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
Basic T-tunic Tutorial
Undertunic or Overtunic Pattern
The basic T-tunic for an early Norman
medieval gown is possibly one of the easiest gowns to make for the beginner
sewer and it looks nice made in a nice colour with embroidered bands
at the neck and sleeves and worn with a coloured belt and hood. It hangs
like a sack in a very unattractive manner until the belt is on, when
it drapes much nicer. If you pick a bright blue or green it is very
lovely! It also makes a very serviceable chemise or smock pattern for
underwear for most time periods.
Re-enactors use a slightly more complicated
pattern with underarm gores and a separate sleeve, but to make a slightly
cheaty one which uses less sewing and fussing, you can cut the top of
the dress and the sleeve all in one piece. This has extra gores to give
this a fuller skirt and a bigger hem so it's more feminine. Using gores
is a proper medieval dress-making technique and pretty easy as well.
There are no zips or lacing in this gown. It pulls on over the head
giving a lot of upper body room-to-move for active people and little
ones! Made out of silk or cotton velveteen (for non-re-enactors) and
with a train, it's gorgeous for feasts! You can make it without the
gores for an even easier gown.
You need: your fabric, pins, scissors and a cotton shirt for sizing.
Don't use a stretchy shirt as it can give a false sense of how it
will fit you. If you don't have a cotton shirt, get thee to an Op
Shop and spend a couple of dollars and and get one.
Lie your fabric flat on the floor unfolded.
Fold your shirt and your fabric in half lengthways.
If you arm goes to the edge of the fabric like the picture, HOORAY,
you can make this with very little fabric at all.
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 on the
left hand side.
Fold your long, skinny folded fabric again the other way so you
have one fold where your shirt centre fold is and one fold at the
top of the sleeve.
You should have your one piece of fabric folded in four with the
neck in the top left hand corner. At the top of the arms, there
is folded fabric. At the centreline of the shirt, there is folder
The loose edges of fabric are at the right and at the bottom.
Not sure what I mean?
Check the next picture to double check that you've folded it right.
Looking at it from a different angle to double check you've folded
your fabric the right way before you cut anything.
Your loose corners are at the bottom right.
Your corner fold where everything meets is at the top left.
Your shirt is sitting right in that top left hand corner ready to
mark out your dress.
(Sorry for the wonky picture.)
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.
Your pattern is based around your non-stretchy shirt. Because it
pulls on over the head, you need to allow extra room at the sides.
The underarm curves up and the sleeve follows your shirt to the
wrist, tapering a bit as you go so the sleeves is close at your
wrist. Make sure you are marking a little wider than you think you
need to allow for seams. You can pin in again to make it smaller
if you'd like to!
Your sleeve seam is on the fabric edge and doesn't even need hemming!
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. You will notice that you have room to cut an
upside triangle called a gore.
Just double check again that the fabric is folded the right way
before you cut anything...
... it should look like this...
all the loose corners are in the lower right hand side?
Cut your new dress out.
Unpin the side now that your dress is cut.
Swing the triangle gores around so it sits with the top of the triangle
gores at the waist and the bottom of the gore at the hem of your
dress like this.
Make sure you don't cut your head hole too large at this point.
Plenty of time to think about what kind of neckline you want later.
You don't need to sew any centre seam as it's on a fold.
Unfold your dress altogether. When it's spread out of the floor,
it looks like this.
Make sure your triangle gores are sitting evenly with the raw
cut side of fabric towards the raw cut side of the dress body
and all the selvedges on the outside of the dress. Now get to
work pinning those gores onto the body of the dress. Make sure
you pin the good sides together.
Depending on the size of the fabric you started with, the gores
may be a little big. That's ok. Start the top of the gore at waist
height. You will be able to trim the hem down later. (Or it you
want the hem to be as big as possible, just trim the top of the
triangle gore so it doesn't go as high. This can be a bit fiddley
for first-timers, so you might want to not do that.)
At this point, it's exactly the same
front and back. Choose the side you want to be the front and cut
the neckline 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.
The seam with the dotted line running horizontally through the
neckline is where you fold your dress now.
If you've folded correctly, you now have a dress which looks like
this. Fold your dress with the right side of the fabric facing
Pin, pin, pin those side seams all
the way from the hem, along the body, under the arms and down
Now very, very carefully check you can get it on over your head.
If it's very loose through the body, take the side seams in a
little. Try it on again. Still loose? Pin in again and try it
on. Remember, it will be a little loose so you can pull it on
over your head. Once you're happy with the fit and you've adjusted
your neckline, sew your two side seams and you're finished!
The finished product!
Your new gown will hang like a sack
a little at first, but don't be depressed. When you put your belt
on, it will pull in at the waist like it does in medieval manuscripts.
Add a pretty hood and pouch and you're all dressed!
This pattern also makes a very good undergown for the 13th century
gown, the wide-sleeve gown and a nice chemise as well.