So, what follows is not exactly the most well crafted costume I’ve ever done, but it was easy to make, and looked great, and the boy was absolutely loving it! By following these general instructions, and actually taking some time and care, you can have an even better costume!
Also note: This is a summer costume, so he just wore shorts and a t-shirt under it to avoid heat stroke! In the winter, add a long sleeved shirt and pants underneath– if you can find or make those in silver you’ll have the perfect knight’s mail!
Two pieces of fabric, approx 52×15 inches and approx 38×22 inches (you’ll hem down to 50×13 and 36×20). This worked for an average size almost 5 year old. Measure against the child to ensure fit!
Also needed: Cording and some clear duct tape for sword belt, Trim to decorate cape, Felt for tabard design, Velcro to fasten cape, 1 inch grosgrain ribbon or bias tape for the neck of the tabard.
We basically pulled this together from items on hand and in my stash… We started off with some purple taffeta I happened to have stuck away in the basement. A halloween costume creation of mine from years ago–a queen, maybe? It was wrinkled and faded, but it worked! From the same old costume, I had some gold cording (upholstery trim) and some green and gold embroidered trim. The purple fabric became the tabard and cape, the gold cording (plus duct tape!) became a sword belt, and the husband designed the red crusader’s cross for the front, and cut it out of red felt.
Tabard: 1 rectangle of fabric, hemmed all the way around so that the final piece is approx 50 x13 inches. Hold it up to the child to get an approximate length and shoulder width. We erred on the large size so he’ll be able to wear it for more years.
Fold the fabric in half (so it’s ~25×13 inches) and find the center of the fold. Measure out about 3 inches from the center on each side, and make a vertical 1 inch cut. Then cut from the bottom of one cut to the other, making a square neckline. Try this on, and see if it fits over the child’s head. If not, cut down another 1/2 inch, and repeat the process.
Once you have the neckline, you can just leave it unfinished if your fabric will allow (ours frayed too badly for that) or your can try turning it under and hemming, or you can use extra fabric or grosgrain ribbon to cover the rough edges. I did this (albeit very poorly! — I just used one long ribbon and scrunched it up at the corners). Taking the time to do this right would be worth the effort I think–cut lengths of ribbon for each side of your square. Fold the ribbon lengthwise and pin, so it covers the rough edges, either mitering the corners or just overlapping the ribbon at the corners. Sew.
To decorate the front of the tabard, cut out the design of your choice out of felt, then sew around the edges to applique it to the front and center of the tabard.
Cape: Rectangle of fabric hemmed to ~ 36 x 20 inches. (Note, there are lots of great cape patterns around the crafty blogosphere, but this isn’t one of them. If you’d like to make an even better cape, try this one from Creative Kismet)
This was just a quick and dirty rectangular cape, which was fastened with velcro. To fit the neck better, I ended up tying the ends together in a half knot, then velcroing the ends together, which worked pretty well.
I sewed on a piece of trim a little larger than the width of the cape to add a decorative detail at the bottom.
A length of cording tied around the waist becomes a simple belt. (The husband used duct tape to create a loop for the sword to go through, also).