Women in ancient Greece wore a garment called a chiton. This is the garment we see depicted on ancient statues and in modern movies. It is made from a single large rectangle of fabric, fastened at the shoulders. In ancient Greece it would have been woven to fit the wearer. Ancient Greek women wore many colours and patterns, but a pure white garment, perhaps with gold trim on the borders, will be instantly recognised as an ancient Greek costume. You can make a quick no-sew version of this costume from a sheet.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Tape measure
- Sewing machine
- Matching thread
- 2 metal shank buttons
- 2 safety pins
- Braid or cord
Measure the height of the wearer. This will be the length of the garment. Have the girl hold her arms straight out to the side and measure from elbow to elbow. Multiply this measurement by two. This will be the width of the fabric. Cut your fabric to these measurements.
Sew the two sides, which are equal to the height of the wearer, together with a half-inch seam allowance. This will be the side seam of the garment.
Finish the top and bottom edges with a narrow hem. Turn the hem up on the inside of the bottom of the garment and on the outside of the top. It must be on the outside edge because the top will be folded down. If desired, sew trim above the hemmed edges.
Step into the chiton. Fold down the top edge so that the fold is at the shoulders and the hem is at the floor.
Slip each shank button on a safety pin. Use the pins to fasten the back folded edge to the front folded edge over each shoulder. It should fit like a tank top.
Tie a length of cord around the waist for a belt. Pull the fabric up and over the belt to "blouse" the garment at the waist.
Use a twin sheet and pin the long sides together with safety pins, making a tube. You can also leave the side open. It was sometimes worn this way.
Step into the tube and fasten the garment at the shoulders as described earlier.
Tie a length of braid around the waist for a belt. You may have to blouse more fabric to make this costume fit.
Tips and warnings
- If desired, use a flat-felled seam on the side of the garment so it will be finished on both sides.
- Tie a piece of braid to each side of a pair of sandals. Wrap the braid up the calf and knot the pieces together just below the knee.
- Pair the costume with a soft upswept hairstyle with ribbons wrapped around the head.
- This is a loose, revealing style. Check the costume in a mirror to be sure it is not revealing anything you don't want to show. A matching skirt and camisole underneath the chiton is recommended.
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