As the season of church plays approaches, many parents need to be roped in to help and learn how to make biblical costumes. Fortunately, unless the cast includes animals, these are some of the easiest costumes to create, even if you have never tried to sew.
How to Make Biblical Costumes: Basics
Predominantly, biblical costumes are all about tunics and draping. Everyone wears a variation on a floor-length robe (although, for very young cast members, you might want to shorten the costume a touch to avoid tripping). All the colors are earthen-based and simple and the fabrics can just be inexpensive muslin, linen or cotton. You can even go the more simple route and use old sheets or blankets to make costumes.
With few variations, the cast of characters includes:
- Three Wise Men
- Three Shepherds
Some churches will include a narrator and some allow for sheep and a few other barnyard animals as a way to add interest and get more children involved.
Mary, of course, wears blue. The color of everyone else's costume can vary, as the church director likes. So long as the shepherds' robes look old and those of the wise men look rich, you can't go wrong.
The Basic Pattern
When learning how to make biblical costumes, one's first instinct might be to buy a commercial pattern. Of course, this is perfectly acceptable and will likely yield a better-looking costume. However, with just a little bit of time and patience, you can make your own pattern or work with a free version that will look great when complete.
The main tunic is a square of fabric folded in half with a hole cut for the neck. Measure for armholes and then stitch up the sides.
Everyone can have a long tunic or shirt, tied with a rope belt and baggy trousers, over which is a robe. Mary must have a head covering, which can just be a simple white kerchief or hood, perhaps secured with a blue tie. Joseph, the wise men and shepherds usually wear head coverings as well - especially when their parts are being played by girls. Follow the same rule about the headgear for the wise men being more elaborate than that of the shepherds or Joseph.
Whatever you do, try not to use safety pins to hold costumes together. In addition to potentially being unsafe, they can also be awkward and unsightly. If you are worried about something slipping, glue strategic bits of Velcro here and there - that should keep everything in place.
Traditionally, the angels' costumes include wings. But if you're not sure how to make biblical costumes at all, wings are a bit daunting. Depending upon how many children need to be outfitted, you may simply want to buy ready-made wings, but you can also just as easily go without. So long as the children wear white and have gold tinsel tied around their heads, they will look angelic. You can even drape more tinsel over their shoulders to create the effect of wings. Or you can try your hand at making a simple set of wings - it isn't difficult, it just takes some time, patience and understanding of crafts.
Biblical costumes can be bought from many costume shops and online, but since they are so simple to make, there is no reason not to create something unique to make the pageant even more special.