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This year our 10th grader, Rebecca, is working on a credit of Ancient Studies. Her academic schedule has stepped up this year and Ancient Studies is one of about seven credits she is completing. At first, she was trying to let go some of her creative pursuits and she quickly found out that creativity is not optional for her. More on that in another post! For now, the important thing is she made the decision to continue her studies of historical fashion. The finished product is ready for History & Fashion Ancient Egypt.
How to Make Your Own Egyptian Dress
You will need two pieces of muslin, cotton, or linen in white. Rarely you might see an Egyptian with a dyed cloth. Linen is the most accurate. However, cotton was introduced at a later time during the Christian period (or Coptic period when the Greeks entered Egypt and Christianity began to spread there). The measurements listed here fit an 18 inch American Girl doll. We are being specific on the brand because it is a tight fit. If your doll is a little wider, you can add a half inch or so to the measurements.
- Cut one piece of fabric into a 14.5 x 13.5 inch rectangle.
- Hem all four sides. You have nearly a one inch seam allowance on each side, but go skant.
- Cut the second piece of fabric to 5×13 inches. You will have a half inch seam allowance for sewing the rectangle into a tube.
- Turn the tube right side out and iron flat with the seam at the back.
- Hem the raw edges and sew on a small piece of Velcro onto the hem facing so that they can be fastened as a belt.
If you need help as you go, leave a comment and Rebecca may be able to give advice. She helped me out with the tutorial here and hopefully it’s clear enough along with the picture of the finished project.
Beading an Egyptian Collar
A common Egyptian piece of jewelry was the collar. They could be made from beaded stone or metal. Rebecca chose to make a replica using the beads she had on hand. She threaded them together to mimic a collar pattern.
- Gather thread and a needle.
- Use beads that can allow a needle to go through the hole.
- String the beads using the needle and thread.
- The diagram below give you an idea of how to string the beads including an increase to make subsequent rows longer than the one before.
- Thread the beads into a pattern of your choice based on pictures of Egyptian collars.
- Inspirational Beading has a post on how to make Nefertiti’s collar- this requires specific bead types and different threading than what Rebecca did. However, the author provides a pattern.
Rebecca worked on stringing the beaded collar over some time until she had it the length she wanted it. I think she would have kept right on beading if I hadn’t reminded her the doll isn’t that big!
Resources for Ancient Fashion
I asked Rebecca to share with you the sources she used to learn about what Ancient Egyptians wore. She owns books on costuming which she references and then she looks to websites for additional information and inspiration. The result is a fairly accurate finished product.
Costume of the Classical World– Available used on Amazon. This is a book she picked up at our semi-annual library book sale.
Ancient Egyptian Clothing– This was the most helpful website which contains information on the types of fabric used along with style for both formal and informal dress.
Fashion in Ancient Egypt– from the website Ancient Egypt Online.
The Egyptians Clothing– from History on the Net includes brief descriptions of clothing.
These resources all have descriptions of clothing and jewelry which allowed Rebecca to recreate some authentic Ancient Egyptian fashions.
Other Historical Fashion Posts at Blog, She Wrote
Rebecca is in her third year of studying historical fashion. It’s one of her favorite pursuits. Enjoy a look at some of her other projects.
Middle Ages History & Fashion– Study of fashion in the Middle Ages for both peasant noble women.
History Quest Fashion Edition– A quest for fashion in the mid-1800s.
Jules Verne Literature, History, & Fashion– Rebecca’s study of Jules Verne and the start of a steampunk gown.
Steampunk Fashion Design & Drafting– The finishing process for the steampunk gown. This dress turned out so well!
Rebecca’s studies of historical fashion have enriched her experience in learning history and increased her sewing skills. Look for more posts on historical fashion as I catch up with her projects.