DIY Shakespeare Costume

Halloween coming - a time of year that strikes fear into every parent.  Where to get a good costume?  I want to show you how easy it is to make costumes from recycled clothes with very little sewing skills.  I've made costumes for Halloween and a number of plays and there is a secret you need to know - because the outfit will be worn for a limited time, it doesn't have to be well constructed.  It just needs to look good from 10 feet away.

To be or not to be?  Hamlet, Act III, Scene I.  To sew or not to sew?  Years ago, my son played a young Shakespeare in the modern world trying to sell his plays to Hollywood producers.  Enter stage left - a Shakespeare costume!  I considered it a personal challenge for me and Goodwill.  "Do you think I am easier to be played on than a pipe?"  Hamlet, Act III, Scene II.  This costume could double for cosplay or any medieval look.

I looked through lots of pictures on the internet and decided I wanted a long sleeve "flowing" shirt, a vest, tights and a slouchy beret.  I had the fabric to make the vest, so I started with that.  No pattern?  No problem!  I used one of my son's t-shirts and outlined the width of the shoulders, arm holes and neck opening.  I made it extra long so it looks more like a vest.  No need to be too exact - it's not fitted.  "Though this be madness, yet there is method in 't."  Hamlet, Act II, Scene II.

Next - on to Goodwill.  "I like this place and willingly could waste my time in it.  As You Like It, Act II, Scene IV.  I make a MAJOR score and found the perfect shirt!  I cut off the buttons, opened up some "buttonholes" and threaded some leather cording I found.

I also found some black leggings and a women's fleece slouch beret.  Finally, I found the coolest brown double belt with an elastic back for a guaranteed fit for my skinny guy.  "As good luck would have it." The Merry Wives of Windsor, Act III, Scene V.   Now back to costume construction.

I found some great maroon velveteen stretch fabric I had in the closet and covered the sides of basketball shorts to wear over the tights.

The best part was the hat.  I covered the slouch hat loosely with the same velveteen fabric.  First I covered the band and then made a large circle of fabric bigger than the diameter of the hat that would go over the top and gather back at the hat band.

Put it all together and Will Shakespeare has entered the room!  "What's in a name?  That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet."  Romeo and Juliet Act II, Scene I


He looked great, he was awesome and I was proud of that costume!  

"All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players.  They have their exits and their entrances; And one man in his time plays many parts."  As You Like It, Act II, Scene VII.



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