These kit guides aim to describe the sort of clothes worn by typical Anglo-Saxons, Vikings and Normans in England, plus some of the artefacts they used in combat and everyday life.
The best books for people interested in clothing are Thor Ewing's Viking Clothing and Gale Owen-Crocker's Dress in Anglo-Saxon England. Cloth and Clothing in Early Anglo-Saxon England AD 450-700 by Penelope Walton Rogers is very good at a slightly earlier period. Kevin Leahy's book Anglo-Saxon Crafts is a great resource for a variety of authentic crafts and techniques, and for quick advice on specific craft techniques, eHow can be very useful.
- An introduction to male kit
- An introduction to female kit
- An introduction to religious kit
- If you're interested in Religious Kit, you'll probably also want to read our page about playing one of Alfred's Nuns.
- Bling! Rings, brooches, torcs, pendants, strap ends...
- For more general background on clothing and textiles in our period, see Carolyn Priest Dorman's website (offsite); Ravenstead Household (offsite) also have a long list of kit-related links suitable for Vikings.
Clothing and textiles
Basics & Techniques
- Cloth: what should I use?
- Making cloth: preparing fibres, spinning & weaving
- Sewing stitches: see Jennifer Carlson's list of stitches (offsite) and Heather Rose Jones's website about archaeological sewing (offsite); the latter is especially useful for its guide to hemming.
- Tablet weaving
Patterns & Guides
- Tunics, kirtles, kyrtles, dresses & serkr
- Trousers, breeches, Thorsbergs, Rus pants, hose & puttees
- Peplos-gowns, suspended dresses, smokkr & hangerocks
- Cloaks, ponchos & shawls
- Hats, hoods, caps & wimples
- Coats and kaftans
- See also this guide to making a dressmaker's dummy for next to nothing (offsite).
Archaeology of textiles
The following websites deal with Dark Age fabric crafts in general. They may be useful for several techniques and for finding out about authentic tools and methods.
- The textiles in the Oseberg ship by Anne Stine Ingstad (offsite)
- A new theory on the costumes of the Oseberg Queen and her attendant (offsite)
- Bibliography of Sources for the Construction of Viking Garments By Carolyn Priest-Dorman (offsite)
- Textile Resources for the Re-enactor from Carolyn Priest-Dorman (offsite)
- Anglo-Saxon Textiles in the Mayer/Faussett Collection (pdf, offsite)
- Searchable database of Anglo-Saxon fabric finds in the UK, from the Archaeology Data Service (offsite)
Weapons & Armour
Armour and protection
- Armour Overview
- See also The Armour Archive (offsite).
- Leather Armour
- Padded Armour
- Padded kit guide
- Padded Mittens
- Typology: Which weapons are authentic
- Re-enactment blade buying
- Caring for edged weapons
- See also:
- Working with leather
- Leather Armour
- Books and bookbinding
- See also: The Archaeology of York 17/16: Leather and Leatherworking in Anglo-Scandinavian and Medieval York (offsite, pdf)
Metal, Wood, Bone, Antler and Glass
- The Archaeology of York 17/14: Finds from Anglo-Scandinavian York. PDF from the York Archaeological Trust listing lots of amazing finds (offsite)
- Working with Bone (offsite) An article from Frojel Gotlandica
- How to make a wooden spoon, the Viking way (offsite)
- Woodworking in the Viking Age from the Viking Answer Lady (offsite)
- Alleycatscratch.com (offsite) is the home of some chaps who research movie costumes. Their Lord of the Rings section has many useful articles on topics including leatherworking, jewellery making, casting buckles… you get the picture. Obviously most of what they make will not be in period or anywhere near authentic, but a lot of the techniques they explain will be really useful for making authentic kit.
We have not made our own tents, but we recommend the following links:
- Ravensgard has a marvellous page on the surviving Viking tents (offsite)
- Ydalir Vikings provide instructions for making a Geteld tent (offsite)
- This pdf from Hurstwic explains how to make a replica of the small A-frame tent from the Oseberg ship.