This page provides an Ulfheðinn specific guide to creating soft kit for Viking reenactment. While the information is specific to Ulfheðinn it is based on the The Vikings guides and is a subset of advice and rules that would apply to a Viking mercenary band during the period (787-1066) in Britain.
Ulfheðinn Primary Kit
Your first set of clothing must represent the TYPICAL clothing of a Viking during period of the Viking incursions into Britain (787-1066). When creating your soft kit bear in mind that you must accurately portray the social class of your character. You cannot mix and match expensive jewellery or weapons and poor clothing for instance.
The Vikings Guide to Basic Kit
There are a number of guides for both male and female dress and for specific cultural types on the link below. These are official society documents. Please bear in mind that Ulfheðinn portray Norwegians and Danes during the period that the Vikings invaded England.
There is also s good basic visual guide to the differences in clothing by status here
http://www.aidan-campbell.co.uk/techniques.htm (Viking Costume at a glance)
Suitable Colours for Clothing
General Rules for Clothing
The following rules will cause an immediate fail on a kit check and will not be allowed on the field or living history area
Main materials are Wool and Linen with Linen being a richer material.
All clothing should be hemmed.
Violently bright modern colours are not allowed.
Women should wear cloth/braid belts not leather belts.
Cotton is not allowed (unless it looks like linen)
Kirtles should be unlined.
(Norse kyrtill) You should have an under tunic made of linen and over tunic made of wool (colours above). The under tunic should be un-dyed. It is useful to have a woollen tunic for colder weather and a linen one for hotter weather. (Wool and 30c heat is not much fun!).
Unless you are playing a really poor character all tunics should have braid at the cuffs and neckline.
Middle class to rich characters should also have braid on the bottom of the tunic. You do not need to have the same type of braid on each area (neck, cuffs, hem). Braid should be made linen thread or wool. Cotton can be used at a push but only if it is not obvious. If you are going for a drengr kit check then cotton is not allowed.
Iduna Crafts http://iduna-crafts.co.uk/ High quality braid, custom work available.
R.B.Sheard Braids http://www.creative-links.co.uk/Tablet%20woven%20braids.htm. Standard braid is very reasonable. Custom work available.
Both of the above suppliers are reenactors and supply authentic patterns. Please be careful when buying braid on Ebay as the designs and colours and not always correct.
The evidence for Western Vikings wearing wininigas or puttees is scant. These are more associated with Saxons and Eastern Vikings.
Since we are portraying Western Vikings wininigas should not be worn. If we are portraying Saxons however e.g. Battle of Hastings they should be worn.
The merchants listed below supply suitable period shoes. Please buy shoes rather than the higher sea boots. Shoes mean that you can portray both Viking and Saxon where Hedeby boots are specifically Viking. We also recommend you not skimp on shoes as they are the most vital part of your kit comfort wise.
Ana Period Shoes http://www.anaperiodshoes.co.uk/early_medieval_shoes.htm
Merchant of Menace http://www.merchantofmenace.co.uk/boots_and_shoes.htm
N.B. If your shoes come without a hard insert inside the shoe on the heel we strongly recommend you glue one in yourself. The heel will rapidly collapse with use if it is missing.
Period metals are copper, bronze, brass, silver and rarely gold. Silver is the premium metal for Vikings.
A rich chain is a Trichinopoly or Viking Knit chain. Normal oval or round link chains can be used.
Non Authentic Items
Troll crosses are completely inauthentic there is no mention of them in books dating from the 1800s let alone any archaeological evidence for them. According to this post here
http://www.pinterest.com/pin/417497827927288495/ they in fact date from the 1993 and are utterly modern.
Male jewellery : Suitable items include Penannular brooches for cloaks, money rings, arm rings , Thor’s hammers . Beads are typically female and there is rule that men can wear up to two beads on a thong usually either side of a Thor’s hammer. Male jewellery should be kept to a minimum.
A note on Thor’s Hammers
Thor’s hammers should be accurately based on an actual find either from a Norwegian, Danish or British context. Please note the period of the hammer as well. e.g. the Kent long hammer with ring and dot decoration would not be appropriate as it is too early. You also need to avoid overly high status hammers like the Skane Hammer or Odeshog Hammer
There is a list of images of genuine Thor’s hammers from various contexts below
There is a very good list of traders who specialise in Dark Age clothing and equipment here