How to make a monk robe

Written by andrea lott haney
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Whether for a stage production or a Halloween costume, a monk's robe makes a comfortable costume that can be made with only beginning sewing skills. Create your monk's robe using lightweight cotton fabric for cool air circulation under hot stage lights or at outdoor summer festivals and make it big enough to wear street clothes underneath for a cold Halloween evening. A simple monk's robe can be customised to your needs for future wear.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Long robe or tunic pattern
  • Hooded sweatshirt
  • 4-6 yards brown cotton fabric
  • 3 yards of 1-inch wide rustic rope
  • Leather lacing remnant
  • Seam ripper
  • Scissors
  • Thread
  • Sewing machine
  • Measuring tape
  • Iron and ironing board

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  1. 1

    Lay out the robe or tunic pattern pieces on a double layer of fabric, pin in place and cut the fabric to size. If you do not have a robe or tunic sewing pattern, lay down a robe that fits you well and use a fabric pen to trace around it loosely, allowing for extra length if you want your monk's robe to reach the floor since many robes only reach mid-calf.

  2. 2

    Use the seam ripper to separate the hood from the sweatshirt. Rip the centre seam of the hood until the hood lays flat. Pin the hood to a single layer of fabric. Since it is unlikely that you will want to or be able to reassemble the hooded sweatshirt, use one that you no longer wear or purchase one at a thrift store for this purpose.

  3. 3

    Cut around the flattened hood. To make the hood for your monk's robe slightly larger than it was on the hooded sweatshirt, leave 1/2-inch margin around the flattened hood when cutting. Remove the flattened sweatshirt hood.

  4. 4

    Fold the fabric hood piece so that the fabric's right side is inside the fold and pin along the centre seam. Stitch as pinned. Hem around the outer edge of the hood.


  1. 1

    Turn the pieces of the tunic or robe so that the right sides of the fabric face each other. Pin around the perimeter.

  2. 2

    Stitch around the sleeves, and side edges, leaving an opening for the head and at the bottom. Hem the bottom edge to the desired length.

  3. 3

    Create an opening at the neck by making a five-inch vertical cut in the centre front of the robe. With the robe inside out, fold under each edge of the vertical cut 1/4 inch and press, and then fold over again 1/4 inch and press. Stitch as pressed to finish off the neck opening.

  4. 4

    Stitch around the top opening of the robe using a long stitch on your sewing machine. Leave the threads long at one end. Pull the top thread to gather the top edge.

  5. 5

    Pin the hood to the top opening of the robe, with the right sides of the fabric together, leaving the front slit for the neck open in front. Stitch as pinned.

  6. 6

    Hem the lower edge of the sleeves to length. Stitch a 3-inch piece of leather lacing to the inside of each neck opening edge.

  7. 7

    Wear the robe with the rustic rope tied around the waist for a belt.

Tips and warnings

  • A monk robe can double as a Jedi costume, can be dyed to be a ghost or magician costume, or used as a biblical period costume in passion plays.
  • Try the robe on or hold it up to check for size after each step. It's easier to make alterations as you go rather than waiting until the project is finished.

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