Wednesday, April 18, 2018

A Plan for A Suite of T- Tunics for a Friend

A friend needed a suite of under tunics and over-tunics so I offered to help. He provided the fabric and I offered to sew and decorate them. It has been a long process; not because the design was difficult or the fabric hard to work with, but because I have been having ongoing sewing machine issues for the last six months or so and my health worse than usual.

The recipient specifically requested traditional SCA-type t-tunics - no gores or gussets, and just  the simple t-shaped design that so many SCA participants start out with like the one shown in the image below.
Image from:
He is a tall guy, so the waste of fabric usually associated with this style of tunic was not really a problem as the sleeves are wide and comfortable and I used the 'waste'side pieces to extend the length of the arms. Fittings and checks happened last year to make sure the design would fit and be comfortable and to meet the recipient's needs. My furry helper also inspected all the fabric (as usual) and deemed it acceptable.

I cut out about six tunics in a variety of fabrics provided by the recipient. There was quite a lot of piecing involved in the sleeve areas. I expect these garments to be heavily hand washed so I enclosed the seams to make them last longer and prevent fraying.

On a more historically accurate tunic (designed with gores) such as the one below
Tunic pattern from:
I machine sew the seams and then turn each side of the seam fabric under and hand sew it down.
It is a time consuming process, but makes for neat seams and long-wearing garments. It is also easy because all the shapes are triangles and squares and rectangles with nice straight lines to work with. I couldn't bear to leave the edges zigzagged on these tunics, so I have been sewing the seam excess under. I find this sort of hand work calming, but it really is less so than normal when felling the curve of the seam under the arm. No nice straight lines here, so it is important to allow for the fabric to move and stretch a bit by stretching it as you go and not sewing the seam too tight or using too small stitches. I don't want the seam to rip when he puts his arms up, after all.

The neckline is a simple v-shape with a small hand-sewn rolled hem. The process is essentially what I did recently for the College Newcomer tunics as shown here

On most of the tunics, I am at the fun part - decorating! The recipient is an understated guy and is not the type who likes to be in the spotlight, so I have gone for darker and more muted colours. There is not much in the way of good trim available locally, so I originally planned to embroider several of the tunics. A knuckle dislocation in March and subsequent rheumatic hot spot that won't settle have slowed things down even more, so on a couple of the tunics there will be purchased trim. The recipient had some that was gifted to him by a friend, so I will use that. I also found some online that seemed appropriate.

Several of the plain coloured tunics will have embroidery. I have a nice design of interlocking knots coming along veeeery slowly, and plans for another design incorporating the recipient's heraldry. There is a lovely wool waiting to be made up also (I'm saving that until last because I am always afraid to cut expensive fabric, even after all this time!), which would look great with a design based on one of the Mammen textile designs, below
Image from:  
Of course, I will post pictures when they start to get finished. You know, I still find it nerve-wracking making items for other people, even after all this time. Male garments are especially stressful, because my experience is mainly with female late period clothing and accessories. I would like to branch out in future with more complicated male clothing, but the idea is very daunting especially as I really only have made t-tunics for men before.

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