Draping Period Costumes
The Ionic Chiton was the most complex of the Greek garments and gave the appearance of having cut-in sleeves. In fact, in the later part of the period, separate sleeves were sewn in, which made it necessary to cut the front and back of the garment in separate pieces. But, initially, the Ionic Chiton was made of one rectangular piece of fabric. It was usually made of a very fine, lightweight wool or linen that was tightly crinkled or pleated. The length of the fabric was woven to at least twice the wearer’s wrist-to-wrist measurement. Similar to the Doric Peplos, the SOG was turned parallel to the floor and the length of fabric was folded in half with the wearer standing in between. (NOTE: This would imply that the crinkle pleating was on the cross grain. Most contemporary fabrics are woven with the pleated or crinkled texture on the SOG; you will likely need to cut your garment on the SOG and use a seam on each side. Another option is to create the pleating on the cross grain yourself.) 1. It appears that in some cases the top edge of the fabric was “stay-stitched” to a narrow cloth tape to keep it from stretching. If you are indeed using a crinkled fabric, this method is recommended. Begin by stitching just the neckline to a piece of twill tape. Leave extra tape on each end for the “sleeves.”
2. Pin the top edges of the fabric together over the wearer’s arms every few inches from the side of the neck down to the elbow or wrist. Gather or pleat the fabric at each connection point to provide fullness. These points, as well as the rest of the top edge of the fabric, can be stitched to the extra twill tape (most of this can be done flat, off of the dress form).