How to sew a cassock

Model aged 4 wearing protoype cassock It’s an exciting time here. One boy is preparing for first Holy Communion. Two older boys are learning how to serve Mass, the first altar boys in the family for who knows how long. Then there’s the one in the picture who is helping me learn how to sew a cassock.

Back view of small prototype cassockFirst I bought two secondhand patterns from Etsy. McCalls 2079 and Butterick 6765. Neither were anywhere near the size I needed, but the instructions were good. I kept reading them for 3 weeks before actually settling down to measure my sons and start drawing with chalk on the black fabric.

The fabric came from a vegan friend who was passing on fabric, much of it beautiful wool. I think its a lightweight wool blend. There’s only a very little bit left.

Another help was a book called “Principles of Garment Cutting” by E L G Gough. I referred most to this to draft the two piece sleeve. I think I will be referring to this a lot more to make the proper cassocks.

The final cassock is much more like the McCalls pattern. It was the simpler of the two with a zip front and just one box pleat in the back. Butterick’s pattern had something like a princess-line back with three box pleats.

Here I put fairly low res photos of what I am going from. If McCalls and/or Butterick object I can take them down again. Maybe they can make new patterns in size 8-10. That would make this so much easier! But drafting your own patterns is very rewarding and I’m learning lots.

For the final run I’m thinking of using Admiral Gaberdine from Lincraft and poly poplin for the surplice. Do you think a wool blend would be more breathable?

All the best in your endeavours!

UPDATE: see the finished products here

Next, to write up the instructions.

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15 thoughts on “How to sew a cassock

    1. Isn’t it great! I was very much, this isn’t going to work, this is never going to work, … then he tries it on with one sleeve missing and it’s tight but its so good! And he tells me to make the “other sleeve longer”. I should hem it.

  1. Wow! As a non sewer and general uncreative type I am very impressed. Wishing I could see the finished product in Sept.!

    1. Thanks Tricia,
      I’ve just bought the fabric for the serious attempt. Fingers crossed! Also I found you can download the instruction sheets from patterns for free from sewingpatterns.com.
      I hadn’t thought of that – if they’re ready they could get some serving practice at the camp in September! That gives me a deadline to work to.

      1. Theres one copy I have found of the McCall 2079 but the price is outrageous, would you be willing to sell a copy of your pattern?

      2. Not sure how I’d go about copying the pattern. Are you thinking of something to print out and stick together or a picture to scale up yourself?
        Do you need the whole lot? The instructions wouldn’t be so bad to photograph. The pattern pieces themselves would be a pain – many are cut.
        Sounds like there’s a real gap in the market here!

      3. Hello I wonder if you are willing to sell the female version of the cassock I really need one and was hoping you don’t need yours anymore.

      4. I’ve just cut out another cassock for my son yesterday – he’s pretty close to the size 8 that the pattern is designed for, just got to make the cut a little more masculine.

        The pattern itself is in pretty poor condition. We need to convice McCalls to re-release it!

    1. I was asked to make one for my Pastor who is female. The Butterick pattern is ok but the McCalls is actually fitted for a female. The one I found on Etsy is smaller than what I need and I will have to up-size it, so if I can find one closer to size that would be great.

  2. Hello,
    I am a French mother and I hopelessly search for a pattern cassock boy 8-10 years.
    Could you help me?
    I must make two cassocks, one in 8-10 years and another 5-6 years.
    I find no patron.
    thank you for your help.

    Helen

    1. Sorry I took so long to see your message. Maybe take a boys’ shirt pattern and extend it down to ankle length as a start. The black fabric hides little mistakes and also the white surplice covers the most complicated sewing.

      I should make a pattern.

  3. You are SUCH an inspiration!
    I just became a Universal Life Church minister and want something stunning to wear to my “third time’s a charm” weddings [yes, I’m going to specialize in comedy and serial-monogamy ;] — What better than Your pattern advice paired with Black Lace and Black Glitter netting?!

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