How to Make a Judge's Robe Out of Black Cloth

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The iconic black robe is part of a judge's uniform.
The iconic black robe is part of a judge's uniform. (Image: Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

American judges traditionally wear a long black robe as a symbol of their office. In addition to the gavel, the robe makes a judge instantly recognizable. While an official judge's robe may take an experienced seamstress to create, you can create a simple version for use as a Halloween or theatrical costume in an afternoon.

Things You'll Need

  • Measuring tape
  • Non-stretch black fabric
  • Fabric chalk
  • Metal yardstick
  • Scissors
  • Straight pins
  • Sewing machine

Stand with your arms held straight out from your sides and parallel to the floor. Measure the distance across, starting a little past each wrist, and write down the number. You will also need a measurement for the distance from your shoulder to the floor, multiplied by two.

Fold the fabric in half across the width and cut a small snip to mark the center. Expand the cut outward to create a neckline, checking it often to ensure you don't cut too large of a hole.

Put the fabric over your head to check the size of the neckline. If it fits properly, pin the fabric about 6 inches under each armpit to create the start of your sleeves. Take off the robe and turn it inside out.

Place the yardstick at the bottom corner of the robe and use the chalk to draw a diagonal line inward toward the pin. Repeat this step for the other side, creating two lines running toward the center of the robe. Cut along the chalk lines to split the robe into the body and the sleeves.

Sew along the cut edges to complete the robe. Remove the straight pins and turn the robe right-side out. Brush off any chalk dust before wearing the robe.

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