Last night I helped my son Ryan finish up his wool Viking tunic. This has been a terrific learning experience. We went together to pick out the fabric (had to be wool for authenticity.) He made the pattern from historic sources and his measurements. I taught him how to pre-wash the fabric and straighten the grain, layout and cut the pieces. I then taught him the basics of using my Bernina sewing machine (winding the bobbin, threading the machine, stitch length, type of stitch, etc.) and then let him go about constructing the garment. We did one fitting prior to doing the final seaming, where I suggested we insert some gussets under the arms, to give him a more natural range of motion. When it was constructed but not hemmed, he asked if I could dye it… the color didn’t go as well with his under-tunic as he had thought. We did several samples to get the color where he wanted it (and because I don’t have a lot of experience with wool) and then I dyed the whole tunic.
We were down to the final steps, hemming and adding some authentic hand-woven trim which he had purchased. I think he really wanted me to do the hemming… but I got out a needle and thread, showed him how to do it, watched for a few stitches, and then let him finish it up. I did go ahead and topstitch the trim on for him.
What a wonderful way to be able to contribute to him. First, teaching him the basics of sewing and that he is capable of doing it. Next, letting him pursue his passion-not just allowing him, but supporting and encouraging him. Finally, being able to share this time with him… going to his event with him (yes, I’ll be in costume too) and letting myself be enlightened about how much this young man of mine really knows about the era and culture with which he is so entranced.
I still need to finish my Viking apron dress tonight, as the “Good Yule” celebration is happening on Saturday. I’m excited to be doing a Viking embroidery class at the event, particularly after getting to see the Bayeux Tapistry last June. More on that in the future!