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

Be sure to visit our online store front Ecclesiastical Sewing where you may shop for Liturgical Fabrics, altar linen fabrics, church vestment making patterns, liturgical machine embroidery designschurch vestment trims and notions and so much more. You may also find us on  Ecclesiastical Sewing  on Facebook , Twitter, and Pinterest. Sing up for our mailing list  at the bottom of the page on our online store front and receive a free copy of our Small Linens Booklet as our way of saying thank you for following along.

3 Comments »

  1. My husband was a Benedictine monk in simple vows for several years. He would be willing to help consult with you on the habit he wore during his time in the moastery. We could communicate here or via e-mail, just let me know.

    Like

    • Everyone has been so kind with offers to help with the monk habit pattern!

      Thank your for the offer for consulting on the habit. I will be out of town for a few days, and hope to contact everyone when I get back.

      Blessings, Carrie

      Like

      • Hi Carrie,
        I came across you post and I think I can be of great help and you in turn you maybe able to provide great help for me. I am a Benedcitine monk of the American-Cassinese congregation and I have been looking for a habit pattern for sometime. See my mother is a decent enough seamstress but she is very bad at / unwilling to make a pattern for me from my habit. I could send you detailed pictures of our habits if you would like. Or I might even be able to send you an old/worn out one for you to dissect. But I was wondering if I did that if there is a chance you might be willing to share a copy of the pattern you come up with with me so that I can have my mother make me a new everyday habit to wear?
        I will check back on here periodically and if your interested in the photos or whatnot let me know and we can come up with a safe/secure way to exchange emails or the like.
        God bless,
        Br. Demetrius OSB

        Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s