How to Sew Egyptian Cleopatra Costumes

by Elizabeth Warner
A 19th century stage production Cleopatra costume.

A 19th century stage production Cleopatra costume.

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Cleopatra had it all: powerful lovers, a kingdom to rule, and most importantly, an amazing wardrobe. Centuries after her death, she is still a powerful feminine icon, and a popular costume choice. Making your own Cleopatra costume will let you express what this historical woman symbolizes to you. From a short and sassy costume to a more historically accurate one, you are in control as you show the world your take on the Queen of the Nile.

Items you will need

  • Fabric
  • Scissors
  • Measuring tape
  • Straight pins
  • Tailor's chalk
  • Sewing machine
  • Thread
  • Iron
Step 1

Measure from the top of your shoulder to the floor. Multiply the measurement by 2. Cut fabric to that measurement. Do not change the fabric width.

Step 2

Fold the fabric in half, so it measures your original shoulder to floor measurement before you multiplied it, right sides together. Sew along each side from the open ends towards the folded end, stopping about 10 inches from the folded end. These two openings will serve as arm holes in the finished garment.

Step 3

Fold the folded edge of the fabric in half lengthwise, so the two side seams line up. The folded edge is where the neckline will go. Measure and mark 2 inches down from the folded corner. Measure around your head at the widest point. Divide that measurement by 4. Draw a line from the folded corner mark angling it to the folded edge of the fabric. Cut along that line.

Step 4

Open the fold and lay the garment flat. Draw a chalk line along the folded edges of the garment from the neckline out to the arm hole. Sew a long basting stitch along both lines. Gather the stitches and tie your thread to keep the gathers secure. Sew a line of smaller stitches along the line of basting stitches to further secure the gathers.

Step 5

Cut a strip of fabric long enough to tie around your waist and as wide as you want your belt to be. Sew a small hem around the edges of the fabric. Turn the garment right side out and try it on. Tie the belt around your waist.

Tips & Warnings

  • Shop at your local party store for embellishments such as jewelry and head pieces for your costume.
  • Sew a small hem in the neckline and hemline of your costume if you plan on wearing it a lot.

About the Author

Elizabeth Warner began writing professionally in 2004 for “The Scroll,” an award winning collegiate newspaper. She currently works with the technical writers at The Overhead Door Corporation. She holds a Bachelor of Science in English with an emphasis in technical writing and editing from Brigham Young University-Idaho.

Photo Credits

  • Photos.com/Photos.com/Getty Images