It is not always easy to balance my innate inclination to accumulate stuff thinking it can be useful one day, and the need to preserve the space at home. Once I donated an unused brown fitted sheet to a charity shop, only to discover months later that I absolutely needed it for my son’s monk costume for the forthcoming school play…

My son was chosen as Bede Monk in a recent school play. I was asked to make his costume only one week before the play. I planned to make it out of an old brown bed sheet I had somewhere. I desperately searched it in the bedding drawers, fabric and cut-outs stash and in all the boxes in the garage, only to remember, after a while, that I had donated it to a charity shop a few months earlier! So, even more desperately, I browsed the internet and all the haberdasheries and the homeware shops in my town looking for a large piece of brown fabric/sheet to make a “blessed” monk tunic…

In the end I opted for an online purchase with delivery in a short time – they said – but after a week I was still waiting for the delivery!!!

I tried to convince Lollo to wear a brown t-shirt with a cord tied at the waist, like a very minimalist monk. He was not happy at all… until a friend of mine, mum to another “monk” at school, enlightened me: “I made and sewed the monk costume from a WHITE sheet, which I have coloured then with a brown fabric dye”. Brilliant! I jumped at that idea straightaway. Cut and sewed in less than an hour from a white flat sheet, brown coloured in an hour, sun dried in two, here is my monk costume!

Monk costume from a single bed sheet at

You will need

  • Single flat sheet (240×170 cm)
  • Brown fabric dye (optional if you are lucky and have a brown sheet!!!)
  • For the accessories: 1.5 m cord, crucifix*


  • sewing machine
  • dressmaking scissors
  • thread
  • tape measure

How to…

Monk Costume free pattern at

Fold the flat sheet in half-length, and in half again, you will obtain a rectangle 120×85 cm. Mark the sleeve, the half front (=back) tunic (1) and a quarter neck-hole, following my free printable pattern. Cut through the four layers where you see the thick line in the pattern.

How to cut a monk tunic at

Unfold the fabric once. Sew both sides where you see the dashed line in the pattern. Hem the sleeves (about 10 cm for my son) where you see the dashed line. Et-voila! Here is the tunic.

(2) In the two-layer left remnant mark a semicircle (cowl), cut it and sew where you see the dashed line. Sew the cowl hem, 1 cm.

(3) In the two-layer right remnant mark a trapezoidal shape (hood), cut it and sew where you see the dashed line.

Hand sew the seam of the neck cowl with a longish straight stitch, then pull up the threads on each side to gather up the fabric. Make it as long as the hood base. Sew together the hood base and the cowl neck gathered (dotted lines). You can keep separate the hooded cowl or sew it to the tunic neck seam, as I did.


And now, follow the instructions on the fabric dye sachet to have a more realistic version of a monk robe! Actually, I expected a more intense colour; I had to use two sachets as one (50 g) is enough for 250 g of fabric while I had about 400 g cotton fabric.

Before and after dyeing a monk tunic at

*While I was sewing the monk habit, my son made a crucifix with lolly sticks and twine to complete his costume.

Crucifix to complete a monk costume at

P.S.: the cotton jersey that I ordered online arrived the day of the play, sigh, too late. And now, what can I do with it??? You know this is a rhetoric question… 😉

Ideas for Halloween costumes? Have a look at these posts: Halloween fun activities and crafts for kids and Halloween costumes for all the family .

PS: I keep donating to charities.

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