Whether your child needs a medieval costume for a fancy dress party, school book day or theatre production, there are several options available, as medieval clothing varied greatly depending on a person's role in society. Peasants wore simple clothes made from coarse linen or wool. Wealthy people wore more elaborate clothing in finer fabrics such as silk. Knights wore chain mail and tunics, and princesses wore fine gowns and tall, conical hats. Create medieval costumes inexpensively by adapting items found in your closet or at thrift stores.
Use a long dress as a base for a girl's medieval costume. If necessary, layer it over a long-sleeve shirt to cover the arms. Loose, flowing sleeves were popular. If the dress is too long, cut off a section from the hem and use it as a belt to cinch in the waist. Choose plain fabrics in natural colours for a peasant outfit, or more luxurious, richly coloured clothing for a medieval princess.
Add a large shawl or hooded cloak to complete a girl's peasant outfit and a leather belt at the waist. Hang a small leather bag and some large keys from the belt. For a medieval princess costume, add a tiara or tall, pointed hat. Make a tall hat by cutting a large semicircle of coloured cardstock and rolling it into a cone shape. Add coloured streamers hanging from the pointed top.
Make a tunic as a base for a boy's medieval costume by cutting away the arms and neck from an oversized T-shirt. For a peasant costume, use simple, earthy colours. Wear a long-sleeve shirt under the tunic and cinch it at the waist with a leather belt. Add tights or leggings underneath. For a knight costume, choose bright colours for the tunic and tights. Wear a light grey long-sleeve top under the tunic to look like chain mail. Glue a medieval cross or shield emblem to the front of the tunic cut from coloured felt.
Complete a boy's peasant costume by adding a wool cloak. Thread criss-crossed shoelaces through holes punched at the edges of an open-necked shirt or tunic. For a knight, buy a helmet and sword from a costume store. Hang the sword from a leather belt worn at the waist.
For both boys' and girls' outfits, add leather boots or sandals. Tie long strips of criss-crossed leather around long boots for an authentic finish.