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How to make a Peplos, Chiton, or Stola

Chiton and Toga

Chiton and Toga

In an earlier post I shared instructions on how to make a Roman Toga, the garment of Roman men.  What about the women?  Roman women wore a garment called the stola.  Greek women wore a peplos or chiton.  The link provided below will give you instructions for all three, and you don’t need to sew a single stitch.  Before you get started, however, there are a few things the discerning ancient fashionista ought to know:

1. Tunic.  The Roman stola will require a tunic.  This is similar to the man’s tunic, but longer.  It will reach the full length of the individual.  The Greek peplos and chiton do not need a tunic.

2. Fabric.  The early chiton was made from wool as was the Roman toga.  Wool is a heavy fabric, however, and does not flow well.  Ladies wanted more pleats that would allow fabric to swish and flow gracefully with movement.  So later chitons and the stola were made from a lightweight linen or silk.  This allows the fabric more pleats which provides more flow.  The student on a budget may want to use a lightweight cotton.    If you choose to buy fabric be sure to baste edges (sew a small zig-zag stitch around edge) to prevent fraying and then wash.   The super easy route is to use a solid colored twin bed sheet.  Most any color will do.  While the men tended to stick to shades of white, women have always enjoyed color (some things never change, ladies).

3. What you will need:  1) fabric: length should be your height + 18″;  when folded in half it should be the width of your arms, reaching from  wrist to wrist.  2) belt:  some were metallic some fabric  3) safety pins or brooches (2 – 20 depending upon chosen style)

For the more specific instructions I will refer you to an excellent website that will include directions, a little fashion history, and some helpful drawings.

http://www.vroma.org/~bmcmanus/clothing2.html

Please also visit the blog post titled “How to Make a Roman Toga

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