Now that you have a nice, compfy pair of period
trousers, maybe you'd like something to cover your upper
extremities as well? I suggest the versatile, universal, and down-right
The T-tunic is so called because of its resemblance to that
letter when opened and laid flat, and has been worn by just about
every culture at some time or another. It's good for a starter
costume, as it may be converted easily into a garment fitting the
era you finally do choose to portray. The pattern can be adapted
to be short, long or anywhere in between, as full/narrow as you
desire, with long, short, medium, full, narrow, or even no
sleeves, with open or closed sides, as you wish.
Try your first one out of an old cotton (highly prized fabric
in the Middle Ages) or muslin bedsheet -- it is already broken in,it's
expendable, and it will drape well.
Find and write down these measurements:
Neck to desired length + at least 2"
Neck to crown of bust (2" - 3" below
center of armpit where bust is fullest)
Bust or chest at fullest +3" for ease of
Fold your fabric in half width-wise. Fold it again length-wise
Find the length from the neck to the crown of the bust
and mark on the fabric with tailer's chalk all the way
Find the chest measurement and divide by four. Mark this
point on the line you have just drawn with the chalk,
measuring from the center fold out.
Find the point from the neck to the desired length of the
garment and mark it. Now note the length from the line
you drew in #3 to the line you just drew. Draw a diagonal
line, according to your own desired fullness,issuing from
the armpit and ending at the edge of the fabric. Mark the
distance from the bust line to the hem on this line, and
round off the bottom edge as in illustration #1 or
straight down as in illustration #2.
Parallel the lines you have just drawn (which are your
seam lines) 1/2" out -- these will be your cutting
Draw a line issuing from the bustline-armpit intersection
across the fabric at 90 degrees or at an angle which will
provide you the desired fullness in your sleeves.
Parallel this line as well with cutting line 1/2"
Mark the point along the center fold which is 3"
from the top. Find the point on your shoulder where your
head, if not for your neck, would meet your shoulders,
and mark this point on your fabric. Connect these two
pints with an arced line. This is your seam line.
Parallel this seam line 1/2" closer to the edge of
the fabric, as before, for a cutting line. This will give
a neck hold which is a little wide, but which should slip
right over your head.
Cut out pattern, cutting along all cutting lines, open
the fabric -- you now have only two layers -- and stitch
along side seam and sleeve-seam lines.
Turn neck, faace edges, hem and wear. For longer sleeves,
simply and fabric to sleeve edges before sewing side
HINT: Turn raw edges of neck, cuffs and hem to the outside.
Press down and cover over with ribbon or trim. This is a very
period practice and it secures the edges, increasing the life-span
of your new garment while adding a measure of grace at the same