Thursday, August 19, 2010

Rectanguar Construction: A Tunic Pattern - Part 3

Now that we have our measurements we draw the pattern out. Make sure that you have used the formulas I have provided on the measurements sheet to add in any seam allowances before drawing the pattern out. Nothing says heartache like working so hard on putting a garment together and discovering it is approximately six inches too small because you forgot to add seam allowances to your pieces.

I always draw the pattern right out on the fabric because I have done it enough to be comfortable doing so, but you can draw it out on paper first if that will help you to become a little more comfortable with working with the pattern.

1. Take the fabric and fold it in half across the width, then spread it out on the floor or other large flat surface.

2. Mark out everything as shown in the diagram below using chalk or marking pencil (or if you are not comfortable enough to do that yet, use butcher paper). Start from the left side of the layout by drawing in the body first, and then drawing in the sleeves. The side panels are drawn out of what is left of the fabric.

Cut out all of the pieces on the chalk or pencil marks.

(Image from

Don't worry about the neckhole yet, I will show you how to cut out the neck hole using the measurements (a) and (b) later.

One of the ladies from one of my previous classes actually took the scrap piece that comes from between the sleeves and the gores and turned it into a right nice little head scarf, by sewing the two pieces together down the long side, with some pretty embroidery and ties on it. She also used the scrap piece above the sleeves and gores for a facing in the neckhole on the garment, thus leaving very little waste fabric.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Tunic class online on hold

Sorry everyone. Due to my responsibility as the Chancellor for the Royal University of Meridies next weekend, I am not going to be able to get the next lesson online until after our Universitas event is over. I should be able to jump in with both feet after that.

I look forward to continuing on with this class and others starting Monday, July 19th.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Rectangular Construction: A Tunic Pattern - Part II


To make this garment you will need:

Fabric, measuring tape, yard stick, chalk or pencil.


These are the measurements needed:

Body: (NOTE: I usually use 1/2" seam allowance on all sides, but use whatever you are comfortable with using)

  1. Shoulder to floor - __________ + _________ (Seam Allowance) = _________
  2. Around fist - (_____/2) + _______ (Seam Allowance) = _________
  3. Over the shoulder to underarm (armscye) ______ + _____ (Seam Allowance) = ______
  4. Underarm width (usually between 6 & 10 inches on the average adult) (_____/2) + _____ (Seam Allowance) = _______
  5. Shoulder to Shoulder ______ + _____ (Seam Allowance) = ________ (NOTE: Measure shoulder point to shoulder point across the front and the back and use whichever measurement is the larger number)
  6. Arm length from shoulder (don't forget to bend the elbow) _____ + _____ (Seam Allowance) = _____


(A) Base of he neck from shoulder to shoulder _______ / 2 = _______ (Taken across the back of the neck at the base)

(B) Side of the neck from front collar bone to back (base of the neck) _____ / 2 = ______

To figure out how much fabric you need, take the total from measurement (1) and double it.

Using me as an example:

At the top of the shoulder, I am 56" from the floor; therefore, after adding in the seam allowance to measurement (1) I will need a piece of fabric 114 inches long. This is less than 3.5 yards. You can even use 45" wide fabric! But, the wider the fabric, the fuller your tunic hem.

I'll go over where to take some of these measurements in the next post as I want to add photos so I can show you.

Rectangular Construction: A Tunic Pattern

(Thank you to Mistress Vigdis Vestfirzka, CP of the West Kingdom for posting this pattern on her website and allowing us to use it.)

This class was developed as a means to give an easy and inexpensive (meaning you use less fabric) method for making undertunics and other similar shaped garments.

It all came about when I found a pattern that could be used to make almost anyone with any shape or size a tunic that would fit every time. Rectangular contruction of garments goes back as far as cloth weaving itself. It was a means of cutting the precious cloth, which took so long to weave, into garments while having very little, if any, waste cloth left over. It was also constrained by the width of the fabric itself. This pattern can be made from fabric as narrow as 45 inches wide.

You can find rectangular construction of garments in almost every culure. This form of construction is not restricted to any one time period. If you look throughout history you will find many instances of this method of constructing garments (i.e., Middle Eastern, Persian, Mongol, Viking, Rus, Anglo Saxon, Tudor, etc.) Even today, there are countries where this form of constructing garments for their traditional "folk costumes" of their culture is still in use.

The type of pattern we will be working with here has no underarm gussets and the gores are set in on the seams, unlike some patterns which will call for a slit to be made in the area the gusset will go in (i.e., front and back gores). This type of pattern is classified as a "Nockert Type 5" pattern, meaning there are no inset gores. More information on the Nockert classification system can be found here.

Going online with my Project

I've been wondering for a long time whether to put my classes online. I've taught most of them more than a few times which has allowed me to get some wonderful feedback from my students which in turn has allowed for some improvements to the class and teaching materials.

After posting the question to the A&S 50 group discussion list and receiving a positive response I have finally made the decision to start posting my classes to my blog.

All of my classes come with lots of diagrams. I start them out with a brief discussion on the piece, then give you a listing of measurements to take (usually no more than 6 to 8 per item), along with how to figure out the amount of fabric needed per item. I also include layout diagrams and step by step illustrations on how to construct each item. In this case since I am posting to blogs I will also include some photos to go along with the diagrams, so I will probably end up posting each class as multiple blog posts. Hope this won't be too much of an inconvenience, but I am hoping the photos will help to enhance what the illustrations are trying to impart.

A short listing of classes:

Rectangular Construction Related Classes:
  1. A "Nordic" tunic/undertunic
  2. Several Viking Women's Apron dress patterns
  3. 13th C. Women's clothing (a series of classes)
  4. 13th C. Men's clothing (a series of classes)
  5. Viking women's cap (Jorvik and Dublin styles)

Others classes:

  1. Introduction to Tablet Weaving
  2. Double face-Double turn Tablet weaving
  3. How to dress your fighter to the nines or the Well dressed fighter (to be taught in August at the Southern War College event being hosted by the Canton of Ironstone Springs in the Kingdom of Meridies)
  4. Viking Brooches
  5. Viking treasure necklaces
  6. Viking Men's clothing