So I'm back, briefly, because this is a better place to nerd out about sewing.

And I'm returning with a thread: How to make a Basic T Tunic, with no pattern.

Note that this isn't a specific historical style. It's vaguely along the lines of garments common to many cultures, but if you want to be specific you're best off researching features of said garment from the specific culture and time period you're interested in.


T tunic tutorial 

You will need for this phase:

A measuring tape that you can read easily.

Some bits of string or yarn, or some small coloured stickers, for marking some points on you.

Graph paper

Pencil and note paper for recording measurements

Optional - details of the fabric you want to use, specifically the width

T tunic tutorial 

First, you need to take some measurements. Be honest in them. T tunics aren't closely fitted anyway - you'll add ease to make it a more loosely fitted garment.

Speaking of that ease, it's easiest added by rounding up your measurements. I like to round to the next 5cm; for imperial users I'd say round to the next whole inch at minimum.

So, measurements, round 1!

T tunic tutorial 

Start with your centre chest. This is taken with the measuring tape parallel to the floor, across the fullest part of your chest (usually nipple level). Mark this line with some string or yarn tied around yourself, or stickers at this point on your sides.

Next, your waist. This is usually described as the narrowest point of your torso, but it's not always that easy to see. Instead, hold your arms outstretched and bend sideways - where your body bends is your natural waist.

T tunic tutorial 

Measure, and again mark this point also.

Next, your hips. This is the widest point around your butt and the top of your legs. Measure it, but don't mark it. Instead, mark the point where the tops of your hip bones are - called the 'high hip' or anatomical hip, sometimes.

Measure the width of your shoulder, from the base of your neck to where your arm starts. It's worth recording this for each side as it may vary.

T tunic tutorial 

Measure your biceps around, by holding your arm up with elbow bent and making a fist. You may also want to check if your bent elbow around is a bigger measurement than this.

Then, put your hand on your hip with elbow bent, and measure the length down the outside of your arm, from your shoulder to desired sleeve hem.

Only a few more! Remember those marked points?

T tunic tutorial 

Measure across your back at the marks you made while taking your centre chest measurement. (If that's not the widest point of your back, then measure at that point.)

Next, measure the distance from the top of your shoulder to your waist mark.

Measure again from the top of your shoulder to the desired hem length. Note as well if this is closer to knee-length or shorter, or if it's past your knees. (It's up to you!)

T tunic tutorial 

Almost done. Measure across the back of your neck, from shoulder to shoulder. Then, measure across the front of your neck at a comfortable collar level.

Alright. Now we're done with measuring.

Take a fresh piece of note paper. Note your seam and hem allowances first - I like to use 1.5cm for both, but it's up to you. You'll need to add this to all sides of each panel.

T tunic tutorial 

So, first comes your body panel. Depending on the length and width of your fabric, you can either cut this as one long panel, or two panels with a shoulder seam. We'll work this out later though!

The width of your body panel will be equal to half of your chest or waist measurement (whichever is bigger), plus 2 X seam allowances.

Or, as a formula - 1/2(chest or waist)+(2xSA)

T tunic tutorial 

Your back span measurement should come out to almost the same as the body panel width sans seam allowance. If there's a major discrepancy, you'll need to cut your body panel as two pieces with a shoulder seam; adjust the front and back panel widths accordingly.

The length of your body panel depends on how you're cutting it. If you're cutting it as a single piece, then it's double the shoulder to hem length, plus 2x hem allowance.

T tunic tutorial 

If you're cutting it as two panels, each panel will be as long as the shoulder to hem length, with a seam allowance at one end and a hem allowance at the other.

Your sleeves will be the width of either your bicep or elbow measurement (whichever is larger) and the length of your shoulder to sleeve hem measurement.

Now, remember how you measured the distance from your shoulder to your waist or your high hip?

T tunic tutorial 

Take that measurement, and subtract it from the body panel length sans seam and hem allowances. This is the length of your gore.

If your tunic is knee-length or shorter, use a gore width of 20cm (or equivalent). If it's longer than knee length, use a gore width of at least 30cm. (More means bigger hem, so it's up to you again.)

There's one more piece to note down. You'll need an underarm gusset on this pattern.

T tunic tutorial 

The gusset is a square or diamond-shaped patch of fabric inserted in the underarm to fill in the gap. Square gussets are an older and looser style; diamond gussets fit closer and can be smaller, but they're harder to place nicely on your fabric.

I use a square gusset of 15cmx15cm (plus seam allowance) or a diamond gusset of 10cm wide and 15cm long (plus allowances).

T tunic tutorial 

Now, what about that graph paper?

Well, I'll need photos for this step, so I'll have to take a break for now and show you all in a few hours.

T tunic tutorial 

We now return to the tutorial, after a far too tiring work day...

The graph paper is how you get both your cutting layout and your estimate of fabric needed. Here's some photos of my efforts today for an idea of what it eventually looks like (including some crossing-out because I used a pen; don't use a pen, use a pencil).


T tunic tutorial 

Ack! I didn't realise until now that I posted the photos of the graph paper plot without any alt text.

I don't want to break the thread by deleting and redoing the toot, so here are the images again, with alt text.

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