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October 30, 2011

How to Make a 10th Century Byzantine Costume

Frankie Smith
October 21, 2011

Byzantium was one of the more advanced civilizations in the world, forming the Eastern half of the mighty Roman Empire until its fall in the middle of the 15th century. The styles of this century centered largely around the tunic, which was worn in a variety of lengths. To recreate the look of this period, you can select from a simple, tunic-only peasant style outfit or add the more opulent draping overgarments of the wealthy.


Things You'll Need

Colored tights
Linen tunic
Long robe, optional for men
Roman-style sandals
Fabric, 5 feet by 60 inches
Measuring tape
Fabric glue
2 pieces of material, 4 feet square each
Needle and thread
Ribbon, 4 feet by 1 inch

The Basics

1 Pull on your colored tights. Both men and women wore these for much of the 10th century in Byzantine.

2 Put on your tunic. Women should opt for a slightly longer tunic than men. Start with a long tunic, as length can be adjusted with a belt.

3 Cinch the belt around your stomach. Pull the waist of the tunic so that it hangs over the belt.

4 Put on your sandals, if you are going for the peasant look, and you're ready to go.

5 Complete the look, for men, by adding a long robe or semicircular cloak. For women, add a stola -- a long, flowing, outer garment -- over the tunic to achieve the look of a wealthier Byzantine.

A Cape for Him

1 Measure 120 inches across and 17 inches deep, using your measuring tape. Mark the spot with chalk.

2 Draw a semicircle from one side of the fabric to the other, using the chalk. Then draw a smaller semicircle inside the first, measuring approximately 10 inches across.

3 Cut out the semi-circles you have drawn, and finish the edges using fabric glue.

4 Drape it over your shoulders to complete the look.

A Stola for Her

1 Sew the two square pieces of fabric together at the sides, using a needle and thread, with the finished side of the fabric facing inward.

2 Cut a semicircle, approximately 10 inches across, to form the neck hole.

3 Sew along the shoulders to close the top.

4 Fold the ribbon in half to locate the midpoint. Turn the stola right-side out, and use fabric glue to attach the ribbons at the center of each shoulder.

5 Place the stola over your head, wrap the ribbon around yourself so it crisscrosses in front, and pull it behind your back. Then bring the ribbon around your waist to the front again, and tie it.