Brooches and Smokkr: A Viking Paper Doll

A paper doll of a viking woman from the 10th century with two historical outfits based on the work of scholars in Viking dress in color. She also has shoes and historical accessories.In truth, we know very little about what Viking women wore, so that makes drawing a Viking paper doll sorta exciting (and scary). Unlike the 10th century Anglo-Saxons, the Vikings did not have a manuscript culture. Their art was generally metal work or stone carving and highly stylized. Making things more rather than less complicated, textiles rot extremely quickly in soil and those which remain in tact are often saved by their proximity to other materials such as metal, while metal breaks down it releases salts that protect the textile.

This means that what remains we have of Viking garments are fragmentary at best. While working on my Viking paper doll, I did my research, as always, and then made decisions based on my understanding of Viking garments. My understanding isn’t perfect. I am not an archaeologist, nor do I study Viking cultures extensively. My post Wednesday, Viking Women’s Dress in the 10th Century  covers my sources and what I understand about Viking garments.

A paper doll of a viking woman from the 10th century with two historical outfits based on the work of scholars in Viking dress in black and white. She also has shoes and historical accessories.

{Download a PDF of this paper doll to Color} {View a 150 dpi PNG of this Paper Doll to Color} {More Paper Dolls in the Bodacious & Buxom Series}
Though I came away from my research with the conclusion that there is more supposition than certainty in Viking dress research, I couldn’t be more pleased by how my printable paper doll came out. Her two apron-dresses or smokkrs over shirts were both designed based on the work of some excellent scholars. I chose a closed smokkr, because I agree with Ewing’s and Geijer’s views on the shape of the smokkr. I added an apron on one, based on the work of Bau and Ewing. To the other, I added pleats based on the reconstruction of a smokkr by Hilde Thunem. She has a key, a cup, a comb and a small knife. From the brooches on her left smokkr hang a pair of scissors, a small knife and a needle case.

Her shoes are based on finds at Viking York and her stockings and garters are based on the work of Ewing who argues that Viking men wore garters. I have no reason to believe if men were wearing them than women weren’t. Besides, Scandinavia is rather chilly to be wandering around bare legged.

A paper doll of a viking woman from the 10th century with two historical outfits based on the work of scholars in Viking dress in color. She also has shoes and historical accessories.

{Download a PDF of this paper doll to Color} {View a 150 dpi PNG of this Paper Doll to Color} {More Paper Dolls in the Bodacious & Buxom Series}
When selecting colors, I tried to be aware of what colors were known to be used by Vikings. There were several references to brown twills in the articles I read (sources here) and the Kostup find is known to have been blue. Her brown smokkr, or apron-dress, has different colored straps, because linen loops were sometimes used on wool smokkrs. Linen, unlike wool, doesn’t take dye very well. I wanted to make a nod to that practice. Both the serks or shirts, I left undyed in lighter colors. One shirt is pleated, as is found in many Birka graves, and one is unpleated. The paper doll has a hair covering as referenced in Ewing’s book, Viking Clothing.

I made my Viking paper doll blond really only because when I think of Vikings, I think of blonds. Perhaps an unfair assumption, but there you go.

As with my Anglo-Saxon paper doll of the same century, I strongly recommend reading my little article and then reading my sources. I would also caution that most of the research on Vikings is not published in English. Until more of the articles are translated into English, I did the best I could with what sources were readily available.

I know people have been waiting on this printable paper doll, so I hope the wait was worth it. I certainly am nothing but pleased with how she came out.

As always, if you like the paper dolls and want to support the blog than check out my Patreon. 🙂

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9 Responses to Brooches and Smokkr: A Viking Paper Doll

  1. Melody says:

    Pretty! I would totally wear these clothes!

    • Tina Gardner says:

      I wear my own Nordic-style shifts, linen or wool gowns, and smokrs every day that I am not at work because they are both pretty and practical. I also think I am just eccentric.

  2. Melinda says:

    Sure is cute!

  3. Yersinia says:

    She’s really pretty!
    I love that you included Hilde Thunem’s smokkr, I enjoyed reading her article very much!

  4. David Wilkins says:

    Modern underwear? Better than naked I suppose, but still, what would have really been under these lovely dresses?

    • Mary Schnibben says:

      David, just like a man to wonder that…lol – Actually, not very much, if anything. There is no evidence in surviving images or grave goods that Viking women wore anything under their shifts (or smokkrs) except for stockings, and very likely, a sort of loincloth *once a month*.

    • RLC says:

      She has the same underwear as all of the Bodacious and Buxom series do. My research into Vikings suggested that no one really knew what they wore under their shirts (at times, it seems nothing.) However, had I put her in a shift than she couldn’t share jeans, for example, with the other paper dolls in the collection, so standard underwear allows her to share with the rest of the paper dolls in that series.

  5. Robin says:

    Lovely doll! Her hair is rather short tho. Also, you have a note to clip on dotted lines, but none of your lines are dotted. 😉

    • RLC says:

      Well, her hair is back in a bun, so it wouldn’t be visible as the paper doll is facing forward.

      When the paper dolls have long hair, I add dotted lines along the shoulders to indicate that those lines should be clipped or when they have hats. Also sometimes to where the clothing, they need to clipped along where the hand meets the hip. Since she has short hair, those lines aren’t needed, but I like to leave the instructional text- I forget it if I don’t. 🙂

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