How to Create a Liturgical Stole

Updated February 21, 2017

A liturgical stole is a long piece of cloth worn around the shoulders by the clergy in the Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, Methodist and Eastern Orthodox churches. Despite its appearance when worn, the stole is not a straight piece of cloth but is rather made up of multiple parts, curved to lay flat on the pastor or deacon's shoulders. Creating a stole thus requires some sewing, as well as a little embroidery if decorated, but is still a fairly simple project.

Draw a pattern for the shoulder piece of the stole. Begin by outlining a wide pie-slice shape on a large piece of paper, as wide as your pastor's shoulders. The angle of the two straight edges should be about 130 degrees. Draw a curved line near the point of the slice for the back of the neck. If you have difficulty drawing symmetrically, fold the paper in half and only draw half of the shoulder piece instead.

Cut out the pattern, cutting along the curved line you drew and snipping off the point. Pin the pattern to the cloth you will be using for the stole and cut it out. Repeat with another piece of fabric for the inside of the stole.

Cut four rectangles of fabric, 8 inches wide and of the right length to fit your pastor. Approximately 50 inches is generally a good length if you are unsure. These will be the front and back of the two parts that hang from the shoulders to the floor.

Embroider liturgical designs onto the stole if you so desire. These are best placed approximately 8 inches from the bottom of each length, or on the back of the shoulder piece. If you lack the skills necessary, feel free to leave the stole undecorated or have an assistant do it for you.

Cut the lengths at an angle near the top so that they will hang straight when attached to the shoulder piece. Sew tassels to the bottom ends of the front pieces, securing dangling ends with masking tape if they get in the way while working. Sew the upper ends to the two corners of the shoulder piece in such a way that the seam is on the inside. Sew the inside front pieces to the inside shoulder piece in the same way.

Pin the front and back of the stole face-to-face and sew them together, leaving a gap near the back of the neck. Turn the entire stole right-way out again, pulling the lengths through the hole at the neck. Sew the neck gap closed to complete the stole.

Things You'll Need

  • Fabric
  • Knotted fringe
  • Patterns
  • Scissors
  • Paper
  • Pins
  • Embroidery designs (optional)
  • Sewing machine or needle and thread
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About the Author

Mark Keller has been writing everything from short stories to political commentary over the course of the past decade. He has written professionally since 2009 with articles appearing on,, and various other websites. He is a theater major at Hillsdale College in Michigan.