The clothes make the Witch or sometimes the Witch makes the ritual clothing. Witches and Pagans enjoy sewing their own ritual clothing. Some of you may be familiar with the information on sewing in this article. If you are new to it, I hope you gain something by reading this post.
A ritual robe is hard work. Once you master the basics of stitching in a straight line, and you know your seam ripper from your bobbin, your ritual robe will be the envy of everyone at the ritual.
Be practical when making a ritual robe. The first thing to consider is the function of the outfit. Decide whether you want to create something for Samhain or Beltaine or to wear all year. Decide how many times you will wear it. Make it comfortable and flattering.
When you sew a ritual robe, it is tailored to fit you. You put your energy into the garment when you make it yourself. It would make good economical sense to sew something that can be worn to more than one event.
A lovely cloak pattern is the Simplicity pattern based on the Lord of the Rings character Galadriel. The patterns referred to in this article are shown near the end. The cloak pattern has a full sweep of the cloak, can make you feel powerful, and sweeps leaves off of the sidewalk.
The tools required are a sewing machine, and good scissors only used for sewing, a seam ripper, bobbins, thread in an array of colors, sewing needles for machine and hand stitching, a pin cushion, fabric, bias tape, ribbons, patterns, tape, an iron, ironing board, and a tool for marking patterns onto your fabric. Get a basket or pouch to keep your sewing tools in one place so they are organized and easy to find.
Find a pattern in a size that fits you and if you are unsure, ask at the fabric store for help. Become good friends with the salespeople there for their expertise. Measure yourself to ensure the pattern will fit. Ask a friend to measure you with a measuring tape.
Unless you have a huge sewing table, you may have to cut out your pattern on the floor. Always clean your floor and perhaps put your curious animal familiars in another room till you are done. When you cut out the pattern, pay attention to the cutting layouts. This will help you save fabric. Cut the pattern out carefully. Take your time. This determines how the outfit will appear later. If you tear your pattern, repair it with scotch tape. A pattern can be reused if it is treated well.
For example, let’s say you want to sew a ritual robe. We are familiar with the basic t-shaped ritual robe. The Lord of the Rings pattern includes a dress pattern that can be used as a ritual robe. The pattern is nineteen pieces. You do not need to use all the pieces. The pattern can be sewn it in any fabric you choose, including cotton. It is a difficult pattern to sew.
Here are a few things to keep in mind about this pattern. Once you figure out the pattern, you will understand it better. The sleeves drape and are long. The point of the sleeve always points toward the floor. The sleeves are in two parts. The long part gathers, one of the things I love about the pattern. The underside of the sleeve is done in a French seam. Any kind of decoration can be added to embellish the sleeves: lace, ribbons, glitter, beads, trim, embroidery or piping cord. The sleeves are lined. The cap sleeve can be embroidered or sewn with lace. The collar of the gown can be adorned with lace. It is up to the wearer.
First, sew the body of the dress. The front and the back are each in three parts: the center, and side center parts, which attach to the center front piece, same with the back. It is important to mark in notches after cutting out the pattern but before removing the patterns. This way, you will know your pattern pieces apart from each other. This can save you anguish and confusion later.
Begin with the center front piece and mark your notches, stay stitch at the edges, and sew your side front pieces to the center front, same with the center back. You then sew the dress together at the shoulder seams.
Try the dress on now to ensure it will fit you properly then stitch the dress together at the side seams. Lose your fear of the seam ripper. It is your unsung hero. Try the dress on in front of a mirror. Note any incomplete seams or small repairs to make now. Make sure you stitch a reasonable seam allowance. You want to feel witchy in it, not as if you must starve yourself to fit it.
Be sure to not stitch right up to the top of the center back of the dress. The zipper is sewn on after the sleeves and collar are done. You will have to seam rip to undo the stitching.
Add interfacing to the upper sleeve and collar. This gives fullness to the fabric. The lower sleeves are lined. Once the sleeves are finished, they can be sewn together and sewn to the garment. Sewing in an upper sleeve is best done with patience. Do not rush this stage of sewing. Add many pins to the garment and sleeve, easing in fullness. Add your embellishments before sewing the sleeve to the dress. Take your time with this step. Always sew right sides together. Place the sleeve inside the dress to have the right sides together. Sew the sleeve in with care and it will look beautiful and feel right when worn. This is not a project to rush to completion. Care taken now ensures a nice ritual robe when finished.
The same goes when sewing in the collar. If there are many layers of fabric, sew it by hand. Your sewing machine needle may not cooperate when sewing. It is a good idea to have more than one spool of thread and threaded bobbins to sew the robe. Trim the edges of the collar to give it a finished look.
Hem the dress and add the zipper. Baste the zipper and use a zipper foot or a regular presser foot to stitch in the zipper. After, undo the basting stitch. The zipper is attached face down. Sew in one direction when stitching in the zipper, straight down on both sides.
You can let the dress hang overnight then hem the dress. Or mark and hem it after you have completed the other steps. Your other option is to line the dress, which hides the stitches and adds more body to your garment. Fusible interfacing is ironed onto a garment. Some interfacings can be sewn onto the garment. Fusible interfacing is easy to do. It gives support to a waistband or collar.
If you have stitched a consistent 5/8” inch of a seam, pressed, and always put in your sewing pins parallel to the seam allowance, your garment will look fabulous. The above tips are the basic backbone of sewing. Iron and iron again. This gives the beautiful illusion of a tailored ritual gown. Do not sew over sewing pins. If you break a needle, buy extra when getting your fabric and pattern to replace the needle. Invest in good quality sewing tools. Sewing is hard work and requires patience and persistence. The reward comes after one has mastered the basics.
After sewing the dress with sleeves, collar, zipper and having hemmed the dress, your beautiful ritual robe is ready to wear. Think of how magical it is now. You poured your energy into it after the hard work of making it. It will truly fit you and can be worn more than once. If you chose the color that flatters you and enhance your features, you will look bewitching.
Enjoy adding beads, glitter or jewelry such as circlets, crowns, tiaras, or what have you to the ritual gown. The more care taken and attention to the basics of sewing, the more magical you will look and feel. Sew a cloak in a corresponding color to the gown and you will have an outfit. Add a crown and wand to complete the look. All that is needed is a magical oak and ash broomstick to carry you off to the ritual.
The patterns used are as follows: gown Simplicity pattern 4940 and the cloak is Simplicity pattern 9887. The other patterns can be used for ritual wear. The patterns are as follows: Simplicity pattern 3632 and Simplicity pattern 9454.
Regardless of which pattern is made, the rules apply to all patterns. Master the basics of a straight seam allowance, use your seam ripper to neatly undo stitches for correction, and never take your anger out on your sewing garment. Halfway into the sewing project is when sewing gets tricky.
Here are some more tips to help beautify your garment.
Sew embroidery to a garment can be ironed on material and either glued or sewn to the garment once the embroidery is finished, unless you are lucky to track down trim on the Internet.
Take the same care with your lining as you do with the garment.
Use your imagination when enhancing the ritual robe.
Add your own preferred style or mark to the garment. Do not be afraid to be original. Your friends might ask you for tips.
Round the hood of the cloak and line it, which adds fullness to the hood. Knits are ideal material for cloaks. Knits hang well and are a good weight for a cloak. Sew on tassels, side trim, lining, embroidery; whatever strikes your fancy to the cloak. Savor the feeling of the power of your own handmade cloak sweeping the sidewalk clear of leaves as you head to the ritual.
To embellish a cloak, here are some suggestions: find oak leaves in nature and trace a pattern from the oak leaves onto the front of the cloak in a contrasting color.
Put trim or embroidery on both front edges of the cloak. Attach triquetra pieces of jewelry or other Celtic symbols to a cloak to add a Celtic flair, if you wish.
Add a cloak clasp to match the type of cloak you are making. Celtic clasps may be found on the Internet or at a local fabric store. Cloak clasps can be purchased at a metaphysical store in your neighborhood or online. It does not need to cost lots of money. Sew a pocket on the inside of your cloak to hold your magical items.
Store scrap fabric that can be reused. You never know if you need to repair a robe or cloak at the last minute and having fabric that closely matches your garment can be a lifesaver. Keep ribbons, trims, tassels, embroidery floss, buttons, and zippers that are in good reusable condition. You may be inspired to add a strip of trim to a witch hat or tunic.
Keep your sewing tools in good condition. They will serve you through many a sewing project. Like altar tools, they too store energy. Keep them organized and easy to find.
Enjoy your ritual robe or cloak. Dedicate it to your ritual wear and be magically blessed by the God and Goddess.
Heddy Johannesen is a full-time freelance writer with over twenty published magazine credits to her name, including a book of poetry. She writes constantly, supervised by a furry feline animal familiar named Lady Shadow.