Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Everything you need to know about garbing you learned in Kindergarten part 5! Easy patterns and other useful info.

Below is a list of various patterns online for free. Many of these are pretty easy to cut if you can cut out squares, rectangles, and something close to triangle. Medieval clothing was not always complicated. A basic tunic with a belt really does work for a wide variety of periods - it's the way the neckline is done and the trims or embroidery that change.

A classic and very good pattern.  I still use a similar pattern for my chemises.   
Still one of the best patterns out there.   Just input your measurements and you'll get a fabulous pattern for your own smock or t-tunic!
Another fabulous Italian chemise pattern.  Really, if you use wide enough widths, you don't need the side gores.
This one is a classic and still the way I make a-line tunics.  This is perfect for a lot of different periods without only slight variations on the neckline, sleeve width, and length.

Pretty much anything from Elizabethan Costume will be good and fabulous.   If you are at all into the Elizabethan era, USE her website.  

The sempstress used to be a fabulous website.  If you go to the archive page, click on any of the hats.  The links will take you to the patterns for the various 16th C styled hats.
Very basic but still quite good tutorial on how to make fabric covered buttons.  
The sideless surcote is one of my favorite patterns.  It's simple, it looks good, and it works for a wide variety of people.   I like making these for my "morning robe" at Pennsic.  This way, I wear this over a shift in the morning to get coffee and breakfast and don't have to get gowned up right away.  Also, it looks vaguely correct enough that no one questions it.  :-)  As to why I don't get gowned up right away - trying to do the laces without coffee is not recommended.  Ever.
This is the ultimate guide to the seam lines of a large variety of extant tunics.  If you are someone with intermediate skills or better, this is the page you want for historically accurate seam lines.  
I made this up as a pattern for a basic Turkish style coat what feels like a million years ago.  It still works although the seam lines are exactly correct.  
The ultimate guide to a Norse dress.  Lots of archeology as well as patterns.  If you have even a passing interest in Norse, this is an excellent read. 
Go to the tutorials on the website for some pretty good ideas on how to get a fitted gown.  Although it's older, it will still get you a decent pattern.
There are actually a lot of patterns and articles up but I have used the Houppeland pattern before.  Another excellent resource.

Fabric Stores

A few months ago, I created a list of fabric stores online that I'm familiar with. The list is located here. I typically use fabricmart anymore because they are still a "small" company with good prices. Their sales are amazing. I say "small" as in they aren't owned by Amazon or China. :-)

My biggest suggestion to anyone starting out with garbing is use plain fabrics.  I know the damask is pretty or the brocade but nothing screams modern like the wrong design.   You'll be a lot happier in the long term with a plain, single color silk than that pretty floral but completely 20th Century looking brocade.

Use trims!  Embroider!   Trims can be changed out if you don't like them later.  Just use woven trims - a lot of 1970's trims look more "correct" than some of our modern trims.  Just don't use fringe of any kind and you'll probably be okay. 

I hope all this information through this series of posts has been helpful.  If you have questions, please feel free to ask.


  1. Thank you for all the fantastic links and info! :)

    Btw, the link for the "Women’s Norse Dress" is broken.

    1. Not sure if it's the same one, but here's a new link.

    2. Thank you! If you put the link in the wayback machine, thankfully, it was captured. http://web.archive.org/web/20151202201423/http://www.tjurslakter.nl/viking%20apron-dress.pdf