The nun costume is one of the easiest to make. Although you can sew it from scratch, you can find all the pieces in your closet, a friend's or even a second-hand store. Once you have the costume put together, you can get into character and act like a nun.
Part 1 of 4: Getting the Dress
Step 1. Research the different types of nun uniforms
A nun's traditional outfit is black, but some orders use different colors. For example, some use dark blue, gray, or light blue. Other orders do not use dresses, but skirts and blouses instead.
This article will focus on the traditional black nun dress, but if you base your costume on a different order, you will need to use those colors
Step 2. Find a flowing dress with long sleeves at the ankle length
A prom gown will work great, but you can also wear a royal gown. Choose one with a simple cut and few seams.
Ask your friends or neighbors to lend you clothes. You can also find similar dresses in thrift stores
Step 3. Consider wearing an ensemble with a skirt and blouse
Some nuns combine long skirts with long-sleeved shirts. Depending on the order, the shirt must be white or the same color as the skirt. Like the dress, the skirt should be long and not too tight. Unless the order uses a different color, it will have to be black.
- A high-necked or button-down blouse will work, depending on the order.
- In terms of roominess, you'll want to wear something between a pencil skirt and an A-line skirt. Avoid circular skirts.
Step 4. Sew your own dress if you want a DIY costume
Fortunately, the nuns wear very simple garments, so this should be a simple project even for a beginner. Go to a fabric store and find a pattern for a simple long-sleeved dress; Biblical costume patterns can work too.
Step 5. Choose smooth, clean fabrics
Cotton, linen, or polyester will work best. Don't use shiny fabric, like satin or silk, or fancy fabric, like brocade or velvet. The color must be whole, without any pattern. Make sure the fabric is clean; nuns may look simple in their attire, but they are also neat and clean.
This applies to costumes purchased, assembled, or homemade
Part 2 of 4: Form the Habit
Step 1. Get a white cloth headband
You can get them online or in beauty supply stores; some clothing stores may also sell them in the accessories section. The headband should be about 2-3 inches (5-7.5 cm) wide.
Step 2. Make your own headband if you can't afford one
Cut a wide strip of jersey fabric that is 5 to 6 inches (10 to 15 cm) wide. It should be long enough to wrap around your head. Fold it in half lengthwise and sew along the long edge. Flip it over and then sew the narrow edges together to form the headband.
Alternatively, cut a 2 to 3-inch (5.1 to 7.6 cm) strip of poster paper, then fasten it into a headband that's large enough to fit over your head
Step 3. Slide the headband over your head
Slide it so that it hangs around your neck. Tuck your hair over the headband so that it is against the nape of your neck. Pull the headband back over your head. The sides should cover the tips of the ears and the front should be at the entrance of the hair.
Some orders expose the hairline 1 to 2.5 cm (1⁄2 to 1 inch) while others cover it
Step 4. Find plain black fabric for the habit
A black pillowcase will work great for this. You might even better cut open the bottom, but it doesn't matter if you can't.
- If the dress is a different color, you should match the habit with that color.
- Alternatively, you can wear a plain T-shirt or even a pencil skirt.
- If you've made your own dress, cut a piece of fabric that is wide to fit around your head, and is long so that it reaches your shoulder blades.
Step 5. Tie your hair if it is very long
Hold the habit against your forehead and wrap it around the back of your head. Look at yourself in the mirror. If your hair comes out below the bottom of the habit, put it in a ponytail or braid.
Step 6. Slip the habit over your head 1 inch (2.5 cm) behind the white headband
Just slip the habit over your head like a headband. Keep the front edge 1 inch (2.5 cm) behind the white headband. Make sure the hair is in the habit.
- If you are using a pillowcase, hold the rest of the fabric at the nape of your neck and secure it with a safety pin.
- If you're wearing a T-shirt, be sure to insert the sleeves into it so they don't stick out.
- If you are using a plain fabric, wrap it over the top of your head and then bring the two front corners under your hair, just at the nape of your neck. Secure them with a safety pin.
Step 7. Use bobby pins to secure the habit, if necessary
This will not be necessary if you have used a skirt or a T-shirt, but it will be necessary for the covers and the fabric. Pull the fabric so that it fits snugly across the top and sides of the head, then secure it at the nape with bobby pins. You may need more bobby pins on the sides.
Part 3 of 4: Making the neck
Step 1. Mark a donut shape on white paper that is the same size as your shoulders
Measure the width of your shoulders and use that measurement as the diameter to draw a large circle on a piece of poster paper. Measure around the neck, then draw a smaller circle inside the larger one using that as the circumference.
- Not all nuns wear collars. Look at pictures of the order you use for reference.
- You can also use white fabric or felt. If you are using fabric, consider starching it first.
Step 2. Cut out the circles and then cut an opening in the neck
Cut the largest circle first. Fold it in half, then cut an opening inside the smaller circle. Unfold the neck and then cut the smaller circle.
If you've made a fabric circle, it would be a good idea to hem the frayed edges
Step 3. Roll the paper collars into a curved shape
Nunnecks do not protrude like ruff necks, but are extended over the chest and back. Position your neck so the opening is at your back and find where your shoulders land. Stretch the paper so that it curves at the shoulders and stretches across the chest and back.
Step 4. Put on your neck and close the opening in the back
To make a reusable collar, apply self-adhesive velcro strips to each side of the strap. Put on your neck and close the opening. Turn the neck so that the opening is at the back.
Part 4 of 4: Finishing the costume
Step 1. Tie a belt, string, or cincture around the waist
The color and type will depend on the order in which you dress. Some nuns prefer to tie a simple rope around their waist, while others prefer a belt to match their dress.
Keep it simple. Wear simple belts, ropes, or girdles, without any adornment or decoration
Step 2. Choose simple black shoes
Again, this will depend on the order, but most nuns wear simple black shoes without heels. Lace-up shoes or oxfords are the most common. Some orders, however, use simple leather sandals.
Don't wear dance shoes. Most orders don't use them
Step 3. Avoid makeup
Nuns live simply, so they don't wear any make-up. If you must wear makeup to look your best in photos, choose a natural look. Use basic makeup base and natural brown colors for your eyeshadow. You should look like you are not wearing makeup.
Step 4. Consider wearing an accessory to complete the character
A rosary or prayer book is a good choice for a traditional nun costume. Alternatively, if you want to be a cool nun, you can wear a pair of sunglasses. You can also be a ninja nun and wear a pair of nunchucks.
Be aware that some people may be offended if they see a cool nun or ninja
Step 5. Get into character, if you want to
If you are around a child, you can teach a simple prayer, such as Hail Mary. Alternatively, you can pretend to be a strict nun and use a ruler to measure the distance between the pairs while saying "Make room for the Holy Spirit!"
- Do not get carried away by the nun performance. Not everyone finds it funny or wants to go with the flow.
- Be respectful, especially if you are around people you don't know. Some people are touchy when it comes to religious costumes.
- Even if it's just a suit, don't make fun of it and try not to go overboard.