I am new to paganism and I am just starting on my path. I am starting to meet up with other pagans in my area and socialize. I am wanting to make my own ritual robe, but I am so confused about what to make, how to make it and what is best for me. Where is a newbie to start with this?
New Pagan Woman
Dear New Pagan Woman,
I remember being in your position, and more than one time! My first attempt at a ritual robe was when I picked up a t-shirt dress at the discount shop and painted pentacles all over it with glitter fabric paint, they eventually fell all off. My second attempt was for my coven robe, where I was told I had to make my own robe from scratch. I didn’t know anything about sewing at the time. I basically cut out a neck hole in some green fabric and then used iron together “stitch witch” to glue up the sides. I think that robe melted apart during ritual about a year later. One thing is for sure, in your life as a pagan, you will go through many robes from wear and tear to just wanting something that fits you spiritual at different points in your life. If you join a coven, you will probably be asked to have a certain type and or color. If you are solitary you will have to find what is right for you as an individual. I have found they all have pluses and minuses to each of them.
Skyclad is a very personal and easy way to practice. You don’t need to sew anything and your body is the only thing standing between you and the universe. This can be a very intense experience. Of course the down sides are that allot of people are not comfortable this way. The possibility of intrusion and shock is also greater in this scenario.
Sarongs are also a very easy way to cover up. They are easy to find at new age shops and I have even seen them in the summer at discount shops as bathing suit cover-ups. You can find some with pagan types of patterns or even animals prints. The best is when you find one with your totem or symbol on them. They are very free and not very restrictive. The down sides are that they can be bothersome at times with the tying and the sides can slip open. They are best used if you are not shy but want some privacy.
Caftans are next on the step up on the easy scale. You can buy one already made from new age shops, India bazaars, and if you are lucky like me, you can find them on sale at flea markets and thrift shops. They are also very easily made. Simply take several yards of fabric, enough to cover your body front and back. Then cut a neck line out in the center and then sew up the sides and hem it. You can find a pattern but even basic sewers can easily wing it. The plus side of that is you can make them out of any fabric that calls you. If you want to work with a fancy pattern that is fine. If you want to make one out of all natural fabrics and focus on decorating it yourself you can. The sky is the limit with a Caftan. The down side is they are at times not the prettiest of robes and do not wear well over time.
You can also go with more specific clothing, such as a gypsy skirt and top or a kilt or loin cloth or skins. I have even seen women in corsets and Fancy dresses. If you are finding yourself drawn to a specific style of dress in any pantheon do not feel shy about going into that. The downsides to having a specific style of dress is that it can be limiting. You may find that the skirt doesn’t work while doing a certain working, or strategically tied skins are too chilly to wear year round. You may find that you work your way into several types of attire throughout the year.
You can always go full on out with any pattern of a robe or cloak that you may happen to find. If you want to make a hooded robe with fancy pockets and sleeves, its up to you. I personally recommend staying away from any fabrics that are too brightly colored, such as lime green, and stay away from anything that can be itchy or uncomfortable. The most important part is that YOU feel comfortable in your robe, skyclad or other attire. Just remember not to over stretch your sewing abilities or budget, as you will have many robes in your future as a pagan.
Jasmine is a 15 year veteran pagan and Wiccan High Priestess and has been a leader in her local pagan community and done spiritual counseling. To submit questions please email JasmineMoon@gmail.com.