From our vikings few textile has survived. But if the textiles are next to metal, jewellery or tools, some of the molecule from the metal will exchange the molecules in the fabric and we have a positive 3D print of the textile’s. So often over and under the tortoise brooches, on knifes ans scissors etc. there are many interesting found.


Backside of a tortoise broaches with pleated linen. Birka 9th c

There in quite some examples of pleated or corrugated fabric from the vikings. The long shift in I Birka has some fine pleating pleating in linen. 2-3 mm high.

In grave B517 is found pleating 2 mm high under the tortoise brooches AND on the scissor on the hip. That is very interesting because is shows that the pleating’s goes all the way down supremely.

Here is some other exsamles:

Scissors with textile. Birka 9th c


Pleating Vangnes Norway 10th c.


Pleating Køstrup Danmark 10th c.


Pleating Uvdal, Norway 13th c.


Also in jewelries, in many gold foil’s, on statues through times there are many examples of pleating’s.

And note: The pleating’s always goes to the ground 🙂

Gold foil from Helgö, Norway 7th c.

Chartre Catedral 12th c.


Pleating from Uvdal church, Norway. 13th c.


St. Helena 12th c.

The Technique

It has always been accepted that the parallel pleating was done with needle and thread, but I think experimental archaeology will prove that wrong.

The scissor in Birka, the golden foil’s, the stone carving and the jewellery shows that the pleating are going all the way to the ground.

When you have possibility to analyse the pleated textiles what you see left from the technique are the tiny small holes after the pleating thread. The pleating must have been made by a strong linen thread and removed after the fixing of the pleat’s.

The hole’s are always sitting between the same warp thread’s all the way. typical with 6-8 warp threads in between. Also the pleating threads follows one weft thread at the time.

That would take weeks or month’s to do one dress, but also impossible in the light available.- and waste of time.

Holes left after the pleating tread


Pleating technique.
The wool fabric with the red pleating thread. Properly hard spun linen.


If you instead when you weave the fabric.- plain or twill you add an extra heddle stock and  tor the pleating thread. That one you use every 1 cm and with a very strong linen thread.

In that way it is hardly any extra work to make the pleasing 🙂

Pleating on the warp weighted loom


When the weaving are done you can dye it. And it is important that you do that before you pull together the threads to avoid striped fabric.

Here I’m dying the fabric with madder. You can see the pleating thread’s,- the yellow ones.

Now you pull all the threads and draw the fabric hard together. The harder the better!

You can now slowly heat it up in water (in the dying wat if you still have it) and let it stay at 90 degrees for 3 hours. Take it up and let it dry two  days, and here you have it!

“Almost boil” fore 3 hours.


Pleating simular to Uvdal



The Køstrup apron dress. Smokkr. Denmark


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