By Rajendora @ Sewing Box Designs
Unlike the female chiton (see the previous tutorial), most guys didn’t fold over their chiton. Children might, so they could wear hand me downs, and it could be let out as they grow taller.
For the pattern and how-to-wear, just follow the image from the book! Men’s’ chitons are very simple. It’s basically twice the width from elbow to elbow and as long as the top of the calf from the side neck. You’ll need a finished rectangle of fabric, and an elastic trim belt or decorative tie string, and then just pin or sew it at the shoulders. See the link below to Roman clothing for ideas on trim.
For fabric you want natural fiber that drapes, not Polyester. Once you have the shoulders sewn, damp the chiton down and hang it to dry by the shoulders so that it has folds in it. See the link below for ombre dyeing if you want an interesting effect.
Strangely, and probably because they came from hot and humid areas of the world, Greek and Roman men were convinced that only barbarians wore pants, or pant-like things. That lasted right up until the Roman army hit the Alps and they discovered the joys of keeping your butt warm. Suddenly looking like a barbarian was the height of macho fashion. However, soldiers were expected to take them off for Parade Dress, so the troops learned to dread an official WINTER visit in Britain, Gaul, Germany and Spain.
Togas were the three piece suit of the era. Men who attained rank even went to specialists who taught them how to fold and wear the toga, as well as how to walk in one without looking a fool. Again, see the link to Roman clothing below for information. Ignore the movies; a toga is not a 72 by 54 inch bed sheet, it’s a long half ellipse!
Measure from side neck shoulder to ankle, and multiply times three for length, and shoulder to ankle for width. Fold in half and cut to a long half ellipse.
The trim goes on the curved edge.
Dressing the doll:
Lie your doll down in the middle of the Toga with the flat top edge just under his right armpit. Togas were always worn with the fold on the right, opening on the left. If you screwed it up, mockery and humiliation would ensue. Fashion shaming is nothing new. Google ‘Sumptuary laws’. Remember, you can get still get stoned to death in some countries. Fashion is a serious thing!
Front to back drape.
Find something to hold the bottom down at the ankle, and pleat the fabric up to the shoulder, with the pleats going outward from his neck, and safety pin. You might hand sew this loosely later or use a pin small enough to hide under the fabric.
Turn your doll over, and again pleat the fabric with the pleats going outward from his neck and fold over to the front. Don’t sew this side. This side is carried over the arm. The right side hem should be down around his calf (walking somewhere) or ankles (inside where it won’t pick up dirt).
Stand your doll up and adjust everything, folding the right side drapes neatly down. You can pin the front to back under drape to the chiton’s shoulder to secure it. You might want to use water soluble ‘sock glue’ (comes in sticks, keeps bra straps and socks from slipping) on the doll’s body to hold the chiton in place under the toga so that it doesn’t slide all over his resin.
You can put a leaf, or metal circle crown on him or a simple ribbon for head gear. Roman men just wore their hair cropped short, most of the style going into how they wore or didn’t wear curls or fringes. Greeks went a little mad at times depending on their sense of style. Greek men wore everything from long ringlettes to imitating the Romans.
Scanned images from ‘Patterns For Theatrical Costumes’ by Katherine Strand Holkeboer, pub. Prentice Hall Press, 1984, ISBN 0-13-654260-3 All rights belong to Ms. Holkeboer. This is a great book for costumes from Ancient to Edwardian times. It has basic pattern shapes for all the outfits that a competent stitcher can then use to adjust to fit anyone or doll. Included are some ethnic, fantasy, animal (a lion!) and religious costumes.