How to make a basic chiton (non-gendered). A “Let’s keep it simple version.”

I was recently surprised when I found a Roman dress on Etsy for a $100 and about 20 minutes of half-ass research would tell you “NO!” and at a fraction of the cost! Greco-Roman outfits require very little work.

In the spirit of “I don’t have $100” and/or “I want something more athuntis” or the most important: “I suck at sewing or don’t have the time.” May I recommend Roman or Greek… Greco-Roman. It excels in the conservation fabric department (And you didn’t hear it from me, but some of it you don’t even have to sew. I know, Right!?!)  So, $100! No, make it yourself. You can make it out of cotton bedsheets for practically nothing. Also, cotton (starting in the C.E. time), silk, linen, and wool are appropriate fabrics for Greco-Roman wear. If you want to spend a $100, go buy 2-3 yards of really nice suiting fabric and make it into a tunica (Roman) or chiton (Greek), pronounced Ky-ten. Feminine tunics and chitons were ankle length and masculine were knee length – typically. For simple clothes there were sure a lot of complexities, especially at the social level.

So, how do you go about this? Well, let’s make an easy chiton.

1. Start with 2-4 yards of 60” linen or light wool. This will very with your size. The important part about picking out the right fabric is two hold a piece about two feet wide and bring it together until it’s about 6” wide. If it develops nice folds then it’s the right fabric for you. The downside, I’ve only found this in expensive fabric.

2. Fold it in half longwise, doubling it over.

3. Leave 6-12″ on one end that is not a part of the doubled over layer

4. Pin the folded corner

5. Bring the two open corners together, you will have extra fabric on the front versus the back.

6. Cut down the folded edge and sew up each side until you get to about 5″ from the top. This is to mimic two pieces of fabric put together. (It’s said by some people, and not others, that in Greece you left one side closed and the other open and belted it. That would make this a tunica. I believe.)

7. Pin (or sew small links) at the shoulders with the gathering in the front.

8. Put it on and tie it under the bust with an inkle woven belt, twisted fabric, or rope.


This is basic Greek/Roman. However, it’s a place to start. When you, if you decide to, advance further, I recommend Dulcia’s Roman Closet

They are much more knowledgable then me.