Roman clothing
how to make it and wear it
back to main menu

Roman clothing is extremely simple to make, much simpler than medieval clothing.  The cloth used will either be fine wool (or something similar) or linen (or cotton).  The wool will be used for winter clothing, the linen for summer clothing.  Cloth for togas and men's tunics is usually (but not always) white, although embroidered bands can be sewn on.  Women's clothing often uses bright colours.  All cloth is of one uniform colour - no patterns.

Both men and women wore a simple tunic.  Depending on the season, a man's tunic will be to mid-thigh or just below the knee;  a woman's tunic will be to the ankle.  Men wore one simple cloth or rope belt round the waist, women a second one just under their breasts.

Normally, and especially in hot weather or when working - only a tunic is worn,  For formal occasions and when it is cold, a toga is added.
Tunics for men and women

1. cut the cloth to rough size, allow plenty for shrinkage - as much as 7,5 cm per meter for woollen cloth
2. wash, dry and iron the material before sewing
3. all tunics are fairly baggy, from 75 to 110 cm wide, depending on the size of the person.
4. the bottom of the tunic should be a selvedge, all other borders use zig-zag or blanket stitch (on wool) and a fold-over seam (linen or cotton)
5. the neck can be a simple slit big enough to get the head through, or slightly scalloped
6. cut two identical pieces - one front, one back - and sew them together at the shoulders and the sides


For very formal occasions the Imperial toga is worn.  This will be woollen cloth, 4,20 metres (or more) long and about 3,00 metres wide (as in diagram 1). The toga is folded along a line from A to B (see diagram 2) and then draped over the shoulders so that the edge of the fold sits against the neck at point E (see diagram 3).  Point A is then let hung over the left shoulder to finish a little below the left knee, point C passes under the right arm, round the waist and then is tucked up into the left hand side of the belt, or draped over the left arm.

For more normal occasions, men wear the Republican toga, about 1,80 metre wide and from 3,60 to 4,20 long.   This is not folded, but draped more or less the same way as the Imperial toga.

Women use a piece of cloth about 1,80 to 2,00 metre wide and 3,60 to 4,20 long which is draped like a shawl over both shoulders.  It can also be used to cover the head.
The simpler Republican toga about 3,6 x 1,8 metres
Woman's tunic,
from shoulder to ankle
Man's long tunic, from shoulder to below the knee
Man's short tunic, from shoulder to mid-thigh
Decorative bands sewn to man's tunic
The large Imperial Toga - about 4,2 x 3,0 metres
Fold C to D along line A-B
Under right arm around middle and tucked into belt on left
Down over left shoulder to shin
80 to 110 cm
70 to 100 cm