You guys!!!! Making these Greek God and Goddess costumes for my kids this year has been SO FUN! I’m still so annoyed with myself for not starting a month ago, but gaaaah……making these costumes has gotten my creative adrenaline pumping at insane levels!! I still have 2 more to make but hey, there’s still 3 more days until we have to wear them this weekend—that’s plenty of time!!! Ha! ;)
Oh, in case you have no clue what I’m talking about and haven’t seen the other costumes Ellie’s Artemis Greek Goddess Costume is HERE and Connor’s Poseidon Greek God Costume is HERE. And as I explained in those 2 posts, the reason for this particular costume theme this year, is that Connor and Ellie are big fans of the Percy Jackson book series and convinced the younger kids to join in on the idea! Chloe doesn’t know much about the story line or any of the characters, so Ellie had to pull out her best tricks for convincing Chloe to agree. But once she told Chloe that the the goddesses wore long flowy beautiful dresses…..Chloe was SOLD!!!
As Ellie was telling her about some of the Greek Goddesses, she picked her favorite and then I created the DIY Greek Goddess Costume—DEMETER!!!
Demeter is the goddess of harvest and the fertility of the earth. So pretty much anything that grows…Demeter has a hand in that! And if you know Chloe, she is my little flower lover! She loves to pick them, gather them, decorate with them……everything! When we’re walking around a nursery or the garden center of Home Depot or Lowe’s, she picks up all the flowers that have fallen to the ground and creates a little bouquet that she carries around or puts in her hair. So is there any wonder why she picked Demeter?! :)
Chloe has a thing for long dresses….like an absolute obsession. In fact, she goes into my fabric and ties fabric around her waist so that it’s like a long dress and walks around the house with it, because she loves it so much! Okay, yes, she has one long dress that she wears to church, but obviously I need to make her more! But once she put this dress on and swished the length of it from side to side, she was absolutely smitten! And couldn’t hold still while I was still making alterations….she just wanted to prance around in it! :)
But once we gathered up her costume and headed over to some fields to take some pictures…..she got right to work, pouring all her attention into the the flowers and plants around us. Hey, Demeter has a big job to do!
Okay, and when I tell you this may be the very easiest little dress you’ll ever make, I’m not exaggerating for even a second. In fact, it’s even easier than the Artemis Greek Goddess Costume I made for Ellie (which I also claimed was very simple….but had a few more steps). But just think….no neck line, no arm holes, no pattern pieces or shapes, no zippers, and the most basic little hem ever. You guys….this one’s a really fast one!
One of my favorite features of the dress is this little shoulder strap (that opens in the back with velcro) that’s covered in gold painted leaves. It really gives this very simple dress a nice bold statement.
Along with the gold leaf belt that cinches in the dress and gives it shape and holds the dress together…..but is just so pretty at the same time.
The opposite shoulder is where all these luscious gathers begin….which is such a signature feature of Greek Mythology clothing.
We also added these little wristlets with gold studded edges, that give a nice pop to Demeter’s costume!
My little Coco is becoming such a little lady and it’s killing me to watch her grow so quickly. But it’s also really fun to see how different she is from her big sister and to watch her develop into her own person.
I will never tire of her spunk though. Or her ability to imagine really big things!
Okay sweet Demeter, you’re all ready to go! Now it’s time to dig your hands in to the rich soils of the earth and cultivate a bountiful harvest this year!
Ready to make your own VERY SIMPLE Demeter costume? I’m telling you….you’re going to love this!
Let’s get started….
SUPPLIES for Demeter Greek Goddess Costume:
- Green flowy type of fabric (I used a crepe-like polyester fabric, that was REALLY THIN, which is important because the entire width of the fabric will be gathered in and sitting over one shoulder. If it’s too thick, it’ll look too bulky.)
- Faux Leather (you can find this on big rolls at the fabric store, in a variety of colors and textures)
- Artificial Leaves (I just cut mine from flower stems)
- Gold Metal Brads
- Gold braided trim
- Metallic Gold Spray Paint
- Sewing Supplies (here’s a list of my favorite sewing supplies, in case you need a few ideas)
***Check out my Sewing Terms 101 post, for additional help.
Okay, all you need is one long piece of fabric that you fold in half to create the dress. The width of the dress doesn’t have to be precise but you want it to be wide enough to cinch in and have enough gathers to look draped and full….but you also don’t want too much so that it’s too bulky over the shoulder or around the waist. But as a guideline (that can vary depending on fabric type), measure your subject’s waist and then multiply by at least 1.5 to get the width of fabric that you need…but I think looks a little better if you multiply by 2. (Now remember, that width will be across the front of the dress AND the back, so all the way around will be be 3 times the waist measurement…..or 4 times the waist measurement if you multiply by 2.) As far as the length goes, measure from the top of the shoulder down to the floor and then add 6 inches (or even 12 inches if you’re making this for an adult, just to be safe). Then multiply this by 2. (The reason for adding 6 inches is because when you drape the fabric across the shoulder, this will make the fabric hang unevenly, so you definitely need more length along one side to make up the difference…..and then you can trim off the ends to even it out later.)
Now, fold your fabric in half lengthwise with RIGHT sides together. You’ll be sewing down each of the 2 sides but on the left side you’ll have much bigger of an opening than the right. But to determine how big your arm holes need to be, drape the fabric across one shoulder and let it hang to the ground (making sure it’s even front to back). Then, pin the fabric together at the sides under each arm, high enough to keep things covered. Then see if the openings are big enough for your subject to get in and out of the dress. Tweak if needed, then sew along each side, using a 1/2 seam allowance. Then sew a zig-zag stitch right next to that, to seal in the raw edges. Trim extra fabric off.
To finish off the arm hole openings, fold over the edges 1/4 inch, another 1/4 inch, and then sew in place……exactly like the Artemis Greek Goddess costume HERE.
From the outside, your arm holes will look like this. Press flat with a hot iron.
Now, it’s time to gather in the shoulder. (Make sure to check out this Gathering Fabric Tutorial first, if you need it.) Place along the shoulder to see how wide you want this section of gather to be. Once you have gathered it in just right, sew right along the gathers, to keep everything in place.
And then sew along the gathers a 2nd time, right on top of the first seam, to make sure it’s nice and secure.
To create the shoulder strap that goes on the left shoulder, cut a strip of faux leather that is the width you want (mine is 3 inches wide) and then long enough to go up and over the shoulder to hold the dress up, plus enough at each end to add velcro. Again, the easiest way to determine this, is to drape the dress on your subject and see what looks best.
The strap will be attached at an angle, so be sure it lays flat and then attach to the front edge inside edge of the dress opening. Add velcro to the back edge of the dress and strap, making sure to see what kind of angle you need to attach it to the strap so that the dress lays nicely.
Once the velcro is in place, you have a nice little shoulder strap.
Gather some of your artificial leaves and add gold spray paint. Once they’re dry, arrange them on your strap and sew in place with a few stitches along the center line of each leaf.
If some of them are puckering or not laying neatly, try using a little hot glue to help hold the edges down.
Cut a piece of your braided trim so that it’s long enough to tie around the waist, plus long ends that will hang down the front of the dress. Place more of your painted leaves along the trim and sew them in place at each end, overlapping the tips of the leaves. Add enough so that the leaves reach all the way around the waist.
To cover up each of those seams where the leaves were attached, add a leaf right over the top, using hot glue. (I used smaller leaves on the top than the bottom.)
Okay, now to tackle the hem. But don’t worry, we’ll keep it very simple. Put your dress on your subject and tie the belt on and then arrange all the gathers of the fabric so that it’s pretty evenly distributed around the dress, just how you like it. Each time the dress is taken off and put back on again, you’ll have to rearrange, but the belt will keep it in place.
Now, have your subject stand up on a stool or chair or even a table and start marking where the fabric meets the ground level, and place a pin. Have your subject turn while you keep adding pins. The more pins you add, the more precise the hem line will be when you start cutting. Then, take the dress off and start cutting off the hem, right along the line of pins you added.
Your hem line will be longer on the left side because the fabric has to come a farther distance over from the right shoulder. So the curve of your hem line will look somewhat like this:
Once you have the hem line cut, use a zig zag stitch to finish off the raw edge, but change your sewing machine settings so that the STITCH LENGTH is turned down pretty low, making the length between each zig-zag very small. Also, turn up the STITCH WIDTH, so that plenty of fabric is being grabbed and secured inside of the stitch. (Even though it looks like my zig-zag stitch looks really narrow below, since the fabric is very thin, it cinches in pretty tight…..which makes it look better anyway!) Practice on some scrap fabric to get the zig-zag to look just right.
And that’s how I left the edge. Hemming an uneven edge with such a dramatic curve takes a lot of time (and some finesse) to get it to lay flat and look precise…..so since it’s a costumes, this zig-zag works perfectly.
To make the wrist bands, cut 2 pieces of vinyl that are slightly curved, to fit around the contour of the arm. Add velcro at each end….and then spray paint with gold.
Add gold brads along the edges of both bands. (Spray paint doesn’t stick very well to vinyl so if you can find gold vinyl…great! Otherwise, be careful while handling the wrist bands because the paint comes off a bit. However, since mine is brown underneath, when it rubs off, it just looks kind of weathered and worn, so I don’t worry about it much.
To make the crown, start with a wire base (mine is wire covered in brown twine) that’s formed into a circle that’s the size of your subect’s head.
Add little sprigs of leaves to the base, attaching them with wire, and making sure they’re all pointing the same direction around the crown.
Then add little flowers with wire, all the way around the crown….making sure they’re nice and secure!
And that’s it…..your Demeter is complete!
I hope that was helpful….and fun to make!