May 13, 2015

DIY Forest Tunic Tutorial

This morning I took my second and last final test for the spring semester; and, this afternoon, I had a fitting with the fairy queen.  The corset & stomacher that I was really worried about working, could not have fit more perfectly.  (Plus, I had a fitting, myself, for a new 1850s dress!  Stay tuned for more on both of these to come...) So, today, was definitely a great day, and to finish, here's part II of the fairy camp costume tutorials!

Last week, I mentioned that I've been busy designing and creating fairy costumes for the museum's newest summer camp & posted a tutorial for the little girl's fairy tutus.  Tonight, it's the boy's turn with forest tunics - the perfect costume for your little Robin Hoods, Peter Pans & woodland elves alike!

D.I.Y. Forest Tunic Directions

Sizing:  Intended for ages 4 through 6, one size fits all.


  • Cotton fabric for the tunic body (also used for facing & bias tape)
  • Contrasting fabric for the belt
  • Various felt squares for leaves
  • Narrow twill tape or shoestring for a drawstring
  • Optional: purchased 1/2” double fold, bias tape
  • Scissors and sewing supplies

Patterns:  Below are both the leaf templates and several pictures of the original tunic pattern (see step one).  On the tunic pattern, seam allowance is included, and each square of the grid equals 1" by 1".

Print me!  Scale: 8.5" by 11"

Tunic Pattern.

Constructing the Tunic:

Step one: cutting out the tunic body.  Using the tunic pattern, cut two along the fold.  You should now have two rectangles approximately 12.5” by 25.”

Designate one piece as the front and, using the pattern as a guide, cut the “front” neckline, which is slightly lower than the back.  Repeat using the other piece and the “back” neckline.

Tunic pattern: close up of neckline.

For both sides, cut along the triangle guides at the bottom.

Tunic pattern: close up of hemline.

Step two: preparing the facing.  Cut or rip two rectangles 5” in width by 50” across to be used as the facing.  Line up the bottom edge of the front tunic piece (along the triangular points) with the bottom edge of the rectangular strip, right sides together.  Pin in place.

Stitch a narrow 1/4” seam along the edges of each triangle, starting and finishing the stitches at each point.  When the entire front length is finished, clip off the extra fabric between the triangular points using the top edge as your guide.  Repeat for the back side of the tunic.

Step three: finishing the facing.  Now it is time to turn the facings right side out so that the raw edges and seams are enclosed on the inside.  You may want to use a knitting needle, chops stick or other blunt object to turn the points, but do not clip them further.

Iron the triangles flat and carefully top stitch along the edges of each triangle.  Press again and repeat for the other side.

Also, turn 1/2” under on the top (flat) edge of the facing piece and stitch along the fold to enclose the raw edges.  If you were able to use the selvage edge as I did, omit the extra turn under and simply stitch the edge to finish the facing.

Step four: seaming the shoulders.  Match the front of the tunic to the back, right sides together, and pin the shoulder seam.  Stitch the shoulders with a 1/2” seam.  I also zigzagged the edges for durability.  Press the seam to the back.

Step five: finishing the edges.  Turn the long sides under 1/4” and then 1/4” again to encase the raw edges.  Stitch along the entire length from front to back, and then repeat on the other side.  Press and set the tunic aside.

Step six: cutting out the leaves.  Gather several sheets of felt in various “leaf” colors.  Using the leaf templates, trace and cut out a variety of felt leaves.  I used around 20 leaves along the neckline.

Step seven: overlapping the leaves as desired along the neckline, pin and stitch (forward, reverse, and forward again for strength) 1/4” from the top of each leaf.


Step eight: creating bias tape for the neckline.  If using pre-purchased bias tape, skip to step nine.  Otherwise, measure and cut 2” bias strips from the leftover tunic fabric.

Fold the fabric strips in half and press.  Then, fold the sides to the center and press again to create 1/2” double fold, bias tape.

Step nine: creating the neckline casing.  Applying bias tape along the neckline will create a casing for the drawstring, which will allow for greater wearing ease and adjustability.  Match and pin the edge of the bias tape to the neckline with an inch over lap at the end.

Neckline casing close up.

For best results, baste the tape in place along the fold before stitching.  Then, afterwards, refold the tape and whip stitch shut along the inside of the neckline.

Step ten: inserting the drawstring.  Use an awl or something sharp to create two small openings about an inch apart, center front on the bias tape casing.  Then, use the button hole stitch to reinforce the edges of the eyelets (small openings) for strength when the drawstring is pulled.

Run a length of twill tape or a shoestring through the casing with a bodkin or small safety pin to serve as the drawstring.  Cut at a length long enough to tie a bow.

Step eleven:  adding the belt.  For a 1.5” belt, cut or rip a rectangle 4” wide by 50” long.  Fold the rectangle in half and seam 1/2” along the top and entire 50” side.  You should now have a tube.

Flip the tube right side out and press flat.  Turn 1/2” inside at the open end of the tube and whip stitch shut.

Find the center of the belt and the center of the back side of the tunic.  Match the two centers and pin 11.5” down from the neckline.  Stitch several times back and forth to secure the belt.

Step twelve: finally finished.  Enjoy your newest creation!

To wear: slip tunic over the head and adjust the neckline as necessary.  Tie the belt in a square knot or bow in the front and adventure awaits!

Forest Tunic Front.

Forest Tunic Back.


  1. This looks great!! I was Peter Pan for Halloween a few years back (ala 1950s Mary Martin,) I may have to repeat that costume and use this as a guideline! :)

    1. Thank you, Jill! What a fun Halloween costume!! :)