So for a long time I’ve been hearing about the Eura dress. In the SCA it’s worn often times with a Viking apron dress besides the as a medieval Finnish outfit. The other great perk about this particular pattern is that there are no underarm gussets for kids to rip through. I’ll talk about that more in a minute. I have to get some history in first.
As a personal preference I dislike wearing things unless I have a basic understanding of the period in history from which it came. So when I set out to make this pattern I also started to gather up information. Eura is a parish in south-western Finland. The archeological find there is the largest in Finland and the estimate over a thousand graves were found and apparently they haven’t finished going over them still. I have a description of the richest of their finds below and the one that was most easily reconstructed:
“The richest grave found up to now in this famous burial place was discovered already in the summer of 1969. It belonged to a rather tall woman, who had died in the early part of the 11th century at the age of about 45 years. In addition to round buckles with knobs worn on the shoulders and another brooch to fasten the cloak, bronze chains, broad spiral bracelets and four rings, the deceased wore a necklace comprising coloured glass beads, twelve silver coins and two silver pendants. At the level of her waist there was an adorned bronze-plated knife sheath. Furthermore, her cloak and apron were ornamented with bronze spirals.”¹
So this particular costume is what most people I’ve talked to termed Late Viking. So it makes sense that there are a lot of similarities. Unfortunately most of the patterns for the under dress don’t include measurements though I was able to find one with measurement suggestions. You can see the pattern I followed below which I found here.² I kind of had to guess a bit but not nearly as I much as I though I was going to have to. The image above and to the left is from the same book I referenced above. There is one thing to note: if you are over a size 16 mundanely the layout to the left may not work for you. I wear a size 18 and this layout would never have worked for me. My gores would have been itty bitty. I like my under dresses to be not quite as fitted and with a bit more room in the skirt so had to modify the layout. It took me 2 and 1/2 yards of 52″ wide material to make the finished dress you see here. I have included my rather inelegant MS Paint line drawing of my own layout to the right.
The measurements are kind of vague on this form. For instance I have no idea what the author meant by the “shoulder” measurement and it’s not explained either. Also the author recommends that fabric of any width would work. I don’t agree and as I continue the construction of this dress I have to say that there is a maximum width to the fabric that can be used when laying it out the way I did since the folding method won’t work for a bigger girl like me.
I’m currently in the process of making the dress now and taking pictures as I go. I’ll post again soon with progress and show you what I mean.
1. Pirkko-Liisa, Lehtosalo. Ancient Finnish Costumes. Pg. 45. Helsinki, Finland: Suomen Arkeologinen Seura/The Finnish Archaeological Society, 1984. Viking Answer Lady. Web. 11 Apr. 2015.
2. Of Rowanwood, Jocelyn. “Court of Catherine & Jade.” Adventures in the SCA. N.p., 14 Oct. 2008. Web. 14 Apr. 2015.