Biblical costumes are some of the easiest costumes to make. They can be made by draping almost any kind of fabric over a person, with holes in strategic spots for arms and neck. You can adapt these with different colors and accents to make the person a shepherd, a prophet, a fisherman or a maiden.
Choose an inexpensive, easy-draping material such as thin cotton, rayon or a polyester blend. For children between the ages of 3 and 5, cut the fabric in a rectangle about two feet wide and four feet long. Cut it shorter if they may trip over the hem. For older children, increase the dimensions proportionately. For instance, you might need the fabric to be three feet wide and six feet long for a 7- to 10-year-old. For a more exact size for children and adults, measure the person’s height and then double it to determine the length of the fabric. Then measure from one side of the person's waist up over the shoulders to the other side of the waist for the width. Cut a hole in the middle of the rectangle big enough for the person’s head to fit through. This can be worn over regular shirts and pants or over long underwear for a closer fit. Tie a strip of material or a piece of rope around the middle for a belt. For costumes for women and girls, a skirt worn underneath the tunic would look most authentic.
Pants and Shirts
Make an easy Biblical men’s sleeveless shirt from a wide rectangle of cheap fabric, about one yard wide for an adult and as long as needed to reach the person’s waist. Fold the rectangle in half and cut a round neck opening. Sew up the two sides two-thirds of their length, leaving the top third open for an armhole.
To make pants, cut two rectangles about a yard wide from a chosen fabric; measure the length either from the waist to the knee or from the waist to the ankle, depending on the length you want. Sew the sides of the two rectangles together, leaving two holes at the bottom for leg holes. Run an elastic or drawstring through the waist and tighten to fit. These have a lot of fabric gathered in between the legs, but this is an authentic Biblical time period look for a common man. You can cut out some of this fabric if it is too uncomfortable.
An easy Biblical head covering can be made with the same principle as the tunic. Cut a piece of material measuring a foot wide by two feet long for children and twice as big for adults. This can be wrapped around the head and neck. For characters who are meant to be rich or fancy, try a gold-tone or silver-tone chain belt and using silky fabrics such as rayon. For women, you can add simple cord and bone necklaces or metal and leather bracelets. Footwear could be inexpensive flat slippers or soft boots. For men, you could add a shepherd’s crook, a fisherman’s net or leather boots. Make a beard out of colored cotton or wool or cut a beard shape out of paper, punch holes in either side and fasten it with string or a rubber band. You also can draw a beard and mustache with brown or black eyeliner and eyeshadow. For either gender, long hair, if needed, can be made from a knit fabric cut into strips and tied underneath at the crown of the head. Women also can wear easy veils or scarves with a large rectangle or half-circle of gauze fabric, and a shawl can be just another rectangle draped over the shoulders and tied in front.