How to Make a Lawrence of Arabia Costume

bedouins at desert image by Mirek Hejnicki from

Things You'll Need

  • Long white tunic
  • Leather sandals
  • Prop sword or dagger
  • White cotton fabric, approx. 5 to 6 feet long
  • Leather cord
  • Brown fabric (for belt)
  • Velcro or hook & eye closures (for belt)
  • Needle and thread
  • Scissors
  • Iron

Lawrence of Arabia, the 1962 film telling of a British soldier who helped unite Arab tribes to fight against the Turks in World War I, featured a classic Arabian outfit for the hero who found himself alone when his desert guide was killed. A Lawrence of Arabia costume would overlap slightly with some Aladdin or Arabian costumes, which may be more popular and easier to find. Props include a white, cotton headpiece and either an Arabian-style prop sword or prop dagger.

Hold the brown fabric and fold in half or in thirds to form a belt with two or three layers of thickness to support the shape. If desired, make several stitches with the needle and thread along the open edge of the folded brown fabric to secure in place while making the belt. Press with the iron to help make the creases from the folds more secure.

Wrap the folded and pressed brown fabric around the waist of the person the costume is for. Cut through the fabric to size the belt, leaving two inches of the fabric ends overlapping. Fold one inch to the back, on both ends of the belt, and press with the iron.

Stitch the hook and eye closures on the belt at the ends, positioning the hooks and eyes to make the belt fit the person it is for.

Put the tunic on, and the sandals, and adjust the tunic so it is on the body appropriately. Put the belt over the tunic, around the wearer's waist, and fasten the hook and eye closures. Slide the hook and eye portion of the belt to the back, centering with the spine, if desired.

Fold under about 1 inch of one long edge of the white cotton cloth. Press with the iron, if desired. Place the folded edge over the person's forehead, starting about 2.5 feet from the end of the cloth; it will be uneven in length on both sides of the person's head for the moment.

Tuck the folded edge over the person's temples, toward the ears, then place the leather cord over the front of the forehead. Tie the leather cord behind the person's head, securing the front of the head piece over the forehead and allowing the sides to drape down.

Take the longer side of the cotton cloth and drape it across the person's chest and over the shoulder on the opposite side of his body. This may take some practice so allow extra time for dressing, or practice in advance.

Attach the prop sword or prop dagger to the belt, or hold the item in hand.


  • For added effect, allow a 5 o'clock shadow to grow a bit on the costume-wearer's face, to provide that scruffy, lost in the desert look.