Friday, November 29, 2013

How to Make Nativity Costumes and Bible Costumes - Easy DIY

Every year, around Christmas time, I seem to find myself in need of some Bible costumes, whether to play the part of prophets from the scriptures, or to play the nativity scene. This year, I finally decided to make my own.

These Bible costumes were so easy to make, and I was so pleased with how they turned out. I made a few in my own size and tried them on to make sure these would work since it was such a boxy pattern. The costumes pictured above range in size from 3 - 10 years, at a guess, but I also made larger ones. Since the tunics tie with a sash in the middle, you can billow out the top above the sash if a child is too short for the costume.

Initially, I Googled to look for patterns and found several different DIY blog posts that sounded fabulous, but I wanted to sew the costumes, not glue them, and the directions to sew them were either too vague or too complicated for my skills and time constraints so hopefully this helps someone else in that in-between area that I found myself.
Originally I was going to cut the fabric out in the shape of a “T” and sew around it, but I was worried that the placement of the sleeves would look awkward so this is really just a simple box. In a few cases, I did make the sleeve area slightly wider when I cut the fabric, but I dropped that after a while and it seemed fine. Here’s a basic sketch of what I did, but I tried to explain it better below.

1. I doubled the fabric by folding it in half, then cut a rectangular piece of fabric approximately the length and width of the age of child I had in mind. You can lay a child’s dress out on the first piece of fabric to get an idea of the required length and width. I did this with the first piece.

Where possible, I like to cut the fabric so that the fold was on one side of the fabric, as this was just one more piece that didn’t need to be sewn.

2. Once I had a width of costume that I liked, I cut out a neck line. I was originally just cutting them out like below, but then I started folding the fabric vertically (so it would be down the long edge in the picture below), and cutting along the corner created by that fold, to get the same neck cut, but with slightly less effort. I made the mistake of cutting the first one too wide so I tried to make sure to accommodate head size after that, but not so much that the neck would cause the tunic to fall off the shoulders. (On the one I cut too wide, I made the neck into a v-shape by folding the fabric in the center and sewing a line onto the fold to keep it in place.)

3. I sewed along the long edge of each side of the fabric, leaving a 6-10 inch opening on each side for arms, and stopping about 6 inches early at the bottom to ensure that the fabric would not hamper walking. This did not matter as much on fabric that I left really wide like the one above, or really stretchy fabric but I cut some of my pieces in a much more narrow line. By the way, I found my favorite fabric was the stretch, thin, wrinkly fabric that reminded me of muslim.

4. I turned the completed tunic inside out, and voila, done! I cut strips of fabric to make belts for the tunics and just left the costume at that for the most part, but for a few of them, I also made a robe/vest. See step 5.


5. To make the vest/robe, I did the exact same thing as I did with the base layer, except that I made the vest/robe piece slightly more narrow – once again, eyeballing it, so if it’s wider or narrower, it’s not really a big deal. After I was done creating the second piece in the exact same style as the first, I cut the fabric down the center of the tunic. For a little embellishment, you can also take a contrasting piece of thread and sew all around the edges of the vest/robe. I did this with the sash that I cut out as well.

6. For the headpiece, just cut out a rectangle of fabric and a sash – no sewing required!
About me:
I love to create stuff! Find me @iliketocreatestuff. 

Goodreads Book Giveaway

My Nativity ABCs by Esther Yu Sumner

My Nativity ABCs

by Esther Yu Sumner

Giveaway ends November 20, 2017.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
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  1. This is awesome. I'm totally going to do this for our primary box.

    1. I know I'm years late in responding but I kind of let this blog go for a while and am revisiting it again. And just wanted to thank you for taking the time to comment. I get hits on this every month and not very many comments! I still use my nativity costumes. I can barely sew so I was very happy to be able to share this no-brainer method!

  2. Thanks for posting. I comtemplating buying 2 this year and gradually adding to my Christmas Nativity box. Now I can make many more for about the same price.

    1. Hi,
      I know I'm replying to this yearrrrrs after you posted but I just wanted to thank you anyway. It's comments like these that keep me inspired to keep sharing ideas.

  3. Thank you so much. I apparently loaned all my costumes to someone and can't remember who. I really need a costume quickly for a Nativity Festival I'm helping with and you saved the day with this fast and easy to follow tutorial.

    1. I know I am sooooo lllate in spending a response but I wanted to send you a years-belated thank you anyway. Even years later it's a delight for me to read this comment and feel like it was worth sharing this post!

  4. Great help! Thanks for sharing!