Shakespeare's famous lovers, Romeo and Juliet, have long been a popular inspiration for costume ideas, especially for couples looking to wear his-and-her costumes. Making your own can be a more economical alternative to buying them ready-made in a costume store. With some tips and know-how, even a novice sewer can create these Renaissance-style costumes at home.
Measure the height and girth of the person who will be wearing the Juliet costume. Make sure to measure the bust and just under the bust, and the distance from the shoulders to the feet.
Create a pattern using these measurements for a simple, sleeveless sheath dress. The pattern can be store-bought or can be homemade from a sheet of tissue paper. The basic shape is a two-piece pattern, one piece for the back of the dress and one piece for the front.
Pin the pattern to a large piece of fabric with straight pins. The fabric can be any colour you choose, but check period costume books for an authentic look. Once the pattern is pinned down, cut out both pieces using it as a guide.
Sew the dress pieces together, a seam on each side of the dress and above each shoulder, leaving open spaces for the arms and neck. When finished, run the sewing machine needle over the hems of the arm and neck holes to prevent fraying. Make sure to add darts (small pleats) where the bust should be, for more comfortable fitting.
Attach a gauzy material at each shoulder. This fabric will flow over the arms of the wearer to give a Renaissance look.
Fold a long, thin piece of material in half and sew the edges together. Stuff this tube with cotton and attach the two ends together to make a doughnut shape. Where the two ends come together, attach a flowing piece of gauzy material. This is worn on the head, with the gauzy material falling down the hair.
Measure the person who will be wearing the costume. Make sure to measure from the shoulders to the mid-thigh, as this is where the bottom of the costume will hit.
Create a pattern using these measurements for a sleeveless tunic. This can be bought at a store or made using tissue paper. If making your own, the basic shape is a two-piece pattern, one piece for the backside of the dress and one piece for the front side of the tunic. Make sure the pieces hit at the mid-thigh, as this is where a male Renaissance outfit would hit.
Pin the pattern to a large piece of fabric with straight pins. The fabric can be any colour you choose. Once the pattern is pinned down, cut out both pieces using the pattern as a guide.
Sew the two tunic pieces together, a seam on each side of the tunic and above each shoulder, leaving open spaces for the arms and neck. When finished, run the sewing machine needle over the hems of the arm and neck holes to prevent fraying
Attach a large piece of fabric to the back of the costume. Take the top two corners of the piece and attach one to each shoulder to make a cape. Pair the outfit with tights for a complete look.
Use leftover scraps to make a sash. For Juliet, add costume jewellery and feathers.
Make sure the Juliet costume isn't too long so the wearer doesn't trip. Make sure the seams are sewn together tightly or they may come apart.