Norse Underdress

28th July 2018
The Renaissance Festival is drawing ever closer in Michigan, and I’ve decided to make a costume for it. I’ve never attended RenFes dressed up before, nor have I ever made a costume before. In fact, my sewing skills are limited to darning socks and mending stuffed toys for my three little ones, but, why not try something new?

I decided to make a traditional Norse outfit, though it’s not Renaissance, I’m sure I’ll still fit in well, haha. I found a wonderful underdress pattern here at Vigdis’ Viking Clothes. My husband helped take my measurements so we could figure out how much fabric I’d need, then we went off to Joann’s and bought three yards of lovely cream linen (it was on sale for 40% off and cost $8.99 a yard)  for the underdress and three yards of gorgeous red linen for the apron (also 40% off and cost $7.79 a yard), which I’ll be documenting and making once the underdress is finished. Below is a picture of both fabrics and the patterns I’ll be using for each. Check out my Norse Apron Dress page for information on that item and the pattern I’ll be using for it.


So here it is, stage one of the dressmaking process! Many apologies for the poor quality of the images, they’re the best the basement lighting and my phone could offer. 😉 Haha.

Below is an image of my dressmaker mannequin, which has been adjusted to my measurements, and on the table is the cream linen, my sewing box and the pattern print out.


Slowly I drew the pattern directly onto the linen. I carefully marked my measurements onto the fabric using a biro pen (didn’t have any chalk, again I’m a novice, haha.), following the instructions on the print out. I used a measuring tape to mark small dots on the fabric and (after double and triple checking) joined them using a yard stick.


Then it was time to cut the pattern out! As you can tell by the poor neckline, I’m not worried about it yet. I’m still trying to decide whether I want to do a rounded neckline or ‘V’ shaped neckline, so I’ll figure that out when I pin the pieces together.

Pictured below is what I’ve accomplished so far. I’m very pleased with it. I lined all the pieces up ready to pin. I need to hurry up and decide what to do with the neckline, I am leaning towards a ‘V’ shaped opening, but I’m gonna have to watch a few YouTube videos to see how to do that properly, haha. Just to let you know, the sleeves were folded on the table so they wouldn’t fall off. 😉 They are, in fact, long sleeves.


All in all the process took me possibly an hour to do. I was slow and measured many times to be sure everything was correct. I can’t cut in a straight line, so it took me a while to cut it all out, haha. I was pleasantly surprised at how quick the process went (though I’m sure the pro-dressmakers out there can probably do it in half the time, haha).

Next time I’ll be posting the second half of the process, pinning and sewing! This is it for today though, thanks for checking it out! All credit goes to the wonderful Vigdis’ Viking Clothes website for providing such an incredible pattern.

29th July 2018
Today I pinned the underdress and sewed it together. 🙂 Here is the front and back of the underdress, all pinned together. They look the same, but yeah. I took a lot of pictures today 😉 haha.

After pinning, I popped the underdress on the mannequin to make sure everything hung properly. Then I decided on the neckline. Below are the before and after photos of the neckline.

After the neckline it was time to sew! I started off on the sewing machine, but unfortunately I managed to snap two needles, so I gave up and hand sewed the underdress instead. I did a basic runny stitch and it took about three hours to hand sew the dress, with frequent and constant interruption from my beloved little ones. I’m intending on sewing the dress up again, using the sewing machine to get a a sturdy and more secure stitch, but I have to figure out why I’m breaking the needles so often. I think I’m tugging on the fabric too roughly, but I am going to figure out what I’m doing wrong. One thing I did realise during the sewing process, was that I forgot to add an inch to the measurements so I ended up with a very small hem. Not great, but it worked.

Finally the dress was complete! Well, almost, at least. I didn’t hem the sleeves, neckline and skirts, again because I didn’t add an inch when cutting the pattern, so I decided I’ll get some ribbon to hem them with instead. Here are some pictures of the dress inside out but all sewn together. It doesn’t hang perfectly, but I’m happy with it.

And here are two pictures of the dress right way in! Needs a bit of an iron, but it looks good!

And here are some pictures of me with the underdress on! Ignore my dirty mirror. 😉 Though I don’t look it, I was incredibly excited to be wearing it, haha. It is obviously very basic and simple, once I’ve hemmed it with ribbon, add the apron dress and accessories, etc, I think it will be great. I think I’m going to deepen the neckline a bit more, but I’m going to start on the apron dress first and see how they look together.

Until next time! 😀

10th August 2018

Hello! Sorry for the long break. I was so busy working on the apron dress that I completely neglected finishing the underdress. So, today I finally hemmed the sleeves, neckline and skirt. I didn’t take any pictures of the dress pinned up, but I do have plenty of the final product. As I’ve said multiple times, I forgot to add an inch for the hems when I was doing the pattern, so the hems are very small. It worked though (I only managed to break two needles in the process! Haha. I need to remember to use bigger needles for the thicker fabric).

And the final product, with and without the apron dress! I’ve had so much fun making the outfit. Sure, I ran into a fair few problems and broke at least four needles in the process, but it has been great. Thanks for following me, I appreciate all the kind words and interest. Until the next project!



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