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Medieval Monk Saga

September 23, 2015

This project has been a long time in the making.  Back story: my dad is really into studying history and likes to participate in Civil War reenactments.  He uses only historically accurate clothing and equipment; my mom had made him several shirts and he has commissioned wool uniforms and military coats (because Mom is smart to say no to making those).  He also uses the uniforms as his Halloween costume.  He has been a Union infantry man circa 1864 for 20+ years.

But not this year!  Two years ago he started asking Mom to make him a monk robe in wool (to be historically accurate I guess), because he wanted to buy a sword and go to renaissance fairs… Mom refused so he decided I would make it for him.  We talked him out of the wool and instead bought some thick, loosely woven, unbleached cotton from Dharma Trading Co. and dyed it brown.


I slowly worked on it for the next year and finally finished earlier this year, but just now have been able to get pictures of him wearing it.  I didn’t use a pattern, there weren’t any I thought would be worth tracking down (most robe like costume patterns seem to be out of print), and it’s mostly just rectangles anyways.

Watching Robin Hood for reference

Watching Robin Hood for reference

Because of the loose weave of the fabric I serged all the edges after cutting.


We did have one “fitting” midway through and I had to take in the shoulders a couple inches because I was purposefully making the size very generous.  I don’t live near my parents so it’s difficult to visualize fit on something like this (it swamps me).  There is a large pocket inside one of the sleeves, big enough to hold a book, by request.  The hem is actually 12″ deep, with a 12″ split on each side, to give it a nice weight on bottom and make the finishing cleaner looking from the outside.  There is a button closer in the back (it could be used as the front too though) with knotted leather buttons.  The neckline ended up being pretty big unfortunately, I finished it with brown pre-made bias tape.  I forgot to get a picture of him without the hood and cape, not that it’s very exciting.

Monk (7)

Monk (1)

Monk (2)

I love how big the hood is.  It’s just a big rectangle, folded in half and gathered to fit the neck of the cape.  The back of the cape is not my favorite, but months after cutting out the shapes I decided it wasn’t big enough but didn’t have enough fabric for a new one so I had to piece together leftover fabric.  It worked out and it’s still dramatically big.  The cape hem is also finished with pre-made bias tape and closes in front with the same leather buttons.

Monk (3)

Monk (4)

Monk (6)

Monk (5)

Now he keeps saying he needs a hat, but I’m not sure what kind he’s talking about, hopefully I don’t have to make it!  I’ve also heard him talk about using this as a Jedi costume.



5 Comments leave one →
  1. September 23, 2015 8:28 am

    Fabulous! How much fun to make it and see it being worn with such enthusiasm.

  2. September 29, 2015 2:26 pm

    You did a great job! The gauze fabric is perfect.


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