Making a Robe

Here are some simple patterns for a robes and cloaks. How ever if you are a bit of a tailor/seamstress, try some of the patterns listed.

SOL Patterns on this page

A simple robe pattern
A tailored robe pattern
A ridiculously simple cloak pattern
A full cloak pattern

Here is a list of patterns that people from around the world have used to make cloaks and gowns, either as they are in some cases, or simply modified. Be warned, some of them are not currently available and you may have to get them through second-hand sources such as Debs, Michelle Lee or Rusty Zipper. Be advised that these three sites do not specialise in costume patterns, merely in keeping stock of patterns that are no longer printed by the manufacturers.

Folkwear Kinsdale Cloak (Advanced tailors/seamstresses only)
Butterick 3084
Butterick 6796
McCall 2433
McCall 2665
McCall 2853(Adult) / 2854(Child)
McCall 2937
McCall 6774
Style 7110
Simplicity 7016
Simplicity 7438
Simplicity 7781
Simplicity 8274
Simplicity 8944
Vogue 7110

Some other sources of information:

Medieval Europeanan Costume Links Page
(This is an absolutely huge resource for costumes and accessories of all sorts)

Sewing Resource Guide
For associated things you will probably not need to go anywhere else
MoiRandall’s Sewing Patterns
(Moderately experienced tailors/seamstresses)
Harper House Patterns by Folkwear
(Be warned, advanced tailors/seamstresses only)


A simple robe pattern










Making your own robe for meditation and ritual is very simple. It won’t take you more than a few hours even if you are a complete novice.

All you need is a piece of cloth, 150 cm wide (5 feet), preferrably of cotton or linen (avoid man-made materials since they easily become charged with static electricity). Choose a one-coloured, unpatterned material, something that washes and dries easily. The colour can be black, dark blue, brown, green or any other discreet colour. Within the Servants of the Light, First Degree robes are black. Remember, black is not the colour of evil, but of the fruitful earth and of growth on all levels. If you are not a part of the SOL, then obviously the choice of colour is an entirely personal matter.

The length of the piece of cloth should be twice as long as your shoulder height plus a few extra centimeters (an inch or two) for the hem (the robe should reach your feet but not be so long as to make you trip when you move around).

Start by folding the cloth once (A), making it slightly taller than your shoulder height:

Then fold it lengthwise again (B). You now have a four-ply piece of cloth as tall as your shoulder height and about 75 cm (2’6″) wide. Now make a hole for the neck by cutting out a quarter-circle in the corner where both folds meet:

Put a pin (C) at the left edge, about 35 cm (13 3/4″) from the top edge. Put another pin (D) 30 cm (12″) from the top edge. Add 25 cm (10″) to your chest or bust measurement and divide the result by four. Put another pin (E) this distance to the left of the pin at D. Draw a line on the cloth from C to E. Put another pin (F) along the bottom edge, about 45-50 cm (18-20″) from the right edge. Draw a line from this pin to E. Remove the pins and cut through all four layers of cloth along the line C-E-F.

Unfold the material along the right edge. The result should resemble a “T”. Sew along the line C-E-F on both sides. Turn in and sew the neckline (make a vertical cut along the middle so you can get your head through!) and the sleeves. Turn the robe inside out, put it on and adjust the length using some pins. Sew along the hem line, remove the pins – and your robe is ready!

The robe is worn with a white cord, long enough to go twice around your waist and hang down to your knees, and with sandals or slippers.

There is enough cloth left to make a hood for the robe, something which can be very useful in meditation.



A Tailored Robe


Any light to medium weight, soft fabric will work well. But for a good “draped” effect, knitted or crépe-de-chine is best.


Measure shoulder width from shoulder tip to shoulder tip (A)
Arm length from shoulder tip to wrist (B)
Around the base of the neck (C)
Around the chest plus 10 inches (D)
Around the shoulder area then double it to get the size of the arm hole (E)
The full body length from shoulder to floor (F).

Pattern Pieces

Body pattern piece:robe-body


Sleeve pattern piece:



Hood pattern piece:


Assembled robe:



The pattern consists of four body pieces and four sleave pieces. The basic shape of the body piece above shows which measurements should be applied to each seam.

The width of the top of the body panel * is half of A.
The neck opening of each part of the body * is one quarter of C.
The neck opening of each part of the hood * is one third of C.
The width of the body panel at chest height * (at the bottom of the arm hole) is one quarter of D.
The arm hole * is half of E.
The length * of the panel is F.
Flair the body panel so that it measures at least one and a half times D at the bottom hem.

For the sleeve you’re going to cut out a bunch of triangles with one blunted end.

The length * of the sleave is B.
The arm hole * is half of E.
To give the sleeves a “puffed” effect – and if you feel up to the tailoring – make the arm hole 2-5 inches bigger than this (See sewing instructions).
The other measurements are up to you depending on how long and droopy you want the sleeve to be.

Don’t forget to add seam allowances when cutting out the pieces.

Pattern Assembly

Sew the front centre seam
Sew the back centre seam
Sew together the front and back, first at the sides, then at the shoulders
Sew together both halves of each sleeve
Attach sleeve to body
If you have chosen to make the arm holes bigger, start sewing at the armpit and sew up one side about half-way. Then do the same on the other. Now sew a tacking thread through the rest of the arm piece and draw to the correct size, then sew in place with the gathers over the shoulder.
Attach hood to body, having hemmed the front edge first
Tack in place starting at centre-back. When tacked in place the front edges of the hood should come past the shoulder seam by a couple of inches. The hemming of the front of the neck is done in one continuous session with the final attaching of the hood.
Hem sleeves and bottom



A ridiculously simple cloak pattern

This pattern is very simple indeed – but very effective and above all quick.


4 yards of 60 inch wide fabric.
About 5 ft of fine satin curtain rope to act as a drawstring and necktie.


Chalk for marking out.
Sharp scissors.
Sewing machine. (Or a needle if you don’t have access to one).

Take the fabric and hem all the way up both sides. Now sew over about 4 inches at the top and then sew the tube formed again, about 3 inches down from the top; this will give you two tubes across the top of the cloak, the top one of about 3 inches and the bottom of 1 inch. Sew together the open ends of the 3 inch holes. This will give you a ruffle round the neck. If you don’t want a ruffle just sew over a little over 1 inch. If you want a hood use the hood pattern from one of the other patterns. This leaves you with a 1 inch tube across the cloak open at each end.

Now comes the fun part, feeding the drawstring through the tube. The classic method of doing this is to fasten a safety pin to one end of the chord and to work it through slowly. A much quicker way is to take a length of glass fibre rod (former for making weapons), bamboo pole or any other long straight object and slide this through the tube. Now stick the rope to the end of the rod with a length of sticky tape and pull it back through. Okay so its not the classic method but its a lot quicker and saves a lot of frustration trying to work it through with a safety pin.

Now gather the material up around the neck until you have a nice fit (keep trying the cloak on until it’s right). Once you have a good fit put a small stitch in at either end of the drawstring to stop it slipping and hold it fast. Now tie a neckbow and cut off any excess rope leaving enough to seal off the ends of the rope with a fancy knot.

Unless you are quite tall the cloak will probably be too long. The final stage is to cut the cloak to length. I have found the best length to be just above mid calf. Anything longer tends to catch on things and drag along the ground. Stand upright with the cloak on and mark off a point just above your mid calf (its a lot easier to get a friend to do this but if you are on you own you will have to do it by trial and error). Once you have got the length right mark across about 1 inch below this point, cut off the excess and sew up the bottom hem. Some people round off the two bottom corners as well but this is really a matter of choice.


A full cloak pattern

This pattern creates a 5 foot long semi-circular cloak with a hood and capelet. If you do not want the hood or capelet, simply leave them out.


Fabric: 5 yards of 60 inch wide plain fabric (no designs, no stripes, …)
just over 5 feet of string, thread, yarn…
1 Pen, pencil, or piece of chalk.
Fabric Glue or a sewing machine.
Measuring tape or ruler
Measure from base of your neck to the floor (either with a measuing tape or by marking a piece of string and measuring the string with a ruler). If you measured over 65 inches, this pattern will be a bit short for you.

Cutting Out Pieces











You will need 1 Cape, 1 Capelet, and 2 Head panels. Put the fabric flat, unfolded on the floor. Tie a piece of string to some chalk, make the string 60″. (You could also use pencil/pen).

Put the chalk at the top left corner and the string along the top. Mark the point the string ends. Have someone hold down the end of the string on this point. Move the chalk in an half-circle to draw the cape.

Cut the string to 30″. Find the point at the center of the capelet (30″ down and 30″ right from the top right) and mark it. Place the end of the string on this point and have someone hold it there. Move the chalk in a circle to draw the capelet. Draw a line from the middle point to the edge.

Cut the string down to 6″. Place the end on the point you made for the cape and draw a half-circle. Cut the string down to 3″. Place the end on the point you made for the capelet and draw a full-circle.

Draw 2 hood sections. You’ll need the ruler for this part.

Cut along the lines you drew.
Putting it together
Place the 2 hood panels together with right sides in. Attach along the top and back edges. Not the front (face hole) or bottom (neck hole).

Place the cape flat on the floor, outside up. Place the capelet flat on top of it, outside up so that the edges of the neck overlaps that of the cape. Attach them.

Place the cape/capelet flat on the floor, outside/capelet up. Place the hood on top of that, inside up, so that the edges of the neck overlap. Attach them.

Hem the edges of the cape and capelet.

Cut strips of fabric to use as ties. Make sure they don’t stretch to be longer if pulled on (only a problem with strechy fabrics). Attach the strips at the edges of the neckline.