How to Make a Nun Habit Costume

A nun in habit
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A nun's habit is a popular costume and it seems like a pretty easy DIY project. Unfortunately, sewing patterns can be scarce. Don't worry, though, there are a few easy options available to you! Beyond actual nun costume patterns, you can also make a few customizations to a similar sewing pattern or scrounge a few items for a habit that doesn't require any sewing at all.

Nun Habit Sewing Patterns

The Etsy shop, PaperScissorsFrocks, has a nun costume pattern available. After purchasing it, you'll be able to instantly download and print out the patterns on regular-sized paper. It's the full habit, complete with the scapular, wimple, and veil, along with step-by-step instructions for sewing.

If you can find it, Simplicity 2518 is an older set of women's costume patterns that includes a nun costume. It's no longer in print but is sometimes up for sale on the used market, including on Etsy and eBay.

Adapting Similar Patterns

Another option that can help you get started is to look for choir robe and similar costume patterns. With a little ingenuity, it's possible to cobble a few pieces together pieces to produce an acceptable version of a nun's habit.

Look at the various costume pattern options that are available. Converting one into a habit is often as simple as changing the color of fabric and the shape of the collar or headdress. Here are some examples:

  • Butterick 3820: Unisex Robe and Collar
  • Butterick 4542: Children's/Boy's/Girl's Robe and Collar
  • Simplicity 4213: Adult Costumes; Both the tunics and headpieces can be adapted into a habit.

Even when these particular patterns are out of print, you'll likely be able to find current patterns that can be converted in similar ways. Look at each costume objectively and critically, then get creative to make the changes necessary.

A No-Sew Nun Costume

If you can't find a pattern and don't want to mess around with adapting another, try making a no-sew costume. It requires just a few items that you may already have at home or can pick up at thrift stores. This one is perfect for a last-minute nun costume and comes together surprisingly well.

What You Need

  • An old graduation robe or a plain long black dress with long sleeves. Or, a long black skirt and a long-sleeve black shirt.
  • Black leather belt or sash or knotted rope
  • White t-shirt
  • Black t-shirt
  • Black athletic shoes
  • Black socks or tights
  • Large crucifix or a cross threaded on a cord
  • Rosary
  • Prayer book or Bible

How to Make It

  1. Put on the black robe or dress or skirt and top. Cinch it with a black leather belt or sash or knotted rope.
  2. Use the white t-shirt to make a wimple by putting your face through the neck opening. Don't pull it over your head; only your face (and no hair!) should be showing. Throw the sleeves behind your head and let the extra material below your chin gather loosely on your chest.
  3. Drape the black t-shirt over the head like a veil, tucking in the sleeves.
  4. Finish up the look by putting on black athletic shoes and socks or tights. Carrying a large crucifix or cross to hang around your neck, a rosary and prayer book or Bible complete the outfit.