Blog Archives

A Finnish Underdress

In an attempt to develop my new Iron Age Finnish persona, I have decided to make my own Eura dress.  I am basing this on grave finds as described in _Ancient Finnish Costumes_ as found here:

Unfortunately, my first attempt didn’t work out quite as planned.  The dress turned out beautiful… it sewed together perfectly… and it would fit two of me comfortably!


The problems:

1)The text which accompanies the pattern drawings of the underdress in the above link states that the dress can be made on fabric which is 80 cm wide.  However, using that width, I ended up with a dress which is much too large to comfortably wear under an overdress.

2)Also, I found that the “yoke” (created by the portion of the sleeves which attach to the front and back panels) is much too low (by about 3″) creating a rather immodest “issue” up front, even when the front is pinned together (as is often seen done with trefoil brooches).

3)And it’s not really a problem, but something else I notices was that the overall length of the dress is too long, but the sleeves are slightly too short.

The fix:

The body was cut to a width which puts the side seems quite a distance out from my body (as seen in the photograph).  Because of the placement of the sleeves “on top” of the front and back panels of the dress, reducing the width of the body will also reduce the width of the sleeves.   This actually fixes two issues at once.  I have determined that (for me at least) the body should be no more than shoulder width, which would, by extension, narrow the sleeves as well.

Adjusting the length of the sleeve to make it longer will automatically make the overall length of the dress shorter.  (See the illustration in the above link, page 50, and you will understand what I mean.)

Unfortunately, I am going to have to wait for new linen to arrive before I can sew up a new underdress with these modifications.

What’s next?

After I get the underdress and over dress sewn, I need to add jewelry (shoulder brooches with chains, a trefoil at the neck, and spiral bracelets at the wrists.  I also plan to add a veil, shawl, and traditional apron with spiral adornments.

Oh yeah… and more pictures as it goes!