How To: Make a Toga & Greek Goddess Dress

Make a Toga & Greek Goddess Dress

You've probably seen your fair share of sloppy, sloppy togas for Halloween over the years. You know what I mean — hems either pooled around the ankles or ending awkwardly above the knee, one hand trapped akimbo because it's too loose around the waist, a wardrobe malfunction waiting to happen. But the toga is still so tempting ... because it's so damn easy for procrastinators.

Enter Sona Amroyan, costume designer for the Opera Memphis. Sona has shared her expertise in costume design so that in this costume-Titanomachy, you can come out as a victorious Olympian, and leave all the other Greek costumes dead in the dust for Halloween.

We've broken Sona's tutorial down into an easy, sewing-optional tutorial for both a toga and a Greek goddess dress, so you can enjoy Halloween as a matching duo, or even as a whole pantheon of Greek deities! Be sure to check out Sona's original video at the bottom of this costume how-to.

Images by Chris Davis/YouTube

What You'll Need for the Greek Goddess Dress

For the dress:

  • large bolt of cloth, preferably something pretty and sheer like chiffon
  • thick string or rope
  • broaches, safety pins, or needle and thread

Step 1: Measure Your Fabric

You're going to need a piece of fabric whose short end is roughly the distance from the top of your shoulder to the base of your butt. When it comes to the long end of the fabric, the longer it is the more layering and "ruffles" you'll get on your dress, so you can adjust accordingly. Choosing a bolt of cloth that's three times as long as it is wide is probably a safe bet.

Step 2: Drape Your Divine Dress

Pinch two corners of your fabric and hold it up such that the long end is parallel to the ground. Holding those corners, bring the fabric behind the Greek goddess to-be, such that the fabric runs around the goddess' body, and under the arms. You have complete control of how sexy this dress is — how high or low you go determines how "backless" the dress will be.

Image by Chris Davis/YouTube

Then raise the two corners you're holding over goddess' shoulders, such that each corner goes over one shoulder, allowing the remaining fabric to drape elegantly over the front of the goddess' torso. Cross the two ends, and tie them off. Alternatively, you can pin the two crossed ends with a pretty brooch or a thick safety pin. If you intend to reuse this costume, you could even sew the two ends together. This step will be much easier to do for a friend, or have a friend do for you, like Sona does in her tutorial.

Image by Chris Davis/YouTube

Step 3: Cinch the Waist

Carefully arrange the ruffles of your dress, and then tightly tie your string or rope around the waist so the dress will keep its shape and drape. That's it, you're done!

Making the Toga

With the Greek goddess dress under your belt, you can move on the toga, which is even simpler — great when you're pressed for time!

What you'll need:

  • large bolt of cloth, preferably white or cream (even bed sheets can do in a pinch!)
  • large safety pin

Step 1: Measure Your Fabric

You need a bolt of cloth at least six yards long. The width of the cloth is going to be how long your toga's "skirt" will be, so you can decide how revealing of a toga you want. For reference, the top of the toga's "skirt" should land right on your waistline.

Step 2: Wrap the Toga

Pick a hip to start wrapping from (either will do, but this side will be the one with the exposed shoulder). Holding one corner against that hip, wrap your toga snugly around the person being toga-ed. If you're planning to wear the toga, it will be easier if someone helps you hold the corner against your hip while you wrap. You want it wrapped snug enough to not fall off when you walk, but not so snug that it starts looking like a pencil skirt.

Image by Chris Davis/YouTube

While still holding the initial corner of the fabric, drape the fabric over the opposite shoulder.

Image by Chris Davis/YouTube

Step 3: Cinch the Waist

Take the fabric that has gone over the shoulder and coil it one full circle around the waist. If your measurements weren't precise and you have lots of excess fabric, see if you there's enough for you to make it another full circle around.

Image by Chris Davis/YouTube

Tuck the top of the remaining fabric into the skirt at your hip by rolling it inwards. The tension from the fabric should be able to hold it in place, but for extra insurance against wardrobe malfunctions, you can use a thick safety pin. Just make sure to pin it on the inside of the folds of fabric so your toga looks clean instead of anachronistic.

Image by Chris Davis/YouTube

That's it! Needlework optional, and you have two great costumes ready to go for Halloween.

Follow Along with the Video

If you want to watch the full process of making the dress or toga, be sure to watch Sona in action below. She also demonstrates how to make a different Greek goddess dress.

Are you going to be a Greek goddess this Halloween, or wear a toga, or something else entirely? Let us know in the comments!

Cover image via Garry Knight/Flickr

1 Comment

Thank u! This is one of the best videos on togas.

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