Monday, April 24, 2006

Bible Costumes Revisited

Note added 10/27/08 For folks who landed here looking for info on making Bible costumes...if you click on 'Bible Costume Info' on the sidebar, you will bring up a series of posts about sewing Bible Costumes, including some tutorials on how to put them together .

*Whew* Blogger's been down...I thought I never would get this posted!

A bit of background: due to a communications glitch, we had to come up with some Roman soldier costumes on very short notice the week before Easter. Because we had out of town company that week, the bulk of the process fell upon Miss A and Miss M and, because Miss M is working two or three jobs, Miss A really got stuck with the most of it. She cut everything out; Miss M and her hubby put together the vinyl tunics, I made the shorts, and Miss A made all six red tunics to go under the vinyl pieces.

We did not know who would be wearing these costumes, but we were asked to make 5 large and 1 extra-large. We had a large McCall's 2060 (one size per pattern on the McCall's biblical costumes) pattern in the box, which had never been used but included a thigh-length tunic for under the 'armor' part of the soldier's costume. Rather than try to figure out how much to shorten our TNT caftan pattern, Miss A (who was not feeling at all well and who was working against a very tight timeline) decided to use the McCall's pattern...which is clearly labeled 'Large 38,40'...and just grade it up to XLarge. She commented that they looked very small, but I thought she was comparing it to the caftan pattern, which runs pretty big.

Well, on Easter Sunday we had a hard time even getting them on the guys who were the soldiers...and some of them were pretty big guys, who ended up wearing white t-shirts. Also, we had to scramble to costume the apostles; somehow a huge number of our costumes disappeared from the storage area in the past year (currently under investigation). It was kind of stressful. However, the action moved fast enough that the costuming problems weren't noticeable. The little drama, (which was actually a pantomime to a song I didn't know but had a chorus built around the words 'I want to leave a legacy') was about the fates of the twelve they each died. It was incredibly powerful, and all the problems just didn't matter.

I picked up the costumes and brought them home to wash, then compared the 'Large' McCall's 2060 to the 'Medium' McCall's 2339, which is the Nativity pattern set that I used last fall to make a costume for a young man at church who needed to take one to Phoenix Master's Commission. I'd assumed that the basic robe/cloak/drape patterns were the same, and the difference between the Passion patterns and the Nativity patterns would only be the extra pieces...the soldier, high priest and Pilate in the Passion set, and the angel and wise men in the Nativity...but I was wrong. The basic tunic patterns are VERY different; the sleeve/shoulder construction is completely different and the Large in the Passion set was smaller than the Medium in the Nativity set! A LOT smaller. I really think the 2060 Passion set is mislabeled, and it should be a Childrens/Youth size Large. So...word up to anyone who's making Bible costumes; measure the actual pattern if you're working with McCall's 2060!

Anyway, the revisited part...the first weekend in May is our second annual anniversary/leadership conference, which is titled 'Legacy', and Pastor has decided to have the kids (it was mostly our high school and college age young men) perform the drama again. So, now we're going to make six red tunics in the right size, and about 3 size Medium (the guys playing the apostles are all rather smallish fellows) costumes to help alleviate the shortage we've come up with.'s back to the dollar table at Wal-Mart for suitable fabric; you know what my next couple of weeks will be like ;)


  1. We did Bethlehem Marketplace at our church this past December and I learned the hard way about those two patterns. If it's a mislabel, it must be in the whole bulk printing.

  2. That's my guess; did you have problems with sizes other than Large?

    The Nativity set appears to be ok; in fact, that's currently my favorite Bible costume pattern, if you trim out the neckline and swap a bias binding for the goofy, fiddly, way skimpy facing they include.