No Sew Medieval Costume

About: I grew up in a maker/tinkering family and have followed in my fathers footsteps as being a jack of all trades, master of none. In my current life I am a librarian who works with a pioneering woman who took ...

Intro: No Sew Medieval Costume

This is a project that enables kids to design and create their own Medieval costume beginning with a basic tunic.

When my colleagues and I decided to do a week-long Medieval costuming project with as many as 13 children between the ages 8 and 12, we knew we needed to provide tools and materials that would allow them to design and build their costumes with minimal sewing. This Instructable shows how to make the tunic, and just as the kids built upon their tunic to construct their whole costume, I will build Medieval costume components in subsequent Instructables. So stay tuned.

Step 1: Using a Doll As a Model

For this project we provided examples to get them inspired and demystify the goal.

The doll was a great tool because the children could take the costume apart to see how it was made. Pictured above is the doll wearing a basic tunic and the same doll all decked out and ready to slay the dragon.

Step 2: Basic Materials List

  • Non-fray fabric such as felted wool blankets, fleece or knits.
  • Fleece and knit fabrics work great because they are a little stretchy.
  • Measuring tools:

    We supplied different measuring tools but the students seemed to prefer using a rigid yardstick to measure.

  • Scissors
  • Marker to mark fabric
  • Yarn or strips of scrap fabric to use as a belt.

In addition to providing tools and materials, we provide passionate educators and makers to guide children through the planning and construction process.

Step 3: Measure and Cut

Students work in pairs to measure each other across the shoulders. The doll measures 4.5 - 5 inches across at the shoulders. I always start larger. You can see that the doll's shoulders measure 4.5 - 5 inches so I cut the fabric to 8.5 for a no sleeve or short sleeve tunic.

Step 4: Folding Fabric to Find the Center

Once you have measured and cut your fabric width, fold fabric over so that the fold is where your shoulders will be.

Step 5: Fold the Left Edge Over to the Right Edge

Step 6: Mark the Center of Your Piece of Fabric

Now you have found the center of the whole piece of fabric. Mark a small triangle at the center corner and cut on the line.

Step 7: Unfold

When you open up your fabric you will have a diamond shape cut out. When you fold it at the shoulders it will appear as a triangle.

Step 8: Enlarge the Neck Hole

Opening up the whole piece of fabric again, extend the size of the neck hole by cutting a small slit down the back. Take your time and cut a little at a time until it fits over your head comfortably. It is much easier to cut more out and next to impossible to put it back.

Step 9: Design and Cut Your Neckline

Once you have it over your head you can decide what style of neckline you wish to have. You can use a sharpie to draw directly on the fabric or take the tunic off, measure, draw and cut.

A few Examples shown above are:

  • A square neckline
  • A "V" neck and
  • A round neckline

Step 10: Tie Your Belt and You Are Finished

Use some yarn or a strip of fabric to belt your tunic. Now you have your basic garment to build upon.

In this program we had several princess, Robin Hood, Shakespeare, a peasant farmer, a cobbler, a kings guard and several knights.

Step 11: Happy Students Very Proud of Their Handiwork

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    2 Discussions

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    Penolopy Bulnick

    8 months ago

    These are great designs and I love that you have a doll to use as a model :)

    1 reply
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    akraemerPenolopy Bulnick

    Reply 8 months ago

    Thanks for your comment. Using the doll was really great. It really appealed to the kids because they could play with it and really check out her whole costume.