How to make medieval archer costumes

Updated July 20, 2017

The training to become a medieval archer or bowman was intense and time consuming. A skilled longbow man could release up to a dozen arrows per minute. So it is no surprise that archers are credited with William the Conqueror's victory at the Battle of Hasting. The most famous medieval archer of all was he that robbed from the rich and gave to the poor, Robin Hood. In one legend he was said to have split one arrow with another. Make a medieval archer costume from a few simple items.


Measure from shoulder to mid-thigh. Cut green material to this length. Measure from elbow to elbow. Cut to this width, plus 50 mm (2 inches).

Fold the material in half from top to bottom. Cut a hole in the centre of the folded edge big enough to for your head to fit through.

Pull this over your head like a poncho. Pin the two sides of cloth together at the armpits, elbows, waist and hemline in the shape of your jerkin.

Pull the jerkin off. Lay the material --- still folded and pinned --- flat. Draw a line from the hemline pin to the waist pin to the underarm pin to the elbow pin. This is your sew line. Draw another line about 12 mm (1/2 inch) outside of this line.

Cut along this outside line. Sew together and hem the neck, sleeves and hemline to avoid fraying.

Sew trim to hemline and sleeves.

Cowl and hood

Measure from elbow to elbow. Cut a square of piece of material to this length and width. Round into a circle.

Cut a hole in the centre for your head to fit through. Hem cut edges.

Cut a rectangle of material 45 cm (18 inches) wide and 90 cm (36 inches) long. Fold into a square. The folded edge is the top of your hood.

Sew up the back of the hood to about 50 mm (2 inches) from the bottom. Sew the front edge from 50 mm (2 inches) from the bottom about 50 mm (2 inches) up.

Bracers and Accessories

Cut the buckle from the belt.

Cut two pieces of faux leather as long and as big around as your forearm. Punch a series of small holes along both long edges.

Run one pair of boot strings through the holes, back and forth from on edge to the other, lacing the two edges together.

Put on tracksuit bottoms, long-sleeve shirt and shoes.

Put on jerkin, hood and cowl in that order.

Tie on belt and bracers.

Wrap other pair of boot string around each ankle and up the leg in a criss-cross pattern. Tie at the knee.

Things You'll Need

  • Tight brown tracksuit bottoms
  • Brown long-sleeve T-shirt, no cuffs
  • 3 metres forest green material
  • Needle and thread or sewing machine
  • 2 metres trim or ribbon -- solid colour of simple pattern
  • Scissors
  • Pair of rough leather high-top shoes
  • ½ metre of faux leather
  • 2 pair of leather boot laces. .
  • Long leather belt, old one that can be cut
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About the Author

Kathy Bellamy was a writer/producer for the Eternal Word Television Network for 17 years. She developed and scripted many of the short interstitials on the lives of the saints, educational segments for children’s programming and on-air promos.