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Making 'improvements' from what I learned from my previous attempt, here is another go at how I've interpreted the double-wrap apron dress from Bj 563.


First up: What does Inga Hägg say?

From Kvinnodräkten i Birka, p.44 via Hilde Thunem.

"I ena spännbucklan fanns linnefragment i flera lager.... Sedda från dräktens framsida består dessa av blått linne i 3-4 skikt (troligen et avsnitt av kantfällen), det yttersta prytt med en röd snodd..... Fragmentet tväras av 3 á 4 efterstygn. Det blå linnet låg utanpå en ursprungligen vit (?), nu rostfärgad linneögla..., vars övre del fattas. I öglans nedre del fanns ett par nära nog upplösta stygn, som troligen anknutit öglan till kjoldelen.... Innerst låg et lite stycke rostfärgat, ursprungligen vitt (?) särklinne uten annen förbindelse med de övriga textilierna än själva korrosionen.... Den andra spännbucklan har rester av samma blå linne, som lager 1 i foregående, här i en ögla. Över den, dvs innanför denna ögla i drakten, fanns rester av ljust, rostfärgat linne, av samme kvalité som (en rostfärgate öglan i den andre spännbucklan). Troligen rör det sig även här om resterna av en ögla."

"In one oval brooch were several layers of linen fragments.... Viewed from the front of the outfit, was 3-4 layers of blue linen (probably pieces of a folded hem), the outermost decorated with a red cord.... Abrupt fragments of 3 to 4 backstitches. The blue linen lay above an initially white (?) now rust-coloured linen loop..., that is missing its' upper part. The lower part of the loop had stitches, now dissolved, that were likely to have connected the loop to the skirt fragment.... The innermost fragment was a little pice of rust-coloured, originally white (?) linen shirt, all connected to one another due to corrosion.... The other oval brooch had traces of, blue linen, and at the same layer as before, a loop. Above it, ie. inside the dress-loop, was the remains of bright, rust-coloured linen, the same quality (as the rust-coloured loop in the other brooch). Probably it was also the remains of a loop."

From Die Tracht p. 62
"Zwei Fragmente... aus dem Grab Bj 563, sind die einzigen noch erhaltenen Belege eines ganzleinenen Trägerrocks. Es kam hier sogar ein Über- und ein Unterrock vor, der äussere dunkelblau mit einer roten Wollschnur an den oberen Saumkante, und der Unterrock weiss/naturfarbig."

"Two fragments... from grave Bj 563 are the only surviving evidence of an entirely-linen apron dress. It was even an over- and under-skirt, the outer dark blue with a red woollen cord along the top hem, and the under-skirt was white/naturally coloured."

I haven't been able to find it, if it is mentioned in the 1983 Viking Women's Dress at Birka.
As I'd mentioned previously, Bau interprets this find as having four loops in the front and two loops in the back. In his interpretation, this'd be an open-fronted dress with apron over the top. I am beginning to think this might be an attempt to combine an open-sided dress and a desire for closer-fitting clothes.

There are quite a few grave finds, which seem to have a woman with white linen loops being worn over a white linen dress. So what if the white under-apron is an attempt to make it seem more invisible while at the same time providing more 'stability' of the dress?

Using lighter linen seemed to make the bias-cut edges of my trapezium-shaped panels buckle (moreso than the wool), so I ended up cutting a rectangle and then two right-angled triangles which were sewn on to the rectangle straight edge to bias. This photo shows it clearly.

After deciding that I was going to sew the two panels together at the back, I didn't have to worry about the excess fabric at the ends of the panels dragging on the floor -- I could just whipstitch them together along the top edge. This fixed the strange look at the back of my first apron, and gave more coverage.
It is also slightly asymmetrical, as I noticed that the back of the blue panel produced a nice train effect when viewed from the right side.
The only real bother I have with this outfit is when I sit down and I'm wearing the blue apron on top, it splits open in the front even though there are the extra triangular panels. Weirdly, this doesn't seem to happen if I'm wearing the white apron on top at the front.


You might notice something weird happening with the neckline of my underdress - I'm actually wearing two linen dresses because it is the middle of winter and it was a bit chilly without the shawl. Which reminds me, I plan to write about shawls some time soon-ish.

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These photos are by [livejournal.com profile] aslan42:

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