The Finnish Iron Age Costume
My projects,  Sewing,  Weaving

The Finnish Iron Age Peplos and the Final Costume

The last part of my Finnish Iron Age costume is the peplos dress. Just like the original Greek peplos, it is a square garment that is fastened over the shoulders. In a typical Finnish Way, this peplos is made out of wool and the edges are finished with tablet weaving. I started making this costume last July and this it has taken me six months to construct. Now it finally comes together!

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The fabric for the peplos

I bought 1,6 m of un-dyed wool twill from Viking Age Clothing. I then used Nitor Yleisväri dye in red and brown to dye the fabric into the reddish brown color. For that, I needed a big 20 l pot and a lot of patience. To get a strong and even colour, the fabric needed to be warmed up to near boiling temperature while stirring the pot continuously. At the same time, I had to do everything carefully so that I didn’t felt the fabric too much! However, the dyeing worked perfectly and the colour was even and just what I was after. Despite the fabric shrinking a bit, it didn’t felt too much.

The dyed fabric for the peplos.

Still, unravelling the vertical edges for the tablet weaving took days. The horizontal selvedge edges were so felted and neat so that I only turned them once and stitched the fold in plave.

Finishing the edges with tablet weaving

To get a neat starting corner with no yarn tails, I moved my tablets to the loop-end of my warp. I held the beginning of the warp in place by a strong cord and started weaving. I took 4 yarns from the edge of the fabric, weaved them through the shed, turned the tablets, and then wove them back.

Starting the tablet-woven edge.
The weaving position.

Finally, the most comfortable weaving position for the edges was the traditional one. I pinned the fabric to my belt with a brooch and tied the other end of the warp to a band that I wrapped around my foot. I also abandoned tightening the weave with my shuttle after a while. Just pulling the weft close to the previous row did the trick well enough and without the shuttle, the weaving went much faster!

Below is the first edge after I trimmed the fringe. The second edge is still unfinished.

Tablet-woven edges.

Decorative bands

I still needed to add some decorations, so I found two nice patterns from the book Tablet-woven Treasures by Maikki Karisto and Mervi Pasanen. (Although, with the zigzag-pattern, I deviated slightly from the original pattern.)

Tablet-woven trims.

The band on the left has been woven with only two yarns on each tablet, except for the edges. This makes the band look the same from the wrong side as well, which is nice as the wrong side will be visible.

The Final Finnish Iron Age Costume

The finished costume has a linen shift, a red wool dress, the peplos, a clock, and apron and a linen veil. The wide belt holds the apron in place and I used a thinner belt to hang my knife. I also have the appropriate jewellery!

The final Iron Age costume from Finland.

I made some Iron-Age foot- and legwear last summer but they weren’t suitable for the amount of snow we have at the moment. Thus, I settled for these folk boots. I must take pictures with the Iron-Age footwear in the spring!

My Finnish Iron Age or Viking Age costume.

This outfit is very warm and I wasn’t cold at all. I didn’t even need the cloak as it was near zero degrees in Celsius.

The side view.

I really like how this outfit came together. Especially I like how the colours turned out. Despite me dyeing the peplos fabric and the cloak with modern dyes the result is something that could have been achieved with natural dyes as well.

Of course, one can always keep adding more items and jewellery and I probably will. But for now, I can say that this project is done for now and I can move into new projects and new eras on my costuming journey!

The previous posts that relate to this costume:

The shoes

The legwraps

The wool dress

The apron




Thank you for reading! What did you think about this project! See you soon with more historical costume shenanigans!


I am a mother of two. I sew, knit and create and blog about it.


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