Monk Habit Pattern

Today, let’s revisit the Monk Habit. Creating a new pattern for Ecclesiastical Sewing is a long process. It often takes several attempts to obtain a good pattern that works for design, fit, and construction of the intended vestment.  It is a process.  Creating the pattern for this Ecclesiastical Vestment has been even more of a challenge because of the historical considerations that must be taken into account with the creation of a Monk Habit Pattern.

The first draft of the pattern is completed. The  pattern will be cut  and sewn several times to check design lines and fit. Once the basic pattern is finalized and all of the pieces work together from a construction and fit stand point, the monk habit pattern will be graded to different sizes.

Monk Habit Ready to be Returned
Monk Habit Ready to be Returned

Monk habits are historical garments which were often made in the monastery by a tailor. Each monastery or order may have their own unique design variations for their habits. The patterns and construction techniques were always  guarded carefully, being kept very hushed and secretive. As times have changed, monasteries moved away from wearing or making habits. The patterns and knowledge relating to this type of Ecclesiastical Sewing has been vanishing with the death of the tailors who once made the garments. The traditional Monk Habit patterns are often lost, along with the knowledge of traditional construction techniques.

Recovery of knowledge on constructing monk habits is another example of recovering the history of Ecclesiastical Sewing for the Church.  When considering the making of Monk Habits, there will be those who desire the historical accuracy of following techniques that  have been used for generations. Others are seeking to update both the fit and construction techniques of Monk Habits.  Regardless of which viewpoint is being followed, there is always room in Ecclesiastical Sewing of Church Vestments for some change. When it comes to sewing, most of the time, there is more than one way to complete a project. The undertaking, of those who wish to hold fast to the methods that have been employed for hundreds of years in the making of monk habits, is wonderful and noble .  But should one be  rigidly locked into always doing things a certain way because that is how it has always been done?  That is a question for the great sages.  I can only say to those desiring change to improve fit and to simplify construction of Monk Habits: be considerate of the long history and the traditional designs. Make changes slowly, so as not to offend, and only with approval. Maintain design integrity where possible, while at the same time making changes that will improve fit, or any other problems.

For those who are opposed to any sort of change, not matter how slight, one should consider:  is the proposed change needed to  improve fit, making the Monk Habit more functional?  Often, over the years, patterns that are copied repeatedly can become distorted.  If the distortions are not corrected, the result will eventually be a garment that does not fit or function. Correcting a pattern’s fit so the arms and sleeves provide freedom of movement, or to correct the fit of a collar or neckline are not necessarily bad things. Basic standards of  fit and comfort are needed in order to function while wearing any garment. One needs only to look at the chasuble, another vestment worn by priests, to see how that changed over the years.

Chasubles Through Time
Chasubles Through Time

It is important to respect and maintain traditions while at the same time having Monk Habits that will be functional,  practical, and wearable. It is my hope and prayer for those experiencing problems with the making of Monk Habits may work together to respect traditions and be able to create garments that will be of benefit to the wearers in their life of service to the Glory of God. To that end, the project of pattern drafting continues.

Solo Dei Gloria

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  1. Hi Carrie –

    I’m a postulant at a Benedictine Monastery in Colorado and they’ve asked me to look into the possibility of using my sewing skills on Habits – and I’m looking for a pattern. I can get some photos for you. I’m not sure what you might want phtoos of, though.

      • Hi Marie,
        Thank you for the offer to help. Once the pattern is available, it will be good to have people willing to give it a try. I will keep you posted.


    • Hi Bruce,
      It looks like the monk habit pattern is going to move up the priority list to the top spot in the coming weeks. I would be everyone’ patience, as to ensure a good pattern, we will be going through the process of developing fit samples for each size. I will be sure to add a scapular and hood to the pattern.

      I could use the help of everyone who has expressed an interest in this pattern. If you would let me know if you have any photos of a monk’s habit, or any specific design detail, that would be helpful.

      Thank you for your interest.


    • Hi,
      I am working on a monk pattern, but it will be a little while before it is ready for sale. It will most likely be late spring or early summer before we have had a chance to work through all of the pattern grading and fit samples. I will be sure to post when the pattern is complete and ready for sale.

      Thank you for your patience.


    • Hi Marie,
      The pattern is not ready for sale yet. We are still working through the fit samples and grading of the pattern. If all goes well, this pattern, along with several others will be ready by late spring or early summer.

      I will be sure to keep everyone updated on the process.

      Thank you,

    • Hi Mac,
      I am in the process of having sizing specs worked out for each pattern, having them graded for different sizes, and then ready for sale. The process is going to take a bit of time, but I hope to have the Monk pattern, along with several others ready by late spring or early summer. I will be sure to post updates as patterns are available.

      Thank you for your patience as we work through this process.


  2. Hi Carrie,

    I would love to purchase a copy of this pattern if available. I am learning to sew and would love to use this pattern for my class!

    I’d email you but not sure how to from this site.

    • HI,
      I am sorry for the slow response. We have a wedding in the family this weekend. I will be able to respond about the availability of the monk pattern shortly after the New Year.

      Thank you for your understanding.

    • Hi Jacques,
      This pattern should be available in a few more weeks. Please let me know what size and if you might need it before the store front gets open. We are delayed with photo editing at the moment.

      Best regards,

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