How to Sew The Viking Dress from Threads Magazine

I noticed that someone had searched for sewing instructions for the Viking Dress that was in the last issue of Threads Magazine (155). So I figured it out and have made this post with drawings made on Paint (please forgive the less than brilliant drawings).

I hope you'll forgive me, but I haven't included measurements. I would have done, but I thought I had better not, just in case it infringed on copyright. Sorry. Suffice it to say, the dress has to fit on you with ease, and you need extra width for the two straps. Seam allowances are included too.

Anyway, this is what the pattern looks like. Personally I think it looks like a fairytale castle now that I've coloured it in like this.

Your fabric will be in a single layer.

The dress is basically a tube divided into three with godets in the seams. One third of the dress is the front (in pink). The blue pieces labelled 'side back' are mirror images of each other. There are godet pieces: 3 full triangles (dark green) and two half triangles (light green). The brown strip is for two shoulder straps.

First, let's add the godets.

Since the dress is really three peculiarly shaped columns sewn together, we have to make the side/back columns whole. To do this, take one side/back panel and one half triangle. Matching the bottom and keeping raw edges even, stitch them together. Repeat for the other side.

Take two of the full godet peices (dark green) and sew one to each side of the front of the dress (pink).

Sew the remaining godet (dark green) to one of the side back pieces at the blue kick.

Now sew a zip down the centre back seam (as indicated by the red line - it's hard to illustrate such things when you are drawing using Paint) if you need one. Then hem the skirt, and hem the top of the dress.

Cut the straps strip in two lengthways. Fold one of the strips in half lengthways, RS together and sew across one end, and down the long end.

TIP: when you sew across the short end, have a piece of ribbon, thick thread or string at least an inch longer than the strap fabric, laying inside the strap with a bit of the end across the short seam' allowance. This way you can use the long end to pull the strap RS out. Note: I blew the picture up so that it was big enough to see properly. This isn't all of the brown section because it's cut in two and then each of the halves were folded in half.

Snip across the corner that is sewn, near to but not through the stitching. This makes the corner lie flatter.

When you have turned it RS out, snip off the pull and turn in the remaining end. Sew one end to the front of the dress where you want it to be attached, or to the back if you want the dress to fasten at the front like dungarees. Repeat with the other strap and try the dress on. When you have the straps in the finished position, mark it and take off the dress.

Cut the straps to the required length remembering to leave enough fabric to turn the ends in (to finish them) and to sew them to the dress or add buttons. If you are going to sew them there, about 1 inch (2.5cm) will do for turning in and stitching to the dress. If you want buttons, you may like to have a bit extra, depending on the button.

To finish the ends, turn them in  5 eighths of an inch (1.5cm) and stitch the ends closed, either by machine or with a slipstitch by hand. Now you can sew them to the dress. You can do this securely by sewing a square with an X in it like you see on bags. If you are using buttons and buttonholes, sew the vertical buttonholes on the dress part first, and then check the button positions on the straps. You can also use Velcro/hook and loop tape or strong snap fasteners to fasten the dress.

There are many styling opportunities for this dress. For a start, you can make it any length you want, you could add more godets, you can change the way it is opened by adding plackets like on a shirt, you can add trimmings and embroidery. Made in silky fabric it could make a lovely special occasion dress. You could even make this dress for a little girl! If you have any ideas, please share them below! : )

Until next time, happy sewing!
Sabrina Wharton-Brown
The Sewing Corner

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