Persian Kit on a budget
The last of the 5 Odyssey cultures has one thing
the others don't have: trousers! We think that massive baggy trousers
suit the Persians very well and the posher the fabric all the better to
show off your status. This costume can be made more historically
accurate (and a bit less 'Aladdin') by using more natural fabrics and
going easy on the shiny satin. But for high status characters you can't
go wrong with big purple pants.
Basic Persian: trousers and turban
- a needle, or preferably access to a sewing machine
- a friend to help you pin (optional)
- 4m of purple satin (if you can afford silk, get that instead) - £12
- Thread - £1
- 3m of gold or contrast colour curtain cord - £1.50
- 3m of elastic. You can buy this in fabric shops but I cut the edge
off a charity shop fitted sheet that I'd used for a different costume.
If you find a sheet you like the colour of you could use it for your
turban etc and save money on fabric. £2?
- Sash. You can either just buy a different fabric (at least 1/2 a
metre) and decorate it yourself or you can do what we did and scour the
charity shops for a cheap premade sash - £3
- TOTAL: £19.50
If there's only one piece of costume you make for your Persian outfit,
make sure it's a turban. There are lots of authentic ways to tie one,
but here is a medieval hat that looks surprisingly good.
Cut a rectangle of fabric 150cm (usually about the full
width of your fabric) by about 80cm and hem it. The 80cm edge should be
long enough to tie behind your head like a headscarf. This should give
you enough to tie your turban as shown, going all the way round your
head once with a tail left over. For a fatter head, use a piece
80cmx300cm or even bigger and keep winding until you reach a
satisfactory moon size.
For a bit of
bling, take a 1.5m length of your cord, and tie it around the top of
your wrapped bit. Wind it around as shown. You could use a bit of
contrast fabric instead if you like.
have a bit of fabric left over once you've gone all the way round your
head, unless your cranium is abnormally large or misshapen. Drape it
across your face as shown - voila! Adopt a bug-eyed stare and away you
Now for some
actual sewing. These trousers are easier (and larger) than you might
think. You need two full widths of fabric (one for each leg) measuring
the distance from your waist to your ankle, plus four inches for seam
allowance. Fold your fabric in half down its length, then fold into
quarters to the height shown. Trim off the excess at the red dotted
line. You will have a piece that is folded twice and is four layers
So you can
get your feet out of the bottom, cut along the bottom edge as shown. You
now have two identical pieces of fabric that are folded down the long
To shape the
legs, cut out this shape. If you are a grown adult, you should know
where your crotch is by now. Cut the shape lower than you think. This is
because a) you will lose at least 2 inches from this as you seam it up
and nobody likes a crotch that's too high and b) your bum is bigger than
Now separate the pieces, and sew the curved edges
together with the fabric right side to right side. You will make two
legs on inside out like a pair of chaps. Well done. The seams should be
running down your inside leg.
crotch seam on each side and align and pin (carefully) as shown. Sew
from the centre crotch to the waist front and back.
trousers right side out. You now should have something that looks like
these. Aren't they enormous? Yes, your bum really is that big.
At the waist
and ankles, fold over an inch or so of fabric on the inside and sew a
channel around the circumference. Leave a gap about an inch wide so you
can get your elastic in.
Cut two bits
of elastic about this long for the ankles.
your elastic through the casings, pin a large safety pin to one end and
push it through the channel gathering the fabric as you go. Tie a piece
of elastic comfortably around your waist and leave enough to tie it
together at the front. Thread this bit through the waist channel.
you get to the vertical seams you might find that the pin gets stuck in the seam. If this happens and you can't wiggle it past you'll have to unpick a few stitches in
the channel to get the safety pin through. Try not to unpick too many!
ends together to prevent the elastic coming out of the channel and then
tie a slip knot at a comfortable tightness.
like us, you'll have quite a bit of fabric left over. This will come in
especially handy for ladies in order to preserve your dignity. Men, feel
free to wear this costume barechested (if you dare) and/or make the
cloak shown below with your spare fabric instead.
the spare fabric around your bust in any way you can make stay on. Here
the turban is shown with the tail hanging loose instead of tucked across
the face. Adding a sash at the waist not only looks great but covers a
multitude of sins, especially if your sewing round the waist channel was
not as neat as it might have been.
Add the rest
of the gold cord as a snazzy bit of decoration round your hips.
Warmer Persian - add a shirt
Extra materials needed
- embroidered shirt from a charity shop or Asian tat shop. Ours cost £5
- TOTAL: £24.50
models the finest that Glasgow's charity shops could provide. The
contrast colour breaks up the Milk Tray purple and the gold embroidery
ties it all together. You could tuck your vast trouser legs into boots
for a rather dashing 'principal boy' look.
not going for the rather precarious 'boobtube' look, why not make a cape
from your leftover fabric and curtain cord? Hem your leftover fabric.
Keeping the cord in one piece, tie each end of it around adjacent,
gathered corners (or sew it on for more security).
To wear the
cloak, the cord should go behind your back, then up under your armpits
so that the cloak hangs off your shoulders as shown. Or, pin it to your
shirt using brooches as shown in the Rome
around like you're in a Silk Cut advert.
Jude likes this costume so much she's still wearing it.
Tips and tricks
Make this costume look really good by making leather
for under £40.
There are lots of ways to save money here by making
instead of buying bits of the costume (see other Odyssey tutorials for
how to make a T-tunic) but to be honest, you can get nicely embroidered
stuff for not much money. We also spent a fair bit on the shiny purple
fabric, you can get plain cotton at £1 per metre instead of £3.
You have £5 left, which should be enough for some heavy eye make-up.
This comes recommended.
We sort of made this up, and didn't use any sources. If you find some,
do let me know and I'll add to this page.