I made an underdress based on the one found at Pskov grave 3 and dated to the mid tenth to early eleventh century for HAH Alina, and since her measurements are similar, I used one for me as a mockup. The original is blue linen (indigotin dyed) with red-purple roundel patterned silk samite trim. This is grey raw silk with blue printed silk trim, chosen to suit the clothing plan for her impending reign.
Trim placement is based on the trimmed cuff of the extant garment and the longer matching silk band that is thought to be on the hem of either the underdress or overgarment. I have chosen to place it on the underdress.
The trim pattern is printed, which is meant to evoke the extant trim, which is a roundel patterned samite, cut without regard for the pattern. The printed design is based on finds of printed fabric from Chernigov.
My mock up showed me I needed a slightly higher neck and more width in the body. It is 60″ around, which meant I had to add an unlikely gore to be able to walk well; the 90″ circumference in the final dress for Alina is much better for movement.
Extant neckline. (Zubkova et al)
We don’t have enough left of the Pskov find to easily determine how the body of this garment was cut, nor even how long it was. What I can see in the extant neckline piece is a front opening, with gathers sewn into a neckband, and possibly a seam about where the collarbone would be. The sleeve trim band does show that the sleeve was tapered and straight, without a cuff or any gathering. The length was set at Alina’s preferred floor length.
I also looked at the depiction of the Dacian Slavs on Trajans column. Note how the pleats slant inwards.
I chose to construct this underdress by sewing the tapered sleeves to the rectangles of the front and back for a short distance, almost a raglan seam, with an armpit gusset providing the only shaping. All of the top edges were then gathered and sewn into the neckband. I selected this option because there is very little waste, the pleats point to the neckline, and the gathered/pleated edges are all on grain. Looking at the preserved neckline piece,there looks to me to be a seam about armpit area, but no diagonal grain. This construction matches this aspect.
The garment (the mockup is mine) is comfortable, drapes well, and only requires a small pin to close. Ties might also have been used. I will continue experimenting with the variety of sources for Russian underdress options. I was able to easily wear my version under my reconstruction of the Pskov overdress. I would make further versions with a higher neckline, as I did for Alina.
Eniosova, N. V. Исследование химического состава металла и техники изготовления украшений и бытовых предметов из камерных погребений Старовознесенского некрополя
Rushworth, David. A Handbook of Viking Women’s Dress: Ad 700-1200. Furulund: Handelsgillet, 2010.
Jakunina, L. J. “O triech kurgannych tkaniach” Trudy Gosudarstwiennowo Istoriczieskowo Muzieja, T.11. Moskwa, 1940, s. 140 inn, rys. 1-6
Zubkova, Elena S., Olga V. Orfinskaya, and Kirill A. Mikhailov. “Studies of the Textiles from the 2006 Excavation in Pskov.” NESAT X, North European Symposium for Archaeological Textiles. 2010.<https://www.academia.edu/23729219/Zubkova_E._Orfinskaya_O._Mihailov_K._Studies_of_the_Textiles_from_the_2006_Excavation_in_Pskov_North_European_Symposium_from_Archaeological_Textiles_X._Ancient_Textiles_series_Vol._5._Oxford_Oxbow_Books_2010._P.291-298>