During the Middle Ages, knights required the services of squires, who were young men apprenticing to become knights themselves. Squires performed a myriad of tasks. They served the knight's food and took care of his horses, armor and weapons. You can make a squire's costume that reflects the blend of servant quality and the courtly chivilry required of a young man with aspirations to be a knight. While a knight's armor presents a formidable challenge, you can still make a squire's costume in less than a day.
Things You'll Need
- Heavy fabric or burlap, 4 to 5 yards
- Squire pattern (Optional)
- Indelible marker
- Iron and ironing board.
- Sewing machine (optional)
- Decorative coat of arms (optional)
- Tights in matching or contrasting colors
- Wide leather belt (optional)
- Long-sleeved hooded cotton sweatshirt in matching or contracting color
- Plastic Middle Ages sword
Select fabric that reflects the squire's coarse tunic and footwear. Use rough woolens and burlaps in earthy hues of brown and dark brown for everyday wear or brighter colors for courtly occasions.
Purchase a knit jersey in hues that match or contrast with the tunic. Plan to make your own tights from the knit jersey in matching or contrasting colors. Design easy-to-sew loose-fitting tights. Avoid trying to make uncomfortable and time-consuming fitted and seamed tights. (References 2)
Prepare to sew shoes from the tunic material. Use a shoe pattern or make your own. Follow the design of soft, pointed shoes no higher than the ankle. Look at house shoes and slippers for your own design ideas.
Construct the Squire Costume
To make the tunic, or cote, without a purchased pattern, fold the material in half width-wise. Hold the material up to the person who will wear the costume, with the folded side starting from the neck and the raw edges dropping down to the knees.
Ask the costume-wearer to hold his arms out straight to the side and hold the folded material. Use the indelible marker to draw from the left to right side of the neck along the collar bone.
Place the folded material on a work surface. Cut along the marked neckline to make a slit for the head. Turn 1/2 inch of the ragged neckline material under. Iron the material flat. Stitch it in place using a sewing machine or by handstitching it.
Turn 1/2 inch of the raw edges of the hemline under. Iron the hemline flat and sew it place.
Lay the fabric flat. Turn the side raw edges of the fabric under 1/2 inch, wrong side to wrong side. Iron flat and stitch into place.
Fold the tunic in half width-wise, right sides together. PIn the sides of the tunic from the bottom hemline to within 8 inches of the top shoulders. Leave this part open for the arms. Sew or stitch from the bottom of the tunic to the arm holes. Turn the tunic right side out. Stitch on decorative trim.
Cut out the shoe fabric according to the design you chose. Stitch the shoes.
Dress in the Squire Costume
Put on the tights and long-sleeved hooded cotton sweatshirt. Slip the tunic on. Pull the hood over the head.
Add shoes. Buckle a belt around the tunic just below the waist.
Take up the plastic Middle Ages sword. You now have a squire ready to help a knight.
Tips & Warnings
- Watch films that depict this historical time period, such as "The Adventures of Robin Hood," "First Knight" or "The Lion in Winter."
- Medieval-life: Training a Knight
- "Historic Costume for the Stage;" Lucy Barton; 1963
- Photo Credit Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images