2nd Place

Auð in the Wood



Nora Manca Wickman


(click images to to enlarge)

Other Credits

Photographer Neil Wickman

Outline the story …

Entry inspired by Auð Vesteinsdottir from The Story of Gisli the Outlaw: Gisli's Saga by Karen M.P. Carlson, Christine Haynie. When my cousin announced that she was going to have a Viking themed wedding, I knew that I would want to have an appropriate dress. Viking dresses had such clean, simple lines that it gave me the courage to start sewing, and I haven't stopped since. This is still the project of which I am most proud. I went from firmly believing that I couldn't sew, that any machine I touched would break, to having a completed underdress and dress in a few days between August 13-August 28. It fits me so well that I am not wearing any bra or other supportive undergarments in the photos!

My literary character is Auð Vesteinsdottir the witty, loyal wife from the Gísla saga. She tricks a man looking for her outlaw husband and then beats him up with the bribe money he tried to give her in front of his men which caused his men to leave him. She later fights by her husband's side in the final fight. In my photoshoot, she is sneaking out to meet her husband in his hiding place under the pretence of gathering wood and herbs.

In the photoshoot, I am wearing a real Viking wedding ring on my ring finger that I bought as part of a paired set to give to my cousin as part of her wedding present. The hair sticks are reproductions by SunCatDesigns of ones found in a Viking grave. I also used a scrap as a scarf in the photos.

Outline the construction…

The first thing I ever made was the underdress in unbleached cotton muslin following Annie Brahe's instructions: Viking Underdress Tutorial - How To Sew A Shift. I used a sewing machine and I used pinking sheers because I was nervous about fabric unravelling and unsure of how to stop it. I also watched Morgan Donner's tutorial on sewing gussets several times. The underarm gussets and getting the necklines correct were the hardest part requiring a late-night phone call to my seamstress-best-friend for advice.

Then I found some lovely red cotton fabric that looked like the type of wool weave that the Vikings were using. I was really excited to find this since it was much cheaper than wool while still being a thick, heavy fabric. I used this for the overdress and once again followed along with Annie Brahe's tutorial. I ran out of fabric for the gores and had to order it online, slightly delaying the finishing of my gown. I used my sewing machine for most of it but I did hand sew the hem with a whip stitch since an SCA page said that that's how they would have hemmed their garments.

I then got some bleached linen and used the water I had soaked black beans in, along with a small amount of alum, and used it to dye it a light blue. I decided to make this into a cloak instead of an apron dress due to fabric and texture.




  1. Avatar Sparrow on March 11, 2021 at 5:38 pm

    Sleeve gussets are the WORST. This turned out lovely, though!

    • Avatar Nora on March 25, 2021 at 12:53 am

      Thanks! They require way more 3D thinking than my brain likes to do.

  2. Avatar Jo Watson on March 11, 2021 at 6:09 pm

    Absolutely beautiful 🙂 I love the photos in the snow as well 🙂

    • Avatar Nora Wickman on March 25, 2021 at 12:55 am

      💕 Thank you so much. The weather was very obliging.

  3. Avatar Avery on March 11, 2021 at 6:46 pm

    Your poses are so expressive in your shoot, love it! This has a great fit, and that red is stunning! Great work!

    • Avatar Nora Wickman on March 25, 2021 at 12:55 am

      Thank you so much! 💕💕💕

  4. Avatar Laura Holland on March 11, 2021 at 8:53 pm

    Feel’s medieval- great job.

  5. Avatar Phanuel Jagna Levinsen on March 11, 2021 at 10:59 pm

    I LOVE THIS FABRIC SO MUCH! and it suits you so well too! This is stunning!

  6. Avatar Missy on March 12, 2021 at 12:07 am

    Oh I love this!

  7. Avatar Lindsey on March 12, 2021 at 12:44 am

    I love the neckline of this! Great job 🙂

  8. Avatar Rebecca on March 12, 2021 at 1:29 am

    You look great! Love your expression in the thumbnail– and the clever backstory. The fit on this dress is remarkable! It’s hard to believe you are new to this work. Well done!

    • Avatar Nora Wickman on March 25, 2021 at 1:00 am

      The YouTube video is very detailed and I think I had a good share of beginner’s luck and optimism. I’m glad I didn’t try to start with some of the Italian Renaissance looks I’d been sighing over.

  9. Avatar Elowen Blackthorn on March 12, 2021 at 3:56 am

    This is so awesome! Superbly fit, very well constructed, I need to make one now for the upcoming Winter here!

    • Avatar Nora Wickman on March 25, 2021 at 1:01 am

      Thank you so much! It is such a lovely, flattering style.

  10. Kitty Mortensen Kitty Mortensen on March 12, 2021 at 7:59 am

    Beautiful! It makes me want to do more medieval and viking dresses. Beautiful job 😀

  11. Avatar Nicola Taylor on March 12, 2021 at 6:15 pm

    Love it! Now I want to do more medieval clothes.

  12. Avatar Regina Finan on March 12, 2021 at 6:32 pm

    This is so lovely. Well done on the sleeve gussets and the fit of the dress, it’s incredibly well done. That colour is gorgeous.

    • Avatar Nora Wickman on March 25, 2021 at 1:03 am

      💕💕 Thank you so much! This is such a confidence boost!

  13. Avatar Anna Burns on March 12, 2021 at 6:49 pm

    I love this!! The color looks amazing on you, and the drape and fit are *chef’s kiss*.

    • Avatar Nora Wickman on March 25, 2021 at 1:04 am

      💕💕 Thank you so much! 💕

  14. Avatar Anasazi on March 12, 2021 at 11:17 pm

    This is so well-fitting and graceful looking. This silhouette is amazing and you should just wear this dress every dang day. It is beautiful. And who knew about the black beans! You’ve inspired me to try dyeing now, thank yoU!!! So so so so good!

    • Avatar Nora Wickman on March 25, 2021 at 1:07 am

      Thank you! Yes, I just did another dyeing project and intend to make a linen version of this because after seeing these photos I realized that this is the style that I should be wearing.
      I’m having a lot of fun (and driving my husband crazy) using food ingredients to dye fabric.

  15. Avatar BW on March 13, 2021 at 3:20 am

    Oh wow, inspiring! This lovely, you make me want to start new projects! The overall look here is fantastic!!! And i love your choice of colors

    • Avatar Nora Wickman on March 25, 2021 at 1:08 am

      Thank you so much!

  16. Avatar Whitney Carnahan on March 13, 2021 at 12:04 pm

    This is beautiful – and the movement and drape of the dress is amazing! You could walk straight into The Vikings!

    • Avatar Nora Wickman on March 25, 2021 at 1:08 am

      Aw! Thank you!!!

  17. Avatar Sarah Helgeson on March 13, 2021 at 3:55 pm

    Lovely fit, viking dresses are the best!

  18. Avatar Mia on March 13, 2021 at 4:03 pm

    Really beautiful. My favorite red! It does look ancient…

  19. Avatar Kate Worek on March 13, 2021 at 7:23 pm

    You look amazing! Love the colour!

  20. Avatar Deborah Melo on March 14, 2021 at 8:50 pm

    It looks stunning! The texture of the fabric is very good too!

  21. Avatar Valerie Meachum on March 15, 2021 at 12:48 am

    You did the thing! And it’s gorgeous!! So proud of you! <3

  22. Avatar Mónica on March 15, 2021 at 3:03 am

    Gussets and Gores! Achievement unlocked. Well done tackling these elements of sewing that can make even the most skillful sewist tear up.

  23. Avatar Audra Borders on March 16, 2021 at 4:39 pm

    The Swede in me is now wanting to make something similar.

  24. Avatar Joshua Graham on March 18, 2021 at 5:59 pm

    that fabric is such a wonderful color, and glad the cotton is thick – that snow must be cold!

  25. Avatar Alex on March 18, 2021 at 8:29 pm

    Very nice! Beautiful lines and beautiful fabric, a lovely ensemble.

  26. Avatar Benigna on March 19, 2021 at 6:16 pm

    That looks fantastic!
    I love the colors and the dress suits you really well!

  27. Avatar AnnaCatherine Sendgikoski on March 20, 2021 at 3:40 am

    Red and a light blue are used wonderfully here. I love how the dress flows on you. The cape is beautiful! Thank you!

  28. Avatar Laura Ingalls Gunn on March 21, 2021 at 10:40 pm

    Such a splendid job on so many levels. A great color. Bravo!

  29. Avatar Abigail Wietecha on March 22, 2021 at 4:29 pm

    So beautiful! I love the medieval look of it, and the key is a nice touch, it really suits the outfit! Great job!

  30. Avatar Carol Phillips on March 24, 2021 at 5:04 am

    Hail fellow dottir!! Hope that everyone at Viking wedding appreciated your accomplishment.
    Your method of creation is right on the money and suits you so well.

  31. Avatar Andi on March 25, 2021 at 1:10 pm

    This is lovely! And something like this may become my next project!

  32. Avatar Veronica Maria on March 26, 2021 at 3:56 pm

    I love your costume! The neckline is very nice, the fit and fabric are perfect, and everything looks beautiful!

  33. Avatar Rose Blixencrone on March 27, 2021 at 11:07 am

    The color and fit is so flattering. Not needing any undergarment support is the dream, makes you question why we wear metal under our bust line. Everyday??? Feeling inspired to try to make on myself!

  34. Avatar Nina Martin on March 29, 2021 at 11:23 pm

    Not only is this beautiful, but you look like you are having so much fun!

  35. Avatar Annick on March 30, 2021 at 5:39 am

    This is amazing. I love the bra-less fit, that’s a real goal. Also kudos for your character choice, Gísla saga is a great story!

  36. Avatar Tasha on April 2, 2021 at 8:12 pm

    Nicely done! Sleeve gussets can indeed be a pain, though all the construction is (IMO) a lot easier if you handsew. You could always do most of it with a machine and then stitch in the fiddly bits.

    Not sure if you’re aware, but the paired brooches would normally be worn with a garment commonly called an apron dress (or pinafore, or hangerock, or smokkr). I have a handout on making one style here: and feel free to ping me if you want to talk about Viking clothing. I will talk your ear off.

    You look amazing. Best of luck in the competition, and congrats on becoming a finalist!

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