Monk habit Pattern: Help with Design Details

Ecclesiastical sewing can sometimes be akin to a lost art form.  This is true even when it comes to making monk habits for monastic life. The making of monastic habits is shrouded in a bit of mystery. The story I was told is that the garments used to be made  by the in-house tailor at the monastery. The tailor knew how to make the habits, and had the patterns.  As the tailors aged and were no longer around to make the habits, the skills and knowledge was lost. Another story I was told is that sometimes patterns were traced and copied, and in the process, the design lines became distorted, which affected the fit and function of the garments.

Quite some time ago, several posts were written about a monk habit pattern that was in the process of being drafted. Since the pattern appears to be an item of interest for many people, it is going to move up the priority list. There are two other patterns currently in the works, and the monk habit pattern will fall in line right behind those patterns.  But in order to offer a pattern that is usable, I need some help from you, my readers. I need to have some specifics on what type of pattern is needed.

The pattern currently in the drafting stages in a Benedictine style. It is a simple monk habit that has a high, close fitting collar, a front placket opening, long 2-piece sleeves, welt pockets on the chest, and at the waist, and side openings to access pant pockets.  That is the basics of the pattern.  And here is where you can help. If you are aware of specific design details, such as:

  •  does the back pattern piece has a seam or is placed on a fold
  •  what is a functional width for the lower edge of the sleeve
  •  what is a good width for the hemline – a nice fullness that is not cumbersome
  • what is a good length for the front placket opening
  • is a placket opening better than an opening that goes to the bottom hem (a photo of this would help)
  • is a placket opening in the front open  preferred or is it better to have the front opening extend all the way to the hem
  • How many buttons are ideal for the placket opening, and what size works best
  • where should the sleeve cap sit – at the top of the shoulder or should the sleeve cap be a slight drop shoulder

These may seem like simple and obvious questions, but details, however simple, make a difference in the final outcome. And the goal is to develop a usable and correct pattern for all of you. So thank you for any help you may all have to offer.  Once the pattern is in a “beta” or trial stage, I may need a few volunteers to help test the pattern out.  Please keep checking back for updates.

Solo Dei Gloria

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Filed under: Ecclesiastical Sewing Tagged: Ecclesiastical Sewing, Monk Habit Pattern


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