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Nativity Costume

Updated: Nov 15, 2022

When George came home with a letter from nursery saying he will be playing the part of Joseph in the nursery Carol Concert, it was one of my proudest Mum moments, right up there with first words and steps. I was so excited about making a costume and The Craft Cotton Company provided me with some of their basics range to help.

This costume works great as Joseph or a shepherd, or with some fun fabric colours and combinations it could be Mary or a King too. I have made it quite big in the hope he gets a shepherd or village person at least in the school one next year. I would say these measurements will fit aged 3-5 but I have shown you how I took the measurements from George so you can make one in any size.


  • 1 metre of Cream

  • 1 metre of Brown

  • 1 metre of Brown Blender

  • Rotary cutter and ruler

  • Scissors

  • Erasable Fabric Pen

  • Pins

  • Iron and Ironing Board

  • Bias Binder Maker (optional)


Creating the pattern and Cutting

I took the measurements from George by laying him on the fabric. I made a mark either side of his neck and under his arm.

I folded the fabric in half and drew a line from under the arm to the bottom of the fabric. This was my basic pattern for front and back on both the robe and cardigan. I have written the measurements below to help you draft your own if you don't have a small human handy.

Cut two in cream on the fold. Cut one in brown on the fold.

For the front of the cardigan part place the pattern on the fabric and add an extra inch to the centre as shown. Cut down this centre line to make two equal pieces.

The sleeves for the brown coat are a really simple pattern and I have sewn them in the cheat way so don't panic about adding sleeves. I have written the dimensions on the picture below. Although the picture shows the sleeve as 20" long, I ended up trimming off quite a lot so 12" is the finished size.

I made about 100" of bias binding. You can buy it if you prefer and you can easily get away with 30" without having the long tassels down the front. To make the binding, line your 45 degree angle on the straight edge of the fabric. Cut 2" strips and join them together. I have used a bias binding maker (great gadget if you don't have one already) alternatively press in half and them press the sides to the centre.

Sewing the Cream Robe

Now all your fabric is cut it is time to assemble. Starting with the cream robe I opened the pieces out and pinned them together at the shoulder and side seams.

Sew the shoulders, I used 5/8ths seam allowance throughout. For the sides stop at the bottom of the arm hole and do a back stitch. To help it fit over the head I have simply cut a 4" slit down the middle of the front.

Turn the hem up by 1/4" and then 1/2" and sew the hem.

I have not finished the arm hole or inside seams since it will have such little wear, it didn't seem worth the extra work. You could leave the neckline unfinished too but I added the binding for extra detail more than anything. First I added binding to the slit that I made.

I then added binding to the neckline but left long tails. I was going to trim them down but leaving it like this made it look like it didn't need a belt.

Sewing the Brown Cardigan

You may have noticed I used two types of brown, this was just me simply making the most of what I had. I wanted the sleeves to match the front but didn't have enough to do front, back and sleeves in all the same.

Open the back piece out and place the front pieces on top, right sides together, pin and sew on the shoulders only.

Open out and line the centre of the shoulder seam with the centre of the sleeve. Pin the short edge of the sleeve on each side and sew,

You will have something that looks like this.

Fold the front pieces over, right sides together. Line up the sleeves and sides, matching at the seams. Pin in place and sew from the end of the sleeve to the bottom of the cardigan, pivoting and reinforcing at the arm hole.

You now have your basic cardigan, easy peasy. I have hemmed the bottom edge, as with the cream robe. I also hemmed the front edges and sleeves and added binding to the neckline.

Head Piece

Although not shown in the main picture, I decided afterwards to make a headpiece. I only had small off cuts of the fabric left so made something with a bit I had left. I have taken a picture but I think you could get away with a simple rectangle or tea towel. I hemmed all the edges. I had some headband elastic so cut 19" and sewed the two ends together.

I hope you found this tutorial helpful and saved you the stress of having to work it out yourself this Christmas. Enjoy your little ones concert and thank you for reading. Remember to sign up to the mailing list for more free tutorials, new fabric arrivals and special offers.

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