Roman Kit on a budget
Make kit for various classes of Roman, men and
women, all for under £30? Don't mind if we do - in fact let's do it
(mostly) for under a crisp £20! Our aim here was to make the kit look
very striking and to keep it visually distinct from the Greek look (for
which see the
Greek kit tutorial).
Low status Roman: tunic
- a needle, or preferably access to a sewing machine
- a friend to help you cut
- 2 metres of 5ft width cream/unbleached white cotton/polycotton. Do
not pay more than £4 per metre, you can get it for £1 if you really try,
or try charity shop bedsheets (mmm, prehemmed!) (You really want linen,
but it tends to be too expensive, get linen if you want to spend more.)
- We got some double-width polycotton for £3.50 per metre (i.e. about
10ft wide) which means you need less than a metre of length - £4
- white thread - £1
- Charity shop leather belt - £1
- TOTAL: £6
fabric into quarters to make a rectangle of the dimensions shown. If you
have narrow fabric, you may have to cut it in half, then sew it into
one large square in order to make it fold up into quarters that are big
enough. Alternatively, you could make two halves of the T-tunic shape
(see below) and then simply sew them together, in the same way that we
did for the Greek
Lie down on the fabric with the nape of your neck at the folder corner
and the fold running down the middle of your back.
In order to
create maximum disruption for minimum effort, Jude's cat will sit on the
fabric while you are cutting, so distract him with catnip.
Get a friend
to cut around you, leaving a generous margin (you are 3d after all and
your fabric currently isn't). Decide on your sleeve and tunic length,
but remember to add an inch on for your seam allowance.
Get up and
cut a small head hole. Make it really small. You can always cut it
bigger later whereas too big now and you're stuffed.
tunic piece. It will look like this. Make sure your head can fit through
tunic along the top of the sleeves. It will look like this. Sew the
seams together. Hem the neck hole and bottom edge, also the sleeve
vaguely Roman-looking belt from a charity shop and wear it... er, that's
Deluxe Roman: decorated tunic and cloak
Extra materials needed
- 2m of bright red linen, wool, or other heavy cloak material. We used
linen at £5 per metre.£10
- two (preferably matching) charity shop brooches - £1
- 3m of red ribbon to match your cloak - £2
- the same length of wonderweb - £2
- TOTAL: £22
tunic is easy using wonderweb. Get your iron nice and hot and place the
ribbon along the edge, sandwiching a strip of wonderweb between it and
the tunic. Then iron it. Voila!
Make sure your wonderweb is fully enclosed between ribbon and tunic or
you'll get sticky stuff all over your iron and/or ironing board.
If you cut
the neck hole square instead of round, you can trim that in ribbon too.
The cloak is
spectacularly simple. Simply hem any rough edges if it's a fraying
fabric then fold over enough that you get it the length you want. The
finished edges should be the vertical edges and the ones you hemmed
should be the horizontal edges.
Get a friend to grab it at the fold, and pass it over your shoulders
from the back so that your head is roughly in the middle.
Pin it on to
your tunic at the shoulders. Girls, you might want to pin it onto your
bra straps so that it doesn't shift about too much.
can wear it lots of different ways.
Higher status Roman: woman's dress
This is very similar to the Greek
woman. For your dignity, make an under-tunic as described on that
- 1.5m of the cheapest white material you can find - £1.50
- 4 metres of muslin (or any fabric that drapes really nicely and is
sort of see-through - £10
- four (preferably matching) charity shop brooches - £2
- 2-3m of red curtain cord, maybe more if you're on the plump side - £2
- TOTAL: £15.50
Fold your 4m
length of muslin in half lengthways. Along one side, pin the four
brooches centrally, with roughly a foot or so between each one. These
hold the fabric together on each of your shoulders and (if you held your
arms out horizontally) at the top of each forearm. Put your head
through the middle hole.
To stop the
brooches dragging the fabric off your arms, put a couple of stitches in
under your arms, making sure you can get your hand through the hole.
distinguish it from the Greek look, we're going to tie it across the
bust. Put the centre of the curtain cord against your ribs and pass the
ends of the cord behind you, to your waiting friend, who will pass them
up and forwards over your shoulders. Cross the cord across your bust and
pass back to your friend who will tie them behind you.
'sleeves' could be wrist length if you pull some of the fabric up
through the cord.
Feel free to add extra brooches along the gap in the sleeves.
wrapping your hair into a bun covered with a bit of leftover fabric
looks very Roman.
play the lyre?
This is not a lyre.
Alternatives and additions...
There are lots of options for Roman clothing and hairstyles on the web,
have a look at some of them. Try adding a trim to the dress or cloak.
Leather sandals are an obvious choice of footwear although you might
want to wear boots and wrap your legs (if going for the warrior look).
Add a toga - there are plenty of tutorials on how to tie them online.
Tips and tricks
One of the issues with Odyssey will be keeping the
Greek and Roman looks visually distinct. We recommend using red
somewhere in your costume, avoid apotigmas (see Greek page if you've no
idea what I'm talking about) and try to use the more ornate styles.