Ms. Mannequin: As A Paper Doll Viking!

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Today’s Printable Paper Doll Inspirations:  Vikings… Yeah, That’s About it

Historical viking clothing for the Ms. Mannequin paper doll series with shoes and stockings. Free to print in color or black and white.

I think it was last year that I did a ton of research on Viking clothing and even wrote up a lot of what I found on this article. Later, my Viking B&B paper doll went a bit viral on Facebook which I had to have other people tell me about, because I don’t have a Facebook page. On occasion, I do think about making one for the blog. Is that something people would like?

Anyway, I took a long look at my goals for 2016 that my patrons helped me come up with. Doing more historical clothing was a part of those goals, so I have decided to dabble in viking clothing once more. It is hard to assess those goals, because I wrote them when I was still posting paper doll sets and I am not doing that anymore. Still, not posting sets has really opened up the options for doing just one of something which is why I have drawn (though not yet posted) my first 17th century piece ever.

Back to the paper doll dress, this is a Viking clothing from around the 10th century. So, she is wearing a shirt, or serk, under an apron-dress, or smokkr. Serk fragments have been found both pleated and unpleated. I chose an unpleated version. She also wears an apron over her apron-dress. In my outline of Viking clothing, I mentioned that Ewing, in his book Viking Clothing published in 2006, discusses a theory that sometimes one apron-dress was worn over another apron-dress. I have illustrated that style today.

I will openly confess that the Ms Mannequin paper dolls have a very modern pose, so drawing historical clothing for them for the first time was a little surreal. I might stick to vintage looks from this century in the future for them.

So, what do you think about today’s foray into Viking dress? Do the Ms. Mannequin dolls need more historical clothing? Let me know what you think.

Need a paper doll to wear today’s outfit? Pick out a Ms. Mannequin Paper Doll Here.

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.

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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.

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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. 🙂

Marisole Monday Visits the 10th Century

anglo-saxon-logoIt’s a Margot paper doll this Monday, the first for the new year, I think, and she’s sporting some stylish garb from the 10th century. Yesterday, I posted a pretty long ramble about 10th century Anglo-Saxon women’s dress and if you’re interested, I recommend reading that as well as this post, since the two rather go together in chronicling the epic research adventure this paper doll was.

One of my January drawing winners, Gwendolyn, who asked for this paper doll has been very kind as I slowly did my research and then set to work on drawing the set. I won’t pretend it hasn’t been both stressful and time consuming, because it has, but I am utterly pleased with the outcome and I hope she is as well.

Gwendolyn wrote me that:

I have actually thought a little bit about what I would choose if I ever won, so I can tell you now that I am interested in a Marisole-family doll, who is 10th century Anglo-Saxon. I would love a set or two of daily clothes, but I would also love a maille shirt and helm.

Speaking of the maile shirt, it is based on Anglo-Saxon finds in York and the helm is also based on the same thing. As women didn’t wear maile, I didn’t spend a huge amount of time researching the historical accuracy of such a garment. Personally, I’ll confess, armor doesn’t get me going like clothes do.


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So, let’s talk about the clothes. As I explained yesterday, 10th century Anglo-Saxon’s women dress consists of several layers of clothing. To begin with Margot (our Anglo-Saxon model with a French name…) wears a pair of leggings with windings around the calves and shoes. The shoes come from Anglo-Viking finds in York dating from the 9th Century. The windings around her calves are based on an illustration from the manuscript Psychomachia (British Library MS Additional 24199) which shows a barefoot women on horseback. Sadly, the manuscript hasn’t be digitized, but there is an illustration in Owen-Crocker’s Dress in Anglo-Saxon England. There is no way to know what the top of such leggings looked like. I made them like this so they could be worn with the maile shirt.


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10th-century-anglo-saxonThe shift’s neckline is based on an illustration of a male farmer’s tunic illustrated in Tiberius B v calendar (British Library MS Cotton Tiberius B v, fol. 4r) and the sleeves are wrinkled as I discussed yesterday. The necklines of the other dresses are also based on the necklines of men’s tunics in the 10th century.

The veils are based on manuscript illustration, though I had added visible pins. Pins are commonly found from this period and it seems logical they were used to hold veils together. The green veil with broach is based on an illustration of the Virgin Mary from the first half of the 9th century (see Plate 1). The brown “poncho” is based on several illustrations and I discuss these cloaks a lot more in yesterday’s post.

Lastly, the embroidery on the red dress is not based on anything specifically. I wanted to use some patterns I found online, but they were far to detailed to easily make tiny enough to work as illustrations at such a small size. I did not include girdles as there is almost no published information on them and I didn’t want to just invent stuff. The colors used in these garments are based on the colors of the famous Bayeux Tapestry (which is not actually a tapestry, but that’s neither here nor there).

Well, I hope everyone has enjoyed the last two days in the 10th century. I certainly have had fun researching and I hope to do some more medieval period paper dolls now that I know more about the eras in question. (I think my next one will be 1300s, a little easier than 900s.)