When most people think of Egypt, they picture Cleopatra. You can achieve Cleopatra's look with a simple costume and a few well-placed accessories. The Egyptian costume includes a long white tunic, beaded headband with straight black shoulder-length hair, a wide jewelled belt, collar and wristbands, and leather sandals. Since cats were important in Egyptian culture, carry a stuffed toy cat as an accessory, or wear a piece of cat jewellery. The costume is elegant and exotic and is sure to turn heads.
Choose a silky white fabric that drapes nicely for your tunic. Make a sleeveless pattern using an A-line dress that you trace on paper, lengthening it to your ankles. Trace the pattern onto two pieces of white material for the front and back, making a neck hole large enough to fit over your head. Tape two pieces of paper together if necessary to get the length. With right sides together, sew up the sides, leaving about 15 cm (6 inches) open at each ankle. Turn the tunic right side out when you're done.
Make the Egyptian headdress using strands of the faux golden bead necklace, or substitute something similar that's glittery. Use one strand to encircle your head horizontally, going around more than once if necessary. Each time you go around, knot or twist the strand so it stays in place without falling. Cut other strands into vertical strips that reach to your shoulders. Tie them with string to the horizontal ring that sits on your head. Buy a shoulder-length black wig, preferably with straight fringe across the front. If you can't find a wig in that length, buy a longer one and cut it even with your shoulders.
Make the wide Egyptian collar starting with a cardboard base. Cut two pieces of cardboard in half-circles wide enough either to sit on your shoulders or to wing out over them. Round the neckline in the front and back so it fits comfortably. Cut two pieces of gold material a half-inch larger than the cardboard. Glue the fabric in place to both half-circles. Attach the half-circles at the shoulders by sewing them together. Make sure the top opening is large enough to fit over your head, or split it up the back, fastening it with tape or a hook and loop fastener such as Velcro. Use a hot glue gun to attach sparkly coloured gems to your collar.
Use a wide, store-bought belt to tighten the middle of your tunic. Spray paint the belt gold. Hot glue colourful gems to the belt to give it an Egyptian look, or leave it plain gold.
Create Egyptian wristbands starting with wide bands made of cardboard. Cover them with gold fabric a half-inch larger than the cardboard. Glue the fabric to the cardboard. Either tape the wristbands together inside, or attach the fabric ends with Velcro. You can also use wide gold metal cuff bracelets.
Wear flat leather sandals with wide straps on your feet. You can add fake jewels with the hot glue gun or leave them plain.
Check consignment shops and bargain stores to find costume pieces if necessary, then alter them to make them Egyptian style. Turquoise and blue were colours associated with the Egyptians. Instead of coloured jewels, you can use accessories in those colours or stones.
Tips and warnings
- Check consignment shops and bargain stores to find costume pieces if necessary, then alter them to make them Egyptian style. Turquoise and blue were colours associated with the Egyptians. Instead of coloured jewels, you can use accessories in those colours or stones.
Things you need
- Silky white fabric
- Wide belt
- Leather sandals
- Gold spray paint
- Colourful fake gems
- Mardi Gras-type gold bead necklace
- Gold fabric
- Shoulder-length black wig
- Hot glue gun