The shield atop my blog displays my arms, Azure, a winged ounce rampant within an orle argent. I wanted to display my arms in everyday Scadien life, so I set out to make a Viking maiden’s dress to wear to Court and Feasts.
I am often asked why I don’t wear the typical Viking Apron Dress with Turtle Broaches. While researchers are not sure about the significance of the broaches, they are never found in the graves of children or young teens, but only in the graves of older women. This leads me to believe that Turtle Broaches were the Viking equivalent of the modern wedding ring–they would certainly make feeding babies easier!
This is why my Heraldic Dress is an ankle-length tunic. I also took a Step From Period Practice by incorporating my orle border into the dress’ hems and neckline. A typical Viking tunic or dress would have a contrasting colored band at the neck and hems. I used blue thread that contrasts against the grey in a simple running stitch.
If I had to do this project over again, I would make my winged cat smaller. It’s over 30″ tall, and because it’s so big it sometimes gets lost in the folds of my dress. This picture shows it next to my shield cover. If you’re planning on making a large applique for a dress or tunic, I encourage you to keep it less than 24″ on a side!
I cut my cat out of the same linen I made the bands from, and in retrospect I realize that was a mistake. I attached the grey cat to the blue fabric with iron-on interfacing, and then went over every line with embroidery floss using a pillow stitch. I spent almost three weeks doing almost nothing by embroidery. The photo to the left is an early work-in-progress photo, with the lines that would become blue marked in chalk.
The next time I decide to do applique, I’ll use wool, which doesn’t fray and can be tacked down with a blanket stitch!
Finally, you may have noticed that my Arms look similar to the new East Kingdom Order of the Silver Tyger badge. I had to grant my entire Kingdom Permission to Conflict with my Arms! (I’m wondering how long it will be before some nice older knight pulls me aside and tells me my arms will never pass.)