CLOTHING PATTERNS & TUTORIALS
T- TUNIC TUTORIAL
13TH CENTURY TUNIC TUTORIAL
WIDE-SLEEVE GOWN TUTORIAL
EASY LACED GOWN TUTORIAL
OR GOWN TUTORIAL
EARLY HOOD TUTORIAL
WITH SHOULDER GORES TUTORIAL
SIDELESS SURCOTE TUTORIAL
Surcote Tutorial with only 4 seams
Re-enactors can use this pattern for a
working class surcote which isn't too big or too formal. Non-reenactors,
you can made out of silk and with a train and it's gorgeous for feasts!
This is an overdress and always has something with long, fitted sleeves
underneath. Make it from linen for day wear with higher sleeve holes
or cut away a little. Make it for feasts and formal events- it can be
cut away quite a bit to show off your fancy undergown.
You need: your fabric, pins, scissors and a cotton shirt for sizing.
Don't use a stretchy one as it can give a false sense of how it
will fit you around the bust because it will have a lot of give.
Your surcote won't have that, and it will be too small.
If you don't have a cotton shirt, get thee to an Op Shop and spend
$3 and get one that you don't mind cutting up. Make sure it's not
Lie your fabric flat on the floor unfolded.
Fold your shirt and your fabric in half lengthways. The good side
of the fabric is on the inside.
It doesn't matter if your arm goes off the edge. There are no sleeves
on this surcote, so it doesn't matter.
If your fabric is skinny, you will need to fold your fabric double
(two runs of fabric instead of a folded over piece) before you begin.
Your folded shirt matches the side with the folded fabric.
Fabric fold check! Your fold is on the left side. Your loose sides
are on right. Your shirt is sitting right in that corner ready to
mark out your surcote.
Marking out your pattern. This is not quite so terrifying as it
Always, ALWAYS cut the seams a bit bigger than you think you need.
You can always take a dress in but it's really hard to add pieces
in once it's cut. The bottom one will be longer at the bottom
so you have a train.
If you are doing a high sleeveholes,
mark higher where the sleeves are.
If you are making a sideless one,
mark your seam from the edge of your shoulder straight down to
your belly button and then curve out to your hip where the dotted
red lines are and then out to the fabric edge for the skirt. The
front width should be as wide as your nipples or a bit wider.
The back is wider.
You will need to mark out 2 of them. One for the front and one
for the back. You can cheat by cutting out one and simply tracing
around it to make the other one. The back one is wider across
your back, remember.
To get the size of your skirt, draw a line from the hip (the bottom
of the shirt) to the very edge of the fabric. The wider your fabric,
the more skirt you'll have. Your centre seam is as long as you
are to the ground. If you want a train, allow more. okay, start
Just double check again that the fabric is folded the right way
before you cut anything...
It should look like this...
Cut your new surcote out.
Unpin the sides now that your dress is cut.
It looks like this.
Unfold the surcote so you can clearly see your two pieces.
It looks like this.
One piece is thinner at the front across the chest and shorter at
One piece is wider at the back and longer at the bottom. This is
Unfold your dress altogether.
Swing one piece around 180 degrees so the shoulder pieces are touching.
Make sure your fabric is the right way out so you have the two good
sides together. When it's spread out of the floor, it looks like
The side you want to be the front is the one without the train.
Cut the neckline at the front a little lower. Just a little.
Remember, you can take more off, but it's really hard to put it
back on. Okay so now you have a front.
You will want to double check the front of your surcote is not as
wide as the back. Don't forget to allowing for double folds for
Pin the shoulders together, remember to double check the good
side of the fabric is facing the good side of the fabric.
You want your sewing on the wrong side, so the good sides face
Pin, pin, pin those side seams all the way from the hem to the
hip. Now try it on.
Once you're happy with the fit and you've adjusted your neckline,
sew your two side seams and you're finished!
Now is the time to trim the front of the surcote a little if you
want a really cutaway garment. Remember, you need to allow enough
fabric to do a rolled hem around the side openings.
If you want to fur trim, you can, but normally the fur trimmed
surcotes have gores and extra fabric, and there's another tutorial
which is almost as easy as this one for that!
can also line this surcote with a contrasting colour. All you need to
do is cut two of these together and sew them together. If you are doing
this, just be aware that sewing the armholes can be a bit perilous.
Do them one at a time. Do the neck seperately. Do the hem last of all.
ALWAYS pin and try on before you sew. It beats the heck out of unpicking
later on. If you just sew it all at once, you may accidentally sew the
surcote to itself and it won't turn back right-way out. I've done this.
It took forever to unpick.
Other variations include making a particolour surcote- that is one colour
on one side and another colour on the other side, but be careful cutting
out that your sides line up. One entire side should be all the way from
centre seam to back seam.
The photo here shows a particolour with heraldry on it. The is another
fabulous way to make a very easy pattern dress up and look a bit more