10 Minute Nativity Shepherd Costume

by Kelsey Norwood

in Crafts,Sewing,Tutorials

Well, Thanksgiving is NEXT WEEK! That means Christmas is practically here and I’m always scrambling last minute to find something suitable for nativity costumes (for church pageants, extended family parties, immediate family re-enactments…)

So I figured it out – a cheap and easy shepherd costume we can use from now until the end of time. It cost me $3.75, took 10 minutes, wham bam done.

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  • Room Essentials bath towel from Target ($5 full price) – I love all the colors, that’s my favorite aisle in the entire store, but these new stripey towels are totally shepherd, don’t you think? There’s brown, navy, gray, they could all work.
  • 15″ coordinating cotton ribbing

Tools I use:


1. Find the center of the towel by folding in half and in half. Mark with a pin.

2. Center a CD (as in Compact Disc, remember?) over the pin and eyeball or measure a circle 1″ bigger in all directions (that would make the circle 2″ bigger in diameter) and cut out a head hole.

Like so.

3. Grab your shepherd’s favorite t-shirt (make sure it has ribbing around the neckline) and measure all the way around, front and back. Stand your measuring tape up to get a really accurate measurement.

4. Cut a piece of ribbing 2″ wide x That Measurement + 1/2″ for a seam allowance. Mine was 12.75″. Sew the ribbing into a tube.

5. Divide the towel head hole and the ribbing into quarters.

6. Match up the pins and sew or serge, stretching the ribbing out to match the towel length.

Add a woven belt, some scrap elastic, and a hand towel to complete the ensemble. Whew! Come on Christmas, I’m ready!


1 Kim Brinkerhoff November 18, 2012 at 10:42 am

This is great! You could do the wise men . . . and Mary and Joseph . . . and the angels . . . using the same towel idea . . . with different accessories. Your wise man model is delightful.

2 Bonita December 2, 2012 at 5:08 pm

Just letting you know that I linked to this post on my page called Nativity Activities for Kids: http://www.zujava.com/nativity-activities-for-kids

3 Laura December 13, 2013 at 12:59 pm

Hello! I LOVE this Shepherd costume!!! It is SUPER cute! I had to copy it! So I was able to find the same towel at Target (even a year later) and I’m trying to recreate what you made. Anyway, I hope this comment still makes it to you because I have a question on how you did the neck line ribbing. From the picture it looks like you folded the ribbing in half and then sewed it down to the towel so that it would show on the dark brown side of the towel. Is that right? I’m probably over analyzing how you did it, but I just wanted to be sure I do it right. I can’t see the neck line very well in the “finished” picture of your cute little Shepherd, so I’d love your help! Thank you!

4 Kelsey Norwood February 6, 2014 at 9:50 am

Yes, you sew the strip of ribbing into a tube and then fold it in half and serge it to the towel on the right side of the towel. My response is a little late, hopefully you figured it out in time!

5 N. D. Carpenter October 28, 2015 at 7:45 am

Love it. Can’t wait to try it tonight. Thanks!

6 Karla December 21, 2015 at 4:40 pm

Thank you so much for your post!!! It saved my but, and $50, just before the nativity play ????????????

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