The tunic is an important LARPing staple. They’ve been worn in one style or another across Europe from before the fall of Rome, and well into the middle ages. Nowadays, a tunic and leggings is a pretty fashionable women’s style, but I’ve tagged it here as men’s wear because a tunic and pants make an ideal base layer for men’s costuming for characters of nearly any flavour from Grecian to Viking.
This tunic is not designed around mimicking the tunic of a specific time or place, but more as a base costume piece. Flavour can be tweaked by adding trim or matching it with different accessories. It’s a great upcycle project because a basic long-sleeved t-shirt in a solid colour is so easy to come by. You might have one at home right now that you haven’t worn in forever. Even thrifted, you can definitely get them for $2 or less. The other great thing about this project is that it’s fast. I started my tutorial piece on a 15 minute break at work and finished it on my last break and still had time to eat lunch, read some recipes and make tea. So even with hand-sewing, it was under an hour. If you have a sewing machine at your disposal, it will only take minutes.
– two long-sleeved t-shirts, the same size or close to, in solid colours that pair well together
– eyelets and cord, if desired
– chalk or marker
Step 1: Prepare your canvas. Turn one of the shirts inside out. Slide one shirt into the other so that their good sides are together and their necks and shoulder seams are aligned. Pin them together along the neck lines.
Step 2: Draw your modifications. Using chalk or marker, trace out a new neckline about 1/2 to 1 inch lower than the current one. Draw a line descending a few inches down the front centre of the shirt from this line, where your shirt will lace up.
Step 3: Sew. Stitch along the new line. Stitch a long thin “V” shape descending down either side of your front line. If you drew your lines with marker, stitch slightly below the lines so that inked fabric won’t show. Better yet, if you plan to use marker, make sure the shirt on the outside during Step 2 is the one that you plan to have on the inside of the finished product, to avoid the whole problem.
Step 5: Cut some more. Now it’s time to cut away the fabric you don’t need for the inside yoke. Chalk a line a few inches beyond your seam and cut away the excess. Do this to only one of the two shirts!
Step 6: Finish. Turn the shirt right side out. Press for nice, crisp edges, and hammer in your eyelets. If you don’t like for the yoke to sit loose inside the shirt collar, you can stitch it down or give it a quick stripe of instant hem and cuff tape (as mentioned in my No Sewing Machine post).
Step 7: Style. You’re all done! Rock your new tunic with your medieval pant of choice and accessorize with a belt, cloak, or anything else that feels right for your character. Enjoy!