Påsbyxor aka “Viking Rus Pants”: simplified modern construction

fearghus_in_brownThis pattern is for a 3x-4x man. These require ~4-5 yards of modern width fabric (You can squeeze them out of 4 yards if it’s at least 52″ wide, otherwise, 5 yards). I’ve made them with medium to heavy weight linen. I think these would also work well made from light to medium weight wool.

rus_pantsWaist band: 70″x3″
Lower legs (make two): 20″x16″
Upper legs (make two): 70″ x 33″ (cut according to pattern)
Ties (optional)(attached at the back of the leg on the lower leg portion) are 3″x35″

These can easily be sized up or down. I’d leave the upper legs the same fullness. Change the waistband to be waist size +5 inches. Then simply re-draft the upper-leg crotch arc to match the rise of a pair of jeans that fit. Then shrink the width of the lower leg so that it’s just wide enough to go around the calf at it’s biggest measurement.

These can be made without a waist-band. In that case I’d add ~3″ to the top of the upper leg pattern and roll that over to hold the drawstring. In practice I’ve found that the pants are more comfortable (and easier to manage in the priv) if they include the waist band and pleat the pant legs into the waist band. The pleating also has the potential of hiding a pocket if you want to add one.

You could probably update the pattern to make the legs from a single piece of fabric by extending the leg down another 14″. That would actually eliminate some of the pleating and make these a bit easier to sew.. but as it is, the lower leg piece is precisely sized to exactly fit around My Lord’s calf. This means that even without wickerbander he can keep the pants at knee level. Regardless, please yourself.

In sewing this together I have used french seams (1/4″ SA and then 1/2″ SA) to limit the amount of surface stitching seen on the garments. You could do this with flat-felled seams.. or I suppose you could surge it and then sew it together that way. Please yourself.

Note that the front of the upper-leg piece is 2″ shorter than the back and is cut at an angle.

from_the_backHow I put these pieces together:
1. French seam each lower leg piece into a tube (10″ wide by 16″ tall).
2. French seam the upper legs together front and back(marked in RED on the pattern). This is the rounded “crotch” seam. Make sure you’re seaming the right front to the left front.. and the right back to the left back.
3. French seam the upper legs closed (marked in BLUE along the length of the leg, up one leg and down the other). Press the crotch seams in opposite directions.
4. Line up the lower leg with the upper leg so that the seam is on the back of the leg. Using “divide and conquer” starting at the back seam, knife pleat the upper leg to fit the lower leg. Push the knife pleats to one site (I like to go one way on one leg.. and the the opposite on the other leg). French seam the pleats in place. This also attaches the lower leg to the upper leg.
5. Hem the lower leg.
6. French seam the waist band ends to make a ring.
7. Add two button holes in the front inside of the waist band. I add these on either side of the seam. These holes will be used to pull the drawstring out of the waistband so you can tie the pants tightly on the inside of the pants. Alternatively you could add belt loops.
8. Line up the seam on the waist band with the center front of the pants. Divide & conquer knife pleats around the waist band. Press the pleats towards the center back of the pants (allows for hidden pockets if you want to add them). Enclose the waist band (Honestly I haven’t figure out a good efficient way to do this that doesn’t leave raw edges inside for the drawstring to tangle. I’m still experimenting.).
– Currently I:
Line up the waist band so that it is inside the pants offset from the top of the pants by your seam allowance
Sew the first half of a flat-felled seam to attach the waistband to the upper leg, fixing the pleats in place.
rolling the flat felled seam towards the outside of the pants.
Add the raw edge of the waist band into the second half of the flat-felled seam. Sew this down. Be sure to tack down fabric from both the rolled edge and the folded edge of the waist band.
9. Add the drawstring to the casing. (the drawstring is in black is SKU 070659556739 from Jo-Ann’s)
10. Wear pants.

See also:
Påsbyxor aka “Viking Rus Pants”: Background and Research

Quick&Dirty Braies (well, ok. Not -dirty- but you know what I mean)

For literally YEARS I’ve been meaning to make some braies. Now, finally I figured out a pattern and got a chance to wear my test pair at an event last weekend. In a word.. they’re made of win.. in two words.. win and AWESOME!! Seriously. I will never go to another event without braies on.

These take almost two yards of 58-60″ wide linen and 2 yards of drawstring (I use a flat cotton tape).

The legs are 40″ wide and have selvedge at the bottom edge. Yes, I have big thighs. Shut up. The height of the leg pieces is half my fabric width.

With this pattern the seam for the legs ends up in between my thighs.. but I totally don’t notice it.

  1. Attach the gusset to the legs. I’ve tried it with flat-felled seams and french seams. I find it easier to do with french seams.
  2. Roll and hem the top edge of the braies (~1/4″) to keep them from fraying.
  3. Add three large eyelets at the top edge (marked in RED on the pattern) offset down about 1″ so that they will end up on the outside of the braies when the self casing is added.
  4. Roll the top edge of the braies to make the self casing(~1/2″).
  5. Feed the drawstring through the center eyelet and insert into the casing. When you have the drawstring completely inserted you should have both ends coming out of the eyelet in the center front of the braies. Tie a knot in each end of the drawstring so that they will not be pulled back inside the casing.
  6. Pull the drawstring until one of the knots is just barely sticking out of the front eyelet.
  7. On whichever side you’re working, push any bunching of the casing past the side eyelet. The casing and drawstring should be taut between the center eyelet and the side eyelet.
  8. Pull a loop of the drawstring out of the eyelet that is on the side. Pull the loop from the back of the braies (leaving the drawstring between the side eyelet and front eyelet long enough that the front knot won’t be pulled back into the casing). Tie an overhand knot in this loop of drawstring.
  9. Do the same to the other side.

You should end up with knotted loops sticking out of each of the side eyelets.. and the ends of the drawstrings (with knots) sticking out of the front eyelet. The casing between the side eyelets and the center front eyelet should not be bunched up. The casing across the back of the braies, between the two outer eyelets across the back of the braies should be bunched up.

These knotted loops will make the braies easier to wear. It will also cut down on the length of the drawstring that you need to hold the braies up. Added bonus: if you wear chausses, tie the chausses to the side loop to keep them from falling down.

[Edited to add:]
Someone asked me: Do they have to be white linen?
Answer: Technically, no. You can make these whatever color/fiber you want to make them. Medievally though, I don’t have any examples in any color besides white/natural. So.. please yourself.. but if you want to match medieval images, stick to either white or natural.


An eyelet finished with button-hole stitched. The eyelets are nearly the size of the tip of my pinky finger.

An eyelet with a loop coming out of it.

Front of braies with loops and drawstring in place.

Pennsic Sewing List

Pennsic is coming. This will be my second Pennsic and I’m in a much better frame of mind this year.. so I have projects that I want to get done for Pennsic. I’m responsible for myself, Fearghus and Tony. Tony is a friend of ours who has never been to an SCA event so I need to cloth him head to toe.

With only 6 weeks to go I think I have an overly ambitious to-do list. Ah well.. I’ll make progress where I can.
Pennsic happened. I got more done than I expected.
Continue reading Pennsic Sewing List

Blue and White Byzantines

For 12th night January 2010 Fearghus was supposed to wear Byzantines. Instead we attended a wake and memorial.

Anyway, because we didn’t go to 12th night I actually took alot more time finishing this garb.

Blue linen with woven appliqued clavi.

white linen tunic with gold/white thin trim

I used the “Feaghus Sized” patterns from my QnD Tunic patterns and just modified the undertunic to have “tight” sleeves.. and the overtunic to have 3/4 sleeves.

Ideally the white and the blue tunics will be worn together. I actually don’t expect that to happen too often. Two layers of linen may cause my honey to spontaneously combust. So, with that in mind, the white “undertunic” is decorated -enough- so that it could be worn as a stand-alone over tunic. C’est la vive.

My camera seems to have injected a lot of red into the picture of the blue tunic. The linen isn’t NEARLY that purplish and the clavi are gold on a black background.

I’ll update this post once I have pictures of him wearing the tunics 😀 Anyway. Moving on.

Quick&Dirty Tunic Construction


Here’s my instructions for assembling a tunic with flat-felled seams. As with most hands-on things, this works much better in person. Please feel free to email me if you have questions or if I’m unclear.
Sylvie (sylvie@fibergeek.com)

Continue reading Quick&Dirty Tunic Construction

Quick&Dirty Peri-oid tunic


This is my pattern for tunics, chemise, dresses. Whatever. Medevial-oid and tons better than a T-tunic or some silly “trace around your t-shirt patterns”. Sometimes called an R-tunic or “rectangular tunic.”
This pattern uses gussets and gores. Love love love gussets and gores.
I started with a pattern from a period garment that placed a gore in the middle of the front panel. I hate placing a gore in a slit in the middle of a panel. I always end up with an ugly pucker at the point. So I experimented with leaving it out. Viola, Sylvie’s QnD Peri-oid chemise. This has since evolved into Sylvie’s Dress, Nate’s Tunic, and Fearghus’ Tunic. Patterns not drawn to scale.
All evolutions have been made by me.. they seem like logical steps and end up with a better fit for my Medieval family.
-I- sew these together with a machined flat-felled seam. A how-to is posted here: “Quick&Dirty Tunic Construction“. I suppose you could use french seams.. or false-french seams.. but flat-felled seams are just so perfect. It just falls together in a way that really appeals to my inner type-A personality.

Continue reading Quick&Dirty Peri-oid tunic

Quick&Dirty Peri-oid pants

This is it. This is my instructions for quick and dirty peri-oid pants that seem to fit everyone. Granted, I’ve only made about 4 pairs of these.. and each time I make a pair the pattern evolves a little bit… but they’re getting close to passible. They’re tons better than sweats and jeans.

Continue reading Quick&Dirty Peri-oid pants