Hello, Michael here. This instructable demonstrates my idea for a pseudo-chainmail costume. At this time it is only conceptual, but I'm certain the results will only have minor bugs.
Materials & Tools:
Black Mesh Cloth (link below demonstrates a laundry bag that would work nicely)
Silver Spray Paint (or other metallic color of your choice)
Needle & thread (black preferably)
beads, or tiny fishing weights for adornment and the illusion of weighted rings (optional)
Paint: (might work better than the paint I plan to use because it is meant for fabric.)
*Tip #1: The width of the mesh will be a real selling point on the chainmail effect. To my eyes the bag in the link has a really good mesh size.
DISCLAIMER: IMAGES USED IN THIS INSTRUCTABLE ARE NOT MY OWN! THEY ARE FOR VISUAL AID PURPOSES ONLY! THIS IS ONLY A PROP, IT WON'T PROTECT YOU FROM ARROWS, SHARKS, GRUMPY CAT, ETC.
Step 1: The Torso of the Tunic
Forget the sleeves for just a moment and focus on the torso.
Find a shirt that fits well, especially around the torso.
A shirt like demonstrated in the photo is comprised of a few parts, the important ones right now are the torso sections. There is the front panel and the back panel. Basically two rectangles that are roughly the same size and sewn together along the and top to make the basic shirt.
Make two similar panels out of the mesh material, but allow an extra inch of overall width for seam allowance.
*Tip #2: Making the front and back panels about 6 inches(15 centimeters) longer will give the tunic a more realistic look.
Step 2: The Sleeves of the Tunic
*Tip #3: If you add about 2 inches (5 centimeters) of extra width to the panels the loose fit should look more realistic than chainmail stretching over your biceps like spandex.
Step 3: Sew the Panels
Here's a video I found that shows the basics of the concept in action.
Step 4: Painting
Take the newly sewn tunic to a place you can get plenty of freshly cycled air. Take all the precautions you can to keep yourself from being injured blah blah blah...
Place the tunic on a flat surface or pin it in some fashion to a clothesline or wall. Get a feel for how the paint comes out of the can by spraying a piece of paper or scrap. In slow short sweeps from a distance of about 8 inches let the paint mist over the tunic. Do this until you are pleased with the appearance, more than 1 coat may be necessary.
*Tip #4: Allowing bits of black to remain might make the effect better than completely coating it in silver, this will give it the feeling of depth and age (and is why we opted for black rather than fuscia).
List of Effects You May Add and How:
Rust colored paint sprayed gently from a distance may give it the appearance of age (great for skeletal warriors)
Varying shades of silver may give the tunic for depth and realistic appearance
Alternatively you may use gold or bronze or brass for a ceremonial tunic fit for a king or prince.
*Tip #5: If you plan on wearing something (like a doublet or hauberk) over the chainmail tunic (every time you wear the tunic) you may consider only adding the chainmail parts that will be seen. For example, If you wear a doublet that would conceal the torso of the tunic, just make the sleeves and sew them to the inside.