Sylvie’s conjectural 6th century Kentish Anglo-Saxon tunic
Dress Style III(in the picture) is described as “a garment with a vertical front opening clasped by two brooches, one at the throat the other centre-chest, and worn with a buckled belt.” For ease of reference I’m referring to this at “the tunic”.
The image shown left is from page 190 of “Cloth and Clothing in Early Anglo-Saxon England”. It is a bit misleading since it seems to show some kind of trim along the front opening of the garment and at the wrists. So far evidence points to this not being the case. Or rather I cannot find any evidence of tablet weaving (or other trim) at the neck/front opening.. and I can’t find any evidence of anything at the wrists.
Details to include:
– Gold linen (because it’s what I have set aside in my stash)
– No shoulder seams
– Longer than floor length. I’ve decided I don’t like the look of my tunics which are 3-4 inches above floor length (which usually happens when I cut them from selvedge to selvedge and add a shoulder seam).
– Split down the front with a 1/4″ rolled hem on each side of the front opening.
– Buttonloops as seen on Kentish finds (more on this in another post once I get to work on them)
– ~1/4″ rolled hem at wrists and neck opening
– Gore in center front and center back (for symmetry) as well as split gores on the sides.
– Sleeves loose enough to push up to my elbow.
I’ve looked, believe me I’ve looked. So far the only contemporary tunics where I can find enough information to infer a cutting pattern has been from the Bernuthsfeld Man (Wikipedia article in German) and burial clothing worn by Arnegunde (Queen Aregunda of Thoringia circa AD 500-561) or Bathilde/Bertille (Saint Balthild of Ascania circa AD 626-680). The Bernuthsfeld Man’s tunic is odd to say the least and I hesitate to use that as an example of a “normal” tunic. The only other published pattern I can find is for Bathilde’s Kaftan (the over jacket) which I may use for the “Frankish coat” but the pattern is not appropriate for this tunic layer. So instead since there’s currently no better option I’m going to base my cutting pattern on my tried-and-true tunic pattern (Quick&Dirty Peri-oid tunic: Sylvie’s Dress Pattern) with a few tweaks. First I want to cut the front/back in one piece, poncho style, and eliminate the shoulder seams. It seems that shoulder seams were a later evolution (10th c?) in tunic making. Second, my original dress pattern is actually very baggy there’s at least 8 inches of excess fabric there. With having the front slip opening I think I can and should make the tunic more narrow. In thinking about how to create and finish the front slit it occurs to me that it’d be easier to do if there was a gore inserted at front. So I’ll do a rolled hem on either side down to the point where a gore is inserted. Easy Peasy.
Lastly, because I’m wider than the average medieval woman I want to nip in the shoulders to bring the shoulder seam to my shoulders instead of how it normally sits 3-4 inches down my arm (because I can). This is for my own comfort.
This new cutting pattern takes about 4.5-5 yards of at least 57″ wide fabric.
In researching the tunic layer I’ve come across a couple of references to some truely spiffy button loops used to hold the button brooches on either side of the front opening (at the collar and bust level). I think this topic deserves to be it’s own post (and I’m not yet done working on them) so I’ll post more about them later. That said, this tunic will have spiffy kentish button loops.