How to sew a nun's habit

Written by nicole palmby
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How to sew a nun's habit
A nun's habit is a garment that even beginning sewers can make. (Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

A nun's habit is a common costume used for Halloween as well as plays and skits. Many church events also require a nun's habit. If you need a nun's habit through most of the year, it can be difficult to find one. Fortunately, it is easy to make one of your own. Though there are many different styles based on different religious orders, the simple black habit with white wimple are the most recognised.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • 6 or 7 yards of black jersey fabric
  • Fabric marker or fabric chalk
  • Scissors
  • Black thread
  • Sewing machine
  • 5 yards of black jersey fabric
  • 1/2 yard of white jersey fabric
  • 12 inches of 1-inch wide elastic
  • 7 feet of black nylon rope curtain tiebacks

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Instructions

    Sleeves and Skirt

  1. 1

    Wash and dry all of the fabric. Lay the 6 to 7 yards of black fabric out and fold it in half so the wrong side of the fabric is out and the fold is at the top.

  2. 2

    Measure about 8 inches from the fold on the left edge of the fabric and mark it with your fabric marker. This is the cuff of one sleeve. Repeat this on the right edge of the fabric. This is the cuff of the other sleeve.

  3. 3

    Mark the fabric 12 inches from the fold and 26 inches from the left edge. This is where the bottom of the sleeve meets the bodice of the habit. Connect this mark with the sleeve mark on the edge of the fabric. This is your sleeve. Repeat this on the right edge of the fabric.

  4. 4

    Mark your fabric from the bottom corner of the left sleeve to the bottom left corner of the fabric. This is the bodice and skirt of your habit. Repeat this on the right side.

  5. 5

    Use the marks you drew for the sleeves and bodice to cut the excess fabric from your habit. Sew the fabric under the sleeves and down both sides of the bodice and skirt. The fabric should now look like an inside out habit with no neck opening.

    Neckline and Stole

  1. 1

    Mark the centre of the fabric between the two sleeves at the fold. This is the centre of your neckline. Measure 7 inches to the left and right of the centre and mark these points. Mark down the stole at these points all the way to the bottom edge. These are the left and right edges of your stole. Use the marks as a guide and cut away the excess fabric.

  2. 2

    Measure about 5 inches to the left and right of the centre and mark these points. These are the edges of your neckline. Measure 4 or 5 inches from the centre neckline mark down the habit and mark it with your fabric marker. This is the front of your neckline.

  3. 3

    Erase the centre neckline mark, then connect the three remaining neckline marks to draw your neckline. Cut the fabric on the line to make the neckline of your habit.

  4. 4

    Fold the 5 yards of black fabric in half so the fold is at the top. Mark the centre of the fabric at the fold. This is the centre of the stole neckline. Measure about 5 inches to the left and right of the centre mark and make marks at these points. These are the edges of your neckline.

  5. 5

    Measure 4 or 5 inches from the centre neckline mark down the stole and mark it with your fabric marker. Erase the centre neckline mark, then connect the three remaining neckline marks to draw your neckline. Cut the fabric on the line to make the neckline of your stole.

    Veil and Sash

  1. 1

    Use the remaining black fabric to cut a rectangle measuring 12 by 20 inches. Cut a rectangle of white fabric measuring 3 by 16 inches.

  2. 2

    Center the narrow edge of the black rectangle on the long edge of the white rectangle and sew them together.

  3. 3

    Cut 6 or 7 inches of elastic and sew the ends to either end of the white fabric to make a circle. This is the veil of the habit.

  4. 4

    Tie a knot in each end of the rope curtain tiebacks. Tie additional knots in the rope at regular intervals. This is the sash of the habit.

Tips and warnings

  • The habit can be altered to fit the wearer or to have a different look.
  • Jersey fabric edges don't need to be hemmed, but can be to make a more finished look.
  • Other fabrics, such as cotton or linen, can be used to make the habit.

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