Historical costumes without sewing (2023)

Historical costumes without sewing (1)

Another week, another costume... that's how it feels sometimes! No-brainer mom Phoebe Doyle has some no-fuss, no-hassle ideas to help you create a simple, effective costume for school history week, whether you want your child to look medieval, prehistoric, or Victorian.

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We've all been through that. With the next two weeks all planned and organized, when BAM!, there it is: another letter in the book bag casually announcing that World Whatever Day is coming up, and could we kindly make a costume?

Don't worry or panic at the last minute; Here are our top costume suggestions for History Week, all of which can be put together in - literally - minutes.

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For this you need a white apron and either a black long-sleeved dress or a long black skirt and a long-sleeved black top. Also tie a square piece of white fabric over the head and decorate with a paper lantern (draw it on cardboard orPrint out a picture of the actual lantern Florence Nightingale carried).

Historical costumes without sewing (2)

Historical costumes without sewing (3)

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Costume by Samuel Pepys (Diary of the Great Fire of London)

Start off with a chic white shirt with a blazer and pants. For shoes, draw a buckle on cardboard and attach to plain black school shoes. A long and curly wig would be ideal if you have something like that in the dress-up box, but the most important accessory here is a journal; Make it look like an old book and authentic by wrapping a book in black or dark red paper.

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Egyptian costume

For this you will need a long white cotton dress or robe (made from an old sheet) tied with some blingy and gold. Thread some gold beads onto a string to secure around the head. If you have time, you can buy or rent a Cleopatra-esque wig.

Chimney sweep costume

Great for a boy who hates dressing up! Roughly cut the bottom of some brown or gray pants to wear with canvas shoes. Add a scruffy white shirt; You could dye one in tea to make it look more authentic! (To do this, place a tea bag in a bucket of warm water and soak the shirt in it.) Apply some dirt or brown/black face paint to your face and hands to make it look like you've climbed a chimney. Complement it with a flat cap and of course a “sweeping brush” (a static duster would be perfect).

Victorian girl costume

A long, dark dress or skirt with a long-sleeved blouse. As an accessory, add a scarf around the shoulders and a headscarf around the head, all of which you can easily find in a charity shop! If you can't get a long dark dress/skirt for a child, get a knee length adult dress and tie the waist with a belt. Trainers or ballet flats would be ideal.

Victorian boy costume

If you or a friend have taken a boy to a wedding and have decided on all the suit and boot attire, you probably have most of what you need on hand. Choose dark trousers, a dark vest and a white or cream shirt. Attach a bow tie or tie an adult tie in a bow around your neck. Make a top hat out of paper (Get step-by-step instructions online). School shoes on feet would be fine.

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Viking costume

Brown pants and a brown shirt (an adult size would be ideal to add some length and create a tunic look). Attach some aluminum foil to a hair tie to cover her hair. Alternatively, if they're wild, cover a plastic bowl with foil to wear as a hat. Draw a paper sign on cardboard for them to hold (they might be happy to help decorate!).

Roman costume

Use a light colored dress or an old white sheet to make a toga; Glue some gold trim or ribbon around the hemline and neckline. If possible, cut the section into a square shape. Use rope or braid some shiny yarn together to make a belt for the dress. Wear sandals or flip-flops on your feet.

king costume

Don't have to stick to a specific time frame? Royal is your failsafe option! Opt for dark pants, a shirt, and a cape or robe (use a piece of fabric and tie it around your neck). Make a crown with your child by cutting out a cardboard template (zigzag line along the top) and glue it to gloss paper and sequins.

Queen's costume

Go for a long dress or skirt and top with a cape. Make a crown (see king) or tiara by hanging a hairband with sequins and beads. Glue shiny sequins onto ballet flats or sneakers for the shoes. Long braids secured at the parting with handles always give a very royal look!

evacuee costume

Customize the school uniform in minutes with a few accessories. For boys, a flat cap would be ideal; Girls could wear a beret. A coat over it (ideally something traditional looking like a duffle coat) or gray school shorts/skirt, a white shirt (with tie for boys) or blouse and then the all important basic “gas mask” bag (a small brown handbag maybe?) and a Identification tag (cut out of brown cardboard and tie with string).

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Rat costume (for the Black Death theme)

Gray or black tights or leggings with a gray or black long sleeve turtleneck shirt. If they like wearing makeup, paint their face gray with black whiskers and a pink nose. Make ears by gluing triangles onto a hair band. For the tail, cut off a gray narrow leg and stuff it with cotton. Clip it to the back of tights or leggings. Sneakers or black ballerinas would do your feet good.

Medieval British costume

Use a knee length baggy adult dress to make a long tunic. Fasten a rope around the waist. Drape some fabric around the body and shoulders as a shawl. Add some material over the head and place a hair band on top to secure. Sandals would be ideal.

Suffragette costume

You will need a long white dress or skirt with long sleeves (an adult knee-length white skirt should work if it cinches at the waist). Make a sash out of thick white fabric or paper. The suffragettes' colors were purple and green, so add a ribbon in purple and a ribbon in green, and write "Votes for Women" (in green) on the sash.

Prehistoric Britain

Cut a plain dress so that it only has one shoulder. Tie a rope around your waist as a belt. Create a very messy hairstyle (your kid will probably love brushing out their hair). They could carry a long stick (perhaps the handle of a broom). Barefoot would be ideal (although totally impractical!).

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More costume and dress up ideas for elementary school

If you would like your History Week costume fully made check out our selection ofThe best period costumes for kids to buy.

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