When Arya first wore her House of Black and White robes in Season 5 of Game of Thrones, I practically threw a party. She'd been wearing the same outfit for three full seasons, and while I loved that the costume was recognizable... I really wanted to be able to make something new. So I jumped on it pretty immediately, even though the costume was pretty much exclusively shown in dark scenes, and very difficult to make out.
By now, between the content of Season 6 and the Entertainment Weekly shoot featuring the costume, a lot more cosplayers are interested in these robes! I've received a lot of emails and messages with questions about how I made mine, so I thought I'd put together a walkthrough.
The materials for this one are pretty simple:
- Black fabric
- Off-white 3/4 sleeve shirt
- Black belt
And of course, all your basic sewing supplies — thread, scissors, a sewing machine, pins, etc.
For my fabric, I bought two black queen-sized bedsheets secondhand at a local thrift store. This is by far the cheapest source of cotton that I've found, but you are welcome to buy brand new fabric if that floats your boat. I also thrifted the shirt, because you only really see the sleeves and I didn't see the point of making a shirt from scratch for that. And of course, I thrifted the sandals and belt. (Wow, I'm a cheapskate.)
I'm going to assume that you can dig up sandals and a shirt on your own, and we'll focus on the robe in this tutorial.
Patterning the robe
Since the robe is baggy and belted at the waist, it require minimal fitting — I essentially made a big pillowcase with sleeves and a bib.
You'll need to take a few measurements to help you pattern the robe. You may want to get a friend to help you measure, since it can be hard to accurately take certain measurements on your own body.
- Shoulder to knee (the distance from shoulder to knee; you can take this down both the front and back of your body, and choose the larger measurement, to account for especially bangin' booty or boobs)
- Shoulder width (the distance from shoulder to shoulder)
- Half bust (take the full circumference of your bust, and then halve it)
- Half hips (take the full circumference of your hips, and then halve it)
You're basically patterning a big rectangle first. Then, we'll cut neckline and armholes into it.
For the length of the rectangle, take your knee to ankle measurement and add about 6-8" to it. This extra length is for two reasons: One, the robe goes to just below the knee, and two, the robe is bunched a bit over the belt, so you'll lose some length there.
For the width of the rectangle, choose the largest measurement out of your shoulder width, half bust, and half hips. Now, add 4" to that measurement. This will ensure the robe has that baggy look that Arya's has, rather than being fitted tight to your body.
Next, we need to cut arm holes and a neck hole! The easiest way to do this is to take a crew-neck t-shirt that's about as wide as your rectangle — so, a few sizes too big — lay it on top of your rectangle, and mark where the t-shirt's arm holes and neck hole go. You can cut the arm holes exactly the same, but make sure to cut the neckline into a square. (Keep the width and depth the same as the rounded neckline from the t-shirt.)
Hooray! We've patterned the body! Cut four identical copies of the rectangle we just made (the front and back of the robe, and the front and back of the lining.) I lined the robe with the same material, but if you want to use a different fabric for lining, you are welcome to. Just make sure to pick something black, since it will be visible in a few areas.
This costume has a weird little "bib" on the front. It's super easy to make — it's basically just a square of fabric with a couple of off-center, vertical decorative seams.
To create the bib, you'll first want to measure the width of your neckline, because the bib gets sewn into that neckline. Then, add 3" to that width, because you'll lose about 2" into the decorative seams, and you also need a 1/2" seam allowance on each side. That number will be the width of your bib fabric.
For the length, first measure from your shoulder to your natural waist. Then, measure the depth of the neckline on your robe pattern. Subtract the second number from the first one, and that should be about right. It's very easy to trim this down if necessary, so err on the side of making this measurement a little long.
You'll need two sides of the bib, but only one of them needs to have the decorative seams, so start out by making just one side, and then we'll make the second side to match the exact size of the finished front side.
To create a decorative seam, you'll want to create a fold, iron it down, and then sew two straight seams to hold them in place. This is easiest to explain via illustration, so check it out below:
The fold should be about 1/2" wide, so each fold should take up 1" of your fabric. There are two of these decorative folded seams, so when you have done both of them, your fabric should be 2" shorter than it was before. Make sure to sew your seams neatly here, because they'll be very visible and they need to be perfectly straight!
Once you've sewn both seams, cut an exact duplicate of your bib fabric (minus the seams, of course). This will be the back of the bib.
Now, put the two pieces right sides together, sew three sides of the square, and turn it inside out. You should basically have a little square pocket. Great! The bib is ready to attach to the robe. We'll do that in a minute.
The sleeves are a little more complicated, mostly because they aren't like any sleeves I've ever seen on any other garment. I'm also not 100% confident I got them right, since we get so few good shots of the back of the garment. I interpreted them as big, loose short sleeves that don't close under the arm — instead, each sleeve has a long tail, and they tie together in the back to create that weird knot.
Just a note — in my costume, I made the sleeves too short. You'll want to make your sleeves go all the way to your elbow in order to be accurate.
To pattern your sleeves, first measure the distance from the top of your shoulder to your elbow. Then, measure the full length of the edge of the arm hole you cut before. (This measurement will end up being half the circumference of the arm hole when the robe is sewn together.)
You're basically making a long strip with a bulge at the end: the bulge is where the sleeve gets attached to the arm hole. On my robe, I needed about 25" in length to allow the sleeves to tie behind my back, but it might be different for you, so consider cutting the sleeves too long and then testing what length works for you. The "bulge" should be about as high as your shoulder to elbow measurement to make the sleeve the proper length. Your arm hole measurement should create a kind of J-shape; the bulge should be a little bigger than your arm hole measurement, but the yellow line indicates where the sleeve should actually be stitched to the armhole.
Cut four of these, and sew each set of two together on three sides (basically, sew them together everywhere but where the yellow line is), and then turn them inside out and press. Great! They're ready to attach to the robe.
Putting it all together
Time to put the pieces together! First, take your four copies of the body and split them into two sets of two — the robe and the lining. Sew each set of two down each side, and across the shoulders, as shown below. (After sewing these seams, you should be able to put the robe on your body and make sure it fits and falls to about mid-calf.)
We're going to do the neckline first. Turn the robe inside out, but keep the lining right side out. Put them right sides together, so that the lining is inside the robe. Now, we have to put the bib in place before we sew! Put the bib in between the two layers of the robe, with the right side (the side with the decorative seams) facing the lining — so, the wrong side of the bib should be against the right side of the robe. The open edge of the bib should be sandwiched between the necklines of the robe and lining, so that when we sew the neckline together, the open edge of the bib will be sealed.
I know this is confusing to read! If you're having trouble visualizing it, just remember that after we sew this seam with the bib inside, we will turn the robe inside out, so the bib will be on the outside.
Once you have it all in place and pinned, sew around the whole neckline, attaching the robe to the lining, and catching the bib in between at the front. Then, turn the whole robe inside out. You should have a neat, finished neckline, with the bib popping out of the front. There should be no raw edges at the neckline at this point.
Now, the sleeves! First, turn the raw edges of the robe and lining around the arm hole under, and press. Basically, you're tucking the raw edges under so that when you sew the lining and robe together, the raw edges will be hidden inside. Sew all around the arm holes. (We are finishing the arm holes fully before applying the sleeves, which is not a normal thing to do, but since the sleeves don't close under the arms, some of the arm hole seam will be visible. That's why we're finishing the whole seam first!)
Take your sleeves and pin the "bulge" (the section indicated by the yellow "arm hole length" line in the sleeve diagram above) around the arm hole, with the right sides of the sleeve and the robe together. You don't want the sleeve to start in your armpit, so start it a few inches from the side seam. It might be a good idea to put the robe on your body and pin the sleeve where it looks right, because it will look different on you than it does on the table. You should only pin the sleeve a little bit down the back of the shoulder, so it doesn't bunch strangely when you tie the tails. (I know this whole sleeve business is ridiculous... hopefully the diagram will help!)
Now that's all that's left is to hem the bottom!
A few notes! First, as per usual: I'm not a sewing expert, not even close, and if I do something in a strange way and you think there's a better way, you're probably right! I just do things the way I think they'll work. That doesn't mean it's the best way!
Also, I made this costume right after season 4, so the only images we had of it were in the dark! A lot more detail is visible after another season of wear, so feel free to do your own research and improve on this.
Last but not least, I didn't distress this costume at all (again, it was hard to see the details in the dark!) but it would probably be a good idea to do so! I would probably use a white spray fabric paint for that, but that's up to you.
If you're confused about any of these steps, please don't hesitate to contact me! And of course, if you make a cosplay using these instructions, I would love to see it — please send me photos, or tag me in them!