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My First T-Tunic

I made this dress in a style that would have been current in Europe during the 11th and 12th centuries. It consists of a floor-length white under-tunic with long sleeves, and a ¾ length over-tunic with shorter sleeves. Variations of this style may bee seen in figures 376 and 409 of “The Book of Costume” (Davenport, 1970). The method of construction I used for this dress is adapted from two patterns in “Period Costume for Stage and Screen: Patterns for Womens’ Dress Medieval - 1500” (Hunnisett, 1996). I made the main body of the dress, following Pattern Sheet 9 (Hunnisett, page 75) in two panels with no shoulder seam (the under-tunic has a shoulder seam), adding gores at the front, sides, and back for fullness in the skirt, and gussets under the arm to facilitate movement. However, because of the widths of fabric which were available to me, I made the sleeves in a separate piece as Hunnisett suggests in the notes accompanying Pattern Sheet 5 (Hunnisett, page 44-46). The under-tunic is made of cotton. Cotton was not available in Europe during this time, but I have chosen to use cotton due to budget restrictions. I was able to find a wool blend for the over-tunic. I did not have the budget to embellish this tunic with decorative bands, as shown in the pictorial sources.

This is the first t-tunic I have ever made. I wanted the seams to be finished nicely so I constructed it using French seams. Overall I was pleased with the effect, but the underarm seams where the gussets come to a point did not turn out very nicely. During the time period this dress is from it might not have been considered common practice to match patterns from one piece of the garment to the next, but if I make a tunic out of plaid again I will take more care to match the pattern at the center front because it will look nicer to our modern eyes.

Figure 376 Figure 409 Pattern Sheet 9


The Book of Costume, Millia Davenport. Crown Publishers Inc., New York, 1948. 9th printing, 1970.

Period Costume for Stage and Screen: Patterns for Womens’ Dress, Medieval - 1500, Jean Hunnisett. Players Press Inc., Studio City, California, 1996.

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