The wool tunic was a common garment in the Viking world, and it provided warmth and protection from the cold. It also was a base layer for other garments. It was a very important part of the daily routine for Vikings, especially those living in the harsh Scandinavian climate.
The tunic consists of two parts: the top, which covers the chest, and the bottom, which provides freedom of movement. It is usually made of wool, though linen was sometimes used as well.
It has a belt that wraps around the waist, and it has no fly. The upper tunic was tight fitting, but the lower part is loose and fitted to provide freedom of motion.
They were worn with a cap or headgear. The caps were often made of wool or sheepskin and trimmed with fur. Some hats had ear flaps for warmth. They were also trimmed with leather.
A cloak was another outer garment that provided protection from the wind and rain. They were generally a long rectangular piece of wool click here. They could be very thick, and they were lined with contrasting color wool. They were sometimes fashioned into a hood to protect the face from the cold, and they were often embroidered with decorative trims.
They may have been embroidered with gold, and in some cases they were worn with an additional piece of armor or other gear, such as the helm, which protected the rider from airborne debris. They were also adorned with braids, which were produced using the tablet weaving technique, where many colored warp threads are woven between tablets of wood, bone or heavy leather.
The tablet woven braids were used for many of the decorative trims and braids found on tunics, including those around the neck opening. In these designs, the weaver rotated the tablets in a systematic manner to produce a colorful pattern.
Depending on the wealth of the wearer, some of these patterns were extremely elaborate. The cloak shown to the right is one of these, with a complicated pattern.
It is very likely that these cloaks were worn over a long tunic (called a bladakyrtill), which may have been made from a very dense material, such as linen. The bladakyrtill is described in the Fljotsdaela saga, and it looks very similar to the tunics shown on the right.
There is some evidence that women wore cloaks as well. They were sometimes made from silk and embroidered with gold, such as the one worn by Egill in the Egils saga. The cloaks were very expensive, and they sometimes were given to a woman as a gift or a part of a settlement agreement.
In some cases, a cloak was so long that it dragged on the ground as the wearer moved. In fact, Egill was dismayed when his son wore a cloak that dragged on the ground when he ran away from home (Egils saga, ch. 68).
Some sagas refer to long tunics that were not tight-fitting, or had no cuffs. They were called slaedur, which means “long” in Icelandic. The slaedur that Egill wore was probably very long, as it reached up to the shoulders.