My Tunic Pattern


By popular demand here is my drop-sleeved tunic pattern which is folded across the top seam, utilising the selvedge edges of the material

This is based on period construction techniques that utilise as much of the cloth as possible, fold to create edges and utilise the natural woven edges of the woven cloth, i.e. in real life the tunic pattern would be woven on the loom without any loss of cloth (apart from the neck hole).
In this case, we are using pattern number 3 from below

The archetypal roman "crisp-bag" tunic is no 2 above and probably more suitable for a legionary. 
This pattern is great for auxillia and also as a "gallic coat" style for Britons.

We think this pattern is suitable for linen and thin wool but you'd run into problems with thicker wool as it wouldn't hang easily from the shoulders.

My tunic is made from the red linen from Ikea. However, it is not correct and needs to be toned down. We did this by using Olive Green Dylon machine dye. Simply wash all the material (before cutting out) with one tablespoon full (ONLY) of dye.

This material is 150cm wide and I purchased 2.5m of it. 
If you are taller than my measly 5 foot 10" and 40" chest then you may need more as this makes a knee length tunic when belted on me.
As we are utilising the full width of the cloth then the sleeves end slightly short of my wrists and are also fairly baggy (in fact, there is quite a lot of cloth there). If you have longer arms than me, obviously the tunic will be shorter on the arms, but you'd need to have arms over twice the size of mine to even start to fill these sleeves
There is no problem with sleeves that are 3/4 length anyway unless you see this as a full sleeved winter tunic in which case it will probably be thicker wool and you don't want to use this pattern anyway !


Fold the cloth in half and line the edges up. The folded edge will be the top of arms and the shoulders. Make sure it's lined up squarely and pin to make sure it doesn't move about.

You will then need to draw, using tailors chalk, or pin the outline of the tunic onto the cloth and cut out.

I obviously can't publish a full size pattern here, but here is a plan of the tunic. All the distances include the seams, which are about 1cm along each edge. 
Remember that this is one side and when you draw it onto the folded cloth and cut it out then you get two halves joined along the top. This will give a 136cm (you lose 1 cm on each edge for seams remember) chest which is 53" or 13" bigger than my chest measurement. Roman tunics of this period can be very wide indeed, so make it bigger if you want !

Points to note
  • You will notice that the tunic is flared from under the arms to the base by 10cm on each side. This is not strictly period and just aided moving freely. If you wanted to be a little more Roman , then you should make the entire body 90cm
  • The arms, where they meet the body are gradually curved not a sharp angle, as on modern clothing. This ensures that they tunic doesn't split under the arms.
  • The whole width of the tunic is whole width of the cloth. The sleeve ends are the edges of the cloth and use the woven selvedge edges on the cloth itself so that they do not need to hemmed.

You WILL need to hem the bottom edge. If this is wool tunic then it may be possible to fringe the bottom edge by pulling out the threads that go across the bottom.