Sewing a Skjold (Viking) Hood

20180621_123037As a Viking reenactor, one of my challenges is recreating garments worn centuries ago, with no instructions on how they are put together. I read through several sets of instructions for how to make a reproduction of the hood found in Skjold Harbor. After several tries, I now understand how the squares and rectangles work together. I used this pattern to construct my  Pronoun Hood.

Explaining how to assemble this hood requires both color-coded diagrams and photographs of the assembly process. The photo on the right shows my completed hood.

The skjold hood pattern is deceptively simple: two rectangles (1-2 and 3-4) form the hood and sides, and the front and back panels are squares half the size of the rectangles (5 and 6).


I have colored each section’s edges to explain which edges should be sewn together. Black edges indicate the outer seams of the garment, and the dashed black lines show where the fabric folds.



The squares for my hood are one foot by one foot. I have made many more hoods since I made these diagrams, and I have found that a Medium sized head needs 13×13″ squares and a Large sized head needs 15×15″. A child’s hood is 11×11″.


HoodLayoutIsoThe hood is tricky to assemble because the edges align in an odd fashion.

First, join the two purple edges of (2) and (3) together to form a very long rectangle. Another way to make this hood from a piece of fabric one foot wide and six feet long, removing the need for the purple seam. The purple edge can be a fold or a seam, and sits over the top of the head.



Next, join the two red edges of (2) and (3) together. This seam sits over the back of the head. The black edges of (2) and (3) are the open front of the hood.



Starting at the end of the red seam, pin  and sew square (6) to the back to the hood. You will need to align the orange edges of (1) and (6) as well as the  brown edges of (4) and (6). Don’t start at one of the corners with a black edge, because the fabric can slip and misalign the entire hood.



The next step is the hardest. Carefully align the front of the hood to sew the front seams. I like to pin the open front of the hood (the black lines of (2) and (3) closed so they align. This ensures the front square (5) will align with the back square (6).

Finally, sew the blue edge of (5) to the blue edge of (1). Now you only need to roll the seam around the open front of the hood and its outer edge.


It looks strange, doesn’t it? When flat, the hood will look like this. I have drawn a person in the hood so you can see how it sits. The dashed lines indicate folds.

Showering: Scadian Style


Showers are one of the lovely modern inventions the Society for Creative Anachronisms incorporates into medieval camping events. Roman bathhouses supplied soap and towels, but SCA showers do not.

So the members of the Society have come up with ways to make our bathing kits look period. I found a nice wooden bucket at a yard sale, and I keep my bath supplies in it for events. Baskets from thrift stores also work well. If you are concerned about displaying modern containers, a washcloth tucked over the mundane items can maintain the medieval image.

Some Society members prefer to grab their bathing supplies and throw a towel over their shoulder, but many would prefer not to put on and take off several layers of clothing.  A compromise has given rise to the bathing chiton, an interpretation of early Greek garments made from bath sheets. This is my bathing chiton, and I have pulled the front open to show that there are actual arm holes concealed behind the towel drape.


In my post about Forms of Greek Dress, I discuss how the dorian chiton is made from two pieces of fabric buttoned or sewn together. A Bathing Chiton is sewn at the shoulders and sides, with an extra bit of fabric over the chest. In the diagram below, the left image shows where you sew the seams, and the right image shows the location of the seams when you wear the garment.ShowerC

I have not yet seen a man wearing a Bathing Peplos, but the concept is the same.


Only Hit Your Enemies: What is Heraldic Conflict?

In my post choosing your heraldry, I mention Conflict Checking. Because Heraldry is the oldest form of Identifying Friend or Foe on a battlefield, each fighter’s Heraldry needs to be different from every one else’s. (If you haven’t chosen your heraldry yet, don’t worry. Many local groups and households will provide tabbards. Every fighter in the East Kingdom is permitted encouraged to display the Northern Army Star at inter-Kingdom wars like Pennsic. Your local Knight Marshall can help you with the appropriate insignia for your group.)

When you sit down with a Consulting Herald to design your heraldry, you must make sure that there is at least one Substantial Change or two Distinct Changes between your design and what is already registered.

What does Two Distinct Changes mean?

The images below are my registered heraldry on the left, and the  Order of the Silver Tyger on the right. The Order of the Silver Tyger is the East Kingdom’s newly created Grant of Arms Award for Heavy List. The one Difference between my Lioness and the Silver Tyger are the wings on my cat. (The Tyger’s red tongue is a minor artistic detail and does not differentiate between the two felines.)


When The Order of the Silver Tyger was created, the entire East Kingdom had to request my permission to conflict with my registered Heraldry. If I had not given written permission allowing the Silver Tyger to be registered, the Kingdom Award would not have passed. Herald’s Point does not care about your age, gender, or rank within the Society. If an item is Registered, only that person can decide if they will allow another device to conflict with theirs.

To show the difference between one Distinct Change and two, here is my Lioness beside an Orle-less Tyger. Removing wings and the orle border creates two Distinct Changes between my Registered  Heraldry and the Silver Tyger award.