I had been wanting to make this costume for a while because according to our family history, some of our ancestors may have been Celts.

The top was the most complicated and time-consuming piece, but the fundamentals of putting it together are relatively simple.

Project Steps

The top is made out of thick woven cord. The pattern for the weaving is explained the book Celtic Knots for Beaded Jewelry by Suzen Millodot. It’s called a figure-of-eight chain, and the book was a must for me to do it right.

Weave four vertical rows together that stretch across the bust using the figure-of-eight chain pattern. It is easiest to construct the woven part on a cork board and use thumbtacks to hold the weaving in place.

I used two layers of suede for the side/back panels and thicker leather for the shoulder straps. I made my own pattern pieces for the different components, and tied/sewed them all together with the same cord used for the weaving.

To attach the side panels to the woven front panel, punch a series of holes down the end of the suede side panel and thread the two sections together with the macrame cord.

The suede I used for the back/side panels was fairly thin and stretchy. I wanted the lacing in the back to keep its shape. If this is the material you are using,glue two strips of cardboard in between the suede layers to give it stability.

Again, punch holes through the leather and cardboard layers to create a lace-up closure in the back.

Punch two holes at each tip of the shoulder straps to thread cord through.

Attach the shoulder straps to the front woven panel by finding holes in the weave, pushing the cord through, and making a square knot to secure it.

At the back mark where you want the shoulder straps to hit, and punch two holes in the back panel to thread the cord through. Use a square knot to secure it as you did in the front.

Now add a leather skirt and/or leggings, some moccasins, and some war paint and you’re ready to kick some butt! Or, you can scare a harried housewife, like I did :)