Norse Clothing Essay

1136 words - 5 pages

During the Viking era, men worn woolen tunics over trouser type leg coverings. There were at least two types of leg coverings: a wide, knee-length, baggy type and a narrow, fitted full-length type of trouser.
Several finds of trousers dating to the Migration Era at around 400 to 800 AD tell us that the narrow full length types of trouser were worn by the Norse way back then. A site at Thorsbjerg Mose in Denmark, trousers found more or less intact, had the sophisticated Migration Era that required three separate pieces cut for the crotch gusset alone. These trouser finds alone disprove any claim that early period garments worn by the Norse are simple and untailored. The leggings of the ...view middle of the document...

However, they differed in their side-seams: one type had narrow, slit sides, while the other type had was wider with inserted gores for fullness at the hems. Most were made from wool and some were even dyed. The sleeves on the smocks tapered at the lower arm, so at the wrists they fit fairly snugly and they could also be cut in more than one piece to achieve a more complicated taper.
Some of the smocks from the Birka, Sweden area had keyhole style necklines rather than Danish rounded ones. The front and back panels were cut in one piece and weren't sewn together with shoulder seams.
On top of the tunics worn, the Norser wore an overtunic. An overtunic at Evebø, Norway belonging to a jarl's was dyed blue, made of wool, and was decorated at the neck with tablet-woven wool bands patterned with animals in two colors. The overtunic also had silver clasps, however it is unknown whether they were cuff clasps or clasps for front of the overtunic. It is most probable that the clasps fastened in the front on the chest like a coat. However, the overtunics were not coats, as actual coats were worn on the outer layer as weather demanded.
There were two basic coat layer types during the Viking Era used by the Norse. In the most basic terms, there was the "jacket" and the "coat." The jacket was lighter and wrapped around without a fastening device, while the coat was heavier and buttoned.
Viking era jackets have been found in several spots in the Norse-dominated world and appear to have been a very old tradition. A helmet found at the Sutton Hoo ship burial site had human figures depicted on it whom were dressed in what look like bathrobes or large coats. This depicted coat consisted of a short tunic open all down the front with diagonal, overlapping flaps. Saxon graves in parts of England and Europe also have a coat layer of this design type that were ornamented on the lapel and down the front with gold-brocaded tablet weaving.
Fragments of a jacket found at the Hedeby trading site were made of plain 2/2 twill. Although incomplete, the jacket is believed to have been hip-length and trimmed with fake fur made of wool along the hem and down...

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