How to make a tunic

December 05, 2010

I recently made two tunics.

That was a new one for me, I have never made a tunic before.  Hunter needs one for his upcoming Christmas performance so after locating a sheet for $1.00 at a local thrift store I set to work.  Impressed that the process wasn’t nearly as bad as I feared it might be, I realized that I might not be the only mom needing to come up with something like this for upcoming church or school performances.  Below was the process I used as well as a few tips I learned along the way. I apologize in advance that I don’t have more photos to show you.  I didn’t think of making this into a blog post until I was a good way into the project.

1) Fold your sheet or fabric in half width wise so that the fold is horizontal and the open ends are hanging toward the ground.

2) Hold the fold against your child’s shoulders to determine the width needed.  Allow for a little extra room (2 inches or so) on either side of their body.

3) Cut your fabric with one vertical cut to that width.  What will result is a long skinny rectangular strip of fabric.

4) With the fabric still folded as it was before, fold it over one more time in half, this time with a vertical fold.

5) At the top corner (on the side with no open edges) ask your child to hold their fist tightly closed on top of the fabric.  Use their hand as a guide and carefully cut around it.

6) Open up the fabric to reveal the “head hole” that you just created.  Cut it larger if needed.  I used my hand for Hunter’s tunic and the hole created was a little larger than I would have liked so it is really best to use your child’s hand as your guide.

7) Now put the tunic over your child’s head and check the length.  Cut as desired.  Some tunics are full length and others are knee length.  Remember to allow for a few extra inches of length if your child will be using a belt (to allow some fabric to be pulled up over the belt and still be the desired length).

At this point your tunic could be finished with no sewing needed.  Simply accessorize with a belt.  The sides will be open.

If instead you desire closed sides, then proceed with turning the fabric wrong side out and sew a hem along each side.

Take care to allow room for arm holes (simply start your hem below the arm area).  I made this mistake the first time around and left no arm hole!  In addition you may choose not to hem the sides all the way to the bottom but instead to leave some open flaps on each bottom side.  I discovered this trick after realizing that Ashlyn’s looked a bit “penguinish”.

To make a matching headdress simply cut a rectangle from some of your extra fabric (or from a pillowcase) and use a ribbon or hair band to hold in place.


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