How to Make a Serf Costume

Written by kent page mcgroarty
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How to Make a Serf Costume
Lords often taxed serfs for use of mills. (torre medieval image by Jose Hernaiz from

You're going to a medieval costume party, and while your friends have opted for knight, queen and princess costumes, you are going the unconventional route as a serf. Serfs were medieval peasants who were one step above slaves; they were bound to the land they worked under a lord. Constructing a serf costume is a lot cheaper than buying a heavy, expensive lord/lady costume, which you'll probably never wear again. You don't even need to wear shoes if desired, as serfs often went barefoot.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Burlap sack
  • Scissors
  • Twine or thin string of leather
  • Knife and sheath (optional)
  • Strappy leather sandals (optional)

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  1. 1

    Cut holes in a burlap sack for your head and arms. Make the sack big enough to cover you from the neck down to the middle of your legs. The fit of a serf costume should look sloppy.

  2. 2

    Tie a piece of twine around your waist to keep the burlap secure. Loop a small leather sheath through the twine to hang at your side and place a small knife in the sheath if desired. An old leather sheath that looks beat up will add to the authenticity of your costume. Leather belts/strings can also be utilised to secure the burlap.

  3. 3

    Go barefoot or use a pair of strappy leather sandals. Large leather boots can also be worn. The more worn the footwear looks, the more authentic-looking your costume will be.

Tips and warnings

  • Wear woollen trousers if desired.
  • Serfs generally wore woollen hats in cold or rainy weather.
  • Thick padded gloves were worn for tasks such as hedging.

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