Norse Under Tunic - Measurements & Pattern Sizing
by Katla járnkona

Measurement for: Actual size: Pattern:
Upper Arm/Sleeve Diameter:
Sleeve length from shoulder to wrist:
Your preferred wrist hem:
Your preferred bottom hem width:
Your preferred seam allowance:
Remember, you will need room to move, so your sleeve width and chest
on the pattern need to be larger than your physical measurements.

Measurement for: Pattern:
Width from shoulder-to-shoulder:
Length from shoulder-to-waist:
Length from shoulder-to-floor hem:
Possible estimate for gore width:*
Your preferred gore width:
* estimate for gore is based on floor length tunic
Bottom of side piece width:**
** something between estimate for gore width
     and your chosen gore width
Pattern measurements in: Inches     Centimeters

You must fill in all of the values in the pattern columns (above) in order for the form to calculate your pattern piece sizes.



Calculation formula:

Seam Allowance: SA = 2 * SA SA2 =
Width of tunic hem:hem 1.5 * SA SA1.5 =
Wrist hem: WH =
Shoulder-to-Waist: SW =
Sleeve Width: SlvW = SlvW + (2 * SA) F =
Sleeve length: SlvL = SlvL + WH + SA K =
Chest: Ch = ( Ch - 2*W ) + ( 2*SA ) D =
Shoulder-to-Shoulder: W = W/2 + ( 2 * SA ) A =
Tunic Length: TL = TL + hem + SA B =
Width of Gores (3): GW = GW + (2 * SA) J =
half-width for side gore (2): GW/2 + SA*2.5 J2
Gore length: B - SW + H =
Side width: Side = Side + (2 * SA) E =
Length of side pieces (4): B - F/2 C =
Underarm seam to waist (approx): SW - F/2 (optional) C2 =


So, to make the tunic to these measurements,
you will need enough fabric to cover four major blocks:
Fabric Requirements for this tunic:
Tunic body: (2 * A) by (2 * B) by   OR   (4 * A) by B by
Sleeves: (2 * F) by K by   OR   F by (2 * K) by
Sides: C by 2 * ( E + D ) by
Gores: H by ( 2*J + 3*SA ) by
FYI: Hem: 4 * ( A + E + J*2 ) - ( 16 * SA )

Making a custom pattern to create an early period Norse under tunic is not actually very complex. This article and its following page have been created to help you to create a tunic that should fit comfortably, avoiding some of the pitfalls that I have made in making my own tunics (you can learn from my failures).

One potential error for the beginning tailor is to mistake your actual body measurements for the measurements that should be used in making your pattern. This mistake will create a tunic that, if you think about it, will be too tight to allow comfortable movement (and possibly even breathing!). So, the table above has a place for you to put your actual body measurements (though it isn't always a required field) and a place to fill in your desired pattern measurements. You can determine these measurements from a true measurement off of some existing clothing that you have (however, a t-shirt might not be best for the chest measurement, because of the stretch that the fabric can have around the chest).

Where's the waist size? For most folks, especially ladies, even large ladies like me, the bust measurement is greater than the waist. So, if you choose to make your tunic without a taper from the bust to the waist (not authentic, but what I prefer), you actually don't need the waist size. If your waist is a larger measurement than your bust, the taper on the side pieces (the authentic method) should allow for sufficient room.

How do I place my neck hole? You'll want to measure your neck size, making it slightly larger if you prefer. Your neck hole is created by placing 1/3 of the circle in the back and 2/3 of the circle in the front.

I prefer a neck hole that allows for a degree of modesty. You can get an estimate of a preferred neck hole by measuring one of your T-shirts. Your T-shirt can stretch as it goes over your head; linen, cotton or wool will not stretch. So, you'll create a sort of key-hole space by not sewing completely up the front seam.

Note: I prefer to use a 1" seam allowance, especially when hand sewing. Then, I can turn the seam allowance under (1/2") and baste or sew the seam down with decorative stitching on the front. This will protect your seam from raveling (i.e., those mean, nasty clothes washing machines can be hard on unfinished edges of the fabric).

Are you ready to create your pattern?

(And, of course, you'll want to wear your Norse Undertunic under an Apron Dress; this page will help you do the math for your pattern pieces).


Send E-mail to: