Wednesday, June 10, 2009

SAAS (Sewing at Every Size): Men’s Ren: Peasant Pants and Tunic


This is my SAAS (Sewing at Any Size) series on basic clothes that can be made for any size body without a commercial pattern. For other entries in the series, you can click on the SAAS topic in the sidebar category list.

As this will eventually become a book, please do not reprint or republish anywhere. You are welcome to copy/print/save for your own personal use.

I'm dipping briefly into costumes now, in time for the rennaissance fair season in the U.S. I'll get back to everyday wear (tops and dresses) next week after I've had time to do some up and double-check my instructions. I'll also see what I can do about adding to part 2 of the Fixes for existing clothes, although some of the requests are going to be a challenge!

As with the skirts, I'll start with the very simplest Ren Faire costumes and move up from there.

Peasant Pants and Tunic

JD was quite a good sport and actually wore an outfit to the renaissance fair that I’d made up in two hours the night before. Then again he was probably the most comfortable person in the group both temperature and fit-wise. This is a very simple knock-off-in-an-evening peasant outfit that anyone of any age, sex or gender can pull off at a ren fair. Although I have to say that you can get away with wearing wearing almost anything at a ren faire if you carry a big enough sword. Nobody says Boo to authenticity when I have a five-foot claymore (named Clyde) strapped to my back.

The pants are the trickiest part, but as you’re going for a very simple baggy look they’re very forgiving of bad math. The basic shape you’re looking for is an upside-down L, like this:

A is the larger of your waist or hip measurement, plus six inches, divided by four.
B is the length from your waist to the top of your foot, plus 2”
C is the distance from your waistband to the crotch seam (put on a pair of comfortable jeans and measure from the waistband to the seam that runs down the inside of each leg and meets in the crotch), plus 2”.
D is the circumference of the top of your thigh, plus two inches, divided by two.

You will need 4 pieces cut as above (two for each leg). Use test fabric for the first draft and make sure it fits comfortably. Sew two panels together at C to create front and back pieces. Place the two pieces right-side together (the side that will be right-side out when you wear them) and sew the seams at B, e and f. Try the pants on for fit.

When the pants are comfortable, hem up the ankle cuffs by ½” and (with the pants still inside out) sew across each leg at the dotted line to make them taper at the ankle (make sure you leave room to get your feet in and out).

Fold down the top 1.5” of the waistband and stitch all around the waist to create a pocket for a drawstring. Follow the instructions in the entry on Making a Gored Skirt to add a drawstring waist to the pants.

For the Tunic, simply measure across the shoulders. Take 1.5 times that number, add 1” and we’ll call it W. Measure from the top of the shoulder to just below the hips and add 1”. We’ll call that number L.

Cut two pieces of fabric L x W. Hem them both on all four sides so that they’re all clean edges. Now place them right-side together (hems facing out) and stitch them together from the outside of the top edge across to about 1/3 of the way across. Do the same from the other edge. Turn it right-side out and make sure the opening comfortably fits your head and neck.


Now you’ll need a sash. I like to use the same material as the pants so that it coordinates, but you can use anything. Cut a strip 12” wide, long enough to wrap around the waist and tie. Hem the two short ends. Fold the sash in half (hemmed side facing outwards) and sew the two long sides together. Turn the sash inside out, then stitch the two short ends closed.


To assemble: Put on the pants first. Put the tunic over the head. Below each arm, fold the excess fabric from the back flap forward around your waist, tucking it beneath the front flap. Then take the excess fabric in the front half and fold it back over the back half. Secure at the waist with the sash. You are officially a ren peasant. You can generally get away with leather sandles and still look, if not official enough for the SCA, at least authentic and comfortable enough for a day throwing axes at hay bales and watching the wenches dance.

1 comment:

pooklaroux said...

Actually, those are reasonable "Viking" style pants -- no one would be the least bit upset if a new person came to an an SCA event in a tunic and pants like these. Half of it is fabric choices. Make this tunic and pants up in linen, use a darker color for the pants. That would be my suggestion! Awesome pattern!