In this post, we are going to show you how to make a basic tunic shirt for your action figures. There is NO sewing required, and it’s easy to make. Don’t forget to save this post to Pinterest so you have the instructions for later! Just click on the Pinterest button at the top or bottom of this post.
A tunic shirt makes your action figure look much more life-like versus the painted-on, plastic clothing of a typical action figure. Using fabric for clothing gives your action figure more movement and really brings it to life!
- Cloth of choice (A cotton linen shirt works great. You can even use your old T-shirt!)
- Scissors (Make sure they are nice and sharp…it will be much easier to cut the fabric)
- Marker or pen
- Fabric glue
- Copy of the “sewing” pattern below. Just print and cut out along the lines. Make sure your printer prints it to scale. (If you can’t print it, I included the approximate measurements in inches so you can use your ruler and draw it out yourself on some paper.)
Pattern for Tunic Shirt
DIY Tunic Shirt Instructions
Don’t forget to save this post to Pinterest so you have the instructions for later! Just click on the Pinterest button at the top or bottom of this post.
Note: These instructions were created using a 1/12 scale figure for reference.
- Fold your piece of fabric in half. We’re going to cut out two patterns at the same time. Place the paper pattern on top of the fabric and trace around it with your pen.
- Making sure your fabric stays folded, carefully cut around the pattern you traced. Make sure to cut slightly inside your pen markings so your fabric pattern doesn’t have any ink on it. You’ll end up with two pieces that look like the above. Make sure you arrange the pieces so they are facing each other as shown (like mirror images), you’ll see why it’s important in the next step.
- Apply a thin line of fabric glue to the area with the dotted line. Fold the top down as shown and line up the edges of the fabric, this is where the sleeve will be. Gently press to glue these edges together. Leave the other edges unglued. Repeat with the other piece of fabric, making sure you keep the fabric in the same orientation from the previous step. You need to make the two pieces mirror images of each other, not identical to each other.
- Once the fabric glue is dry (wait at least 30 minutes), flip each piece inside out. Technically, you are flipping them right-side out. You should now have two pieces that look like the ones shown above. The side facing you will become the back of the tunic, and the other side facing down will be the front.
- Take one half of the fabric (either piece) and insert something between it (like cardboard, paper, etc) so that the fabric glue will not bleed through the layers of fabric. Now place a thin line of fabric glue where the dotted line indicates.
- Take the other half of fabric and carefully place it on top of the first half, making sure to line up the backs of the tunic evenly. Take care not to get glue onto other parts of the fabric. Let dry for another 20 minutes or so.
- Now, we’re going to “hem” the collar of the tunic to make it look nicer. You can do the same to the sleeves and the bottom of the tunic if you want a more finished look. If you want a more “worn” look you can leave it as is. Just apply a little bit of fabric glue to the underside of the front edges of the tunic, as shown by the dotted line.
- Fold about 1/8 inch of fabric over the edges and hold in place for a few seconds to make sure the glue holds. A chip bag clip can help hold it in place if you are having trouble getting the glue to hold. Repeat with the other side of the collar and any other edges you want to hem. *If you decided not to “hem” your edges, you can apply some seam sealant to prevent fraying instead. You only need to apply a little to the edges of the fabric. The liquid is pretty runny, so if you find it hard to control, use your paintbrush to apply a little bit to the edge of the fabric. Let it dry, about 30 minutes.
- Optional step: if you want to make a closure for the tunic, you can add a small piece of stick-on velcro to the tunic as shown above. The backing is pretty sticky so you shouldn’t need any fabric glue to attach it. Otherwise, you can use a belt or other accessory to hold the tunic in place. You can even cut a small piece of leftover fabric to use as a belt. That’s it!