How to Make an Ancient Roman Costume for Kids

Although a trip to the costume shop might give you the impression that the toga was the only item of clothing in Ancient Rome, this was not the case. Basically a large cloak wrapped around the body, the toga was worn only by upper-class male citizens of Rome. Throughout most of the period, women and children did not wear them. In fact, the most common Roman garment was the tunic. Since togas can be cumbersome and heavy for a child, consider making a simple tunic instead.

A Roman tunic is a simple garment, typically cinched at the waist.
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Things You'll Need

  • White cotton or wool fabric

  • Tape measure

  • Scissors

  • Needle and thread or no-sew bonding material

  • Sandals

  • Rope or fabric belt

  • Gold jewelry

Step 1

Cut two pieces of fabric to the appropriate length. For a girls' tunic, which were generally ankle-length, measure from the shoulder to the ankle and add 2 inches. Boys' tunics stopped at the knee, so measure from the shoulder to the knee and add 2 inches. Cut out a half-circle at the top of each piece to accommodate your child's head.

Step 2

Pin the shoulders and sides together with right sides facing. Sew a straight line from each shoulder to the beginning of the neckline.

Step 3

Slip the partially completed tunic over the child's head and mark how long the armholes on each side should be. Remove the tunic, still inside out, and sew a straight line from that mark to the bottom of the tunic on both sides.

Step 4

Fold the neck hole and armholes under by approximately one inch to hide the raw edges. With a needle and thread or sewing machine, stitch a small hem or use no-sew bonding material available at any craft store to create a finished seam.

Step 5

Tie a simple rope or fabric belt around the waist. A length of rope three or four inches longer than your child's waist measurement is sufficient.

Step 6

Add a pair of sandals. Roman sandal styles varied dramatically, so a specific style is not necessary. Avoid flip-flops, which did not exist in Ancient Rome.

Step 7

Accessorize. Gold jewelry was popular among Romans of both genders and all ages. Choose ornate rings, brooches and necklaces.

Tip

Choose an appropriate fabric. Most modern representative Roman garments are white, but other colors were frequently worn in ancient Rome. Purple was the color of royalty and was commonly worn at state functions. It creates a standout look at any costume party.

Consider the weather as well. A bed sheet is an inexpensive, lightweight choice for warm weather, but provides little protection from the elements. Wool was popular in ancient Rome and is much more practical on chilly nights.

In cold weather, add light-colored, fitted leggings and long-sleeved shirts. In any weather, many girls feel more comfortable wearing a tank top beneath their tunics.

Leave the neckline and armholes unhemmed for a more rustic, peasant look.

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