silks) was made by boiling the cocoon with the silk worm still inside. Some photographs of the process, virtually unchanged, can be found at purbasha.nic.in/sculm.htm.

A good source for linens - they serve a variety of reenactor communities and have linens and linen-cotton blends, all 60" wide, at the best prices I have found:
www.fabrics-store.com

Fabric colors:
Be aware that virtually all of the commercial fabrics you can purchase today are dyed with petroleum derivatives, and are optically very "bright." While the Viking-era folks did have access to many dyestuffs that can be used to make bright colors, they did not have the mordants (fibre preparation bath chemicals) which prepare the fabric to accept the dyes in such a way as to make the brightest versions of the colors. Therefore, look for slightly muddier or duller versions of colors when shopping. For example, choose indigo rather than royal blue, burgundy rather than cherry red, an "antique" gold rather than sunny yellow, a forest rather than a Kelly green.

Fabric Weaves:
For information on various weave types appropriate for Viking garb, click here. (PDF)

Get Acrobat Reader


« Back