Bocksten Inspired Tunic, part 1.

Creating the pattern

So, the first task is making the pattern in pattern paper. I based some of the measurements on the book “How to Make your own Medieval Clothing: Basic Garments for Men” by Wolf Zerkowski and Rolf Fuhrmann, which is an excellent and not too expensive book I recommend to anyone interested in medieval clothing.

I measured the length of my arms from the top of the shoulder, my height, the circumference the thickest part of my torso (unfortunately my belly), the circumference of my chest, the circumference of my upper arms and wrists and the length from my shoulder to where I wanted the tunic to go. I made some modifications to the Bocksten design based imagery from the late 14th century.

The first part I made was the torso. The Bocksten torso is made up of two pieces, rectangular, attached at the shoulders (with a hole for the head, of course) and at the upper waist. It seemed to me that it, unlike modern garments, got narrower at the arms.

I have seen similar things in other reconstructions and, more importantly, I have interpreted similar things in depictions and sculptures. I decided to try to reflect this on the tunic. I want to not, however, that my solution is entirely speculative, and if you are following this as a guide, you may want to take it with a  grain of salt. This means that the top of the fabric is as wide as the top of my shoulders, but the rest is wide enough to get around my chest when sown together with the other side.

I also made the opening for the neck larger (but obviously not wider) for the front side, in order to better account for the shape of the human body. I also included a line where I would cut the fabric to insert a triangular piece of fabric (which I will refer to as a gusset) to extent it, starting at just under the navel. I never ended up cutting there, but the original is made in that way.

I made it reach down to blow my knees, and just wide enough for me at the chest.

The next parts I made were for the sleeves.

In my previous tunics or shirts, I always made my sleeves simple rectangles – the same width all the way through. This time, I decided to tailor it more (just like on the original), making it narrower around the wrists starting from just after the elbow. I measured the length from the top of my shoulder to my wrists.

Next, all that was left was the gussets. I decided to take a different approach for this. I chose an angle, around 40ยบ, and cut out a triangle to act as a guide, since I was not sure how long each would be.

Next time I’ll start cutting the fabric.



First post and the Bocksten tunic

Hello world!

This is the first post of the blog. It will the first one about my newest medieval tunic, based on the Bocksten man find.

First, some background. I am working on reenacting a Portuguese Burgher from around the battle of Aljubarrota (1385). For now I am working in civilian garb, but I hope to include a military panoply one day.

Now, some background.

The Bocksten man is a body that was found in Sweden, in Varberg Commun in a bog. Because of his oxygen poor location, his body had been remarkably well preserved, which includes his clothes.

He was wearing a shirt, tunic, cloak, hose and a hood with liripipe.

According do Dr. Albert Sandclef, this is how the pattern of the tunic would have been:

Lets get to work.

First things first – Time to choose the fabric for the project. I went with a woven wool tunic with a nice plaid pattern that reminded me of a painting  of a musician from the 14th century.

I then bought a roll of pattern paper. I used to make patterns on old newspapers, so you can do that, but I figured I would try with the “proper” stuff.

Next time I will get started on the pattern itself!



I am not a historian or a clothing historian. I am not a tailor. I am an enthusiast. If you want to make your own medieval clothing, feel free to use my blog as an inspiration or as a way to find sources, but copy me at your own risk since I maybe getting things wrong. Work from the sources, not other reenactors! If you want to use this design for Larp or Cosplay, then just go ahead.