Period Pattern ™ No.16
Tunics, c. 650-1310 A.D.
Includes 14 tunics for men, woman and children, with most parts being interchangeable, inc. chest sizes 16-54. These go particularly well with hoods from Period Pattern no. 23 and 102, hose from nos. 43 & 101, chemises from no. 90, capes from no. 92, and pouches and purses from no.93.
Tunics were perhaps the first style to spread throughout Europe, worn from Ireland to Russia, Scandinavia to Byzantium to Spain. They were worn by almost everyone, man and woman, peasant to noble, from Roman times through the 1300's. Many of the same variations are seen again and again, although a few appear to be limited to one sex or the other and woman's tunics or undertunics were always long. Tunics could be plain and somber, or wildly colorful; they could be made of plain linen, wool, or silk with metallic threads woven into the design, whatever the owner could afford and any sumptuary laws allowed. Class differences were shown by the fabric and decoration as well as the cut of the tunic. A nobleman at court might wear a long, full tunic of fine silk with jeweled embroidery, but his peasant would wear a short tunic of coarse wool while working in the field.
The rich could afford colors that the poor couldn’t, and many wool tunics worn by the poor would be the natural color of the sheep. Men would usually wear waist-length hose (Period Patterns™ no. 43 or 101) with their tunics, but women apparently would only wear stockings. Tunic sleeves were either cut full enough where they joined the body of the tunic to permit free movement, or gussets were inserted at the armpit.
In the first half of the 14th century the discovery that one could cut the armholes and sleeves curved where they met, thus achieving a better fit, spread relatively rapidly and caused some change in the basic style of tunics. With this change (not included in this pattern) the tunic continued to be worn, in a more or less modified form for another 200 years, especially among the lower classes. One version of the tunic evolved into cotehardies for men and women (Period Patterns™ 21 & 23).
Comments we've received on this pattern:
I can’t tell you how many fittings I’ve done on pattern #16, the tunics. I wore out my first one simply folding and unfolding the tissue. The second one I ironed interfacing on. I never cut them apart. I take the length & width & sleeve length. Every newcomer in the barony gets one. ( From Karen, the person who may be the person wearing the black and red tunic shown in Period Pattern #16.)
“I can’t tell you have often I’ve used the patterns. It is a basic simple pattern that I find very easy to use. The multiple lines can be somewhat confusing but that’s the only way to get all those sizes and variations in one pattern – that makes it a great bargain”.