So... you want to make a clergy stole. Hey, that is wonderful (read to the bottom to get my free pattern)! Whether you are making a stole for yourself or for someone else, it will be a fun project, indeed. But before you get started, let's talk a little about symbolism and colors. In the Christian church, the clergy stole is a symbol of ordination and the colors normally follow the Christian year. There are five colors that are traditionally used with a couple choices for the Advent Season (blue, purple, white, green, red & sometimes gold instead of or in combination with white). And of course, there are many designs to choose from. For example one white stole may have the symbols of Holy Communion, another the symbols or Baptism, and others may be designed for Trinity Sunday, Christ the King Sunday or Christmas, etc. But all will be worn in accordance with the Christian Year:

Advent (Blue or Purple)
Christmas thru Epiphany (White/Gold)
Sundays after Epiphany (Green)
Transfiguration (White/Gold)
Lent (Purple)
Easter (White/Gold)
Pentecost (Red)
Trinity (White/Gold) 
Sundays after Pentecost (Green)

If you are creating a stole for a newly ordained clergy person, what a blessing your gift will be for them. When I first started out as an ordained elder I realized very quickly that five stoles (one for each season of the Christian year + a communion/baptismal stole) were going to be expensive. Considering that the average cost of most quality hand-made clergy stoles is around $300, that can prove to be a financial burden on most newly ordained ministers. 

Let  me suggest that you make a red stole for Pentecost (they may also wear it at their ordination service) or a white stole for communion and/or baptism. Or possibly a green stole would be a nice choice too, because green is the color that is worn most during the year.  

Once you decide what color your stole will be, then you will need to pick out the fabric. I like to choose a fabric that is not too busy, but also has a small design. The fabric in my Three Butterflies stole will give you a good example. I use a 100% cotton fabric for the front of the stole and a cotton/polyester blend (solid color) for the back. And my best choice for the applique fabric would be a thicker satin fabric. The three butterflies symbolize the Trinity and the Cross points to salvation. I think that this design is also very elegant in purple. 

You will also need a lining fabric to give your stole a nice drape. My favorite lining is a fusible fleece Pellon, which can be found online or in most fabric stores. It looks like a light quilting fabric, but is fusible on one side. In making this stole I used an embroidery machine, a sewing machine and a serger. Plus don't forget the thread. I used a polyester embroidery thread (white) for the designs and a coned serger thread (green) to sew the stole together. And after turning the stole right-side out, I hand stitched the bottoms of both sides with a green embroidery thread and steam pressed it to give it that final touch.

Okay, one thing we have not covered yet, is the pattern. Where do you find the pattern. Well, if you have another clergy stole that you like, you could simply sketch the pattern onto a pattern making fabric (and cut it out) or you could search online for a pattern that you may purchase. There are several different stole patterns to choose from, but my favorite, is the one that has a gentle curve at the top (the rounded pattern design). And, of course, you will also need a cutting board/table and a Rotary cutter (with a round razor sharp blade) or a nice pair of scissors, such as Gingers. Okay, are you ready to begin your stole?  

Here's a video that you may find helpful:

Stole Construction
Step 1: If you are going to embroider or applique a design on your stole, do that first.
Step 2: Cut the stole front out using the paper pattern, centering your design properly
Step 3: Cut the lining & the stole back out using the same paper pattern
Step 4: Fuse the Pellon fabric to the back-side of the stole front
Step 5: With right sides facing, serge the center back of the stole front & the center back of the stole back (1/2" seam)
Step 6: Press the serged seams to one side with the iron
Step 7: Lay the stole front right-side-up on the cutting board & pin the stole back right-side-down on top of the front (the right sides of the front & back should be facing)
Step 8: Starting at the bottom, serge the outside edge all the way around & then serge the inside edge in the same manner (1/2" seam)
Step 9: Turn the sewn stole right-side-out and press with an iron
Step 10: Press a hem in both sides of the stole (measuring carefully to make the sides even)
Step 11: Hand stitch the hems closed and re-press the stole

Congratulations! You have completed your stole. I know that you will be blessed in the journey and, if it is a gift, that the recipient will be double blessed, as well.  

To receive my free Rounded 
Clergy Stole Pattern!


  1. Thank you for the free pattern. My sister is presiding over her first wedding in a week and asked me to make her a stole. As fabric is non existent where I live without traveling I used an ivory embossed curtain I found at Goodwill. After checking for stains I cut the stole out adding a little 1 inch by 1 inch tab at the neck to tuck into clothing and pin to help it stay in place. My granddaughter is in 4-H and the scarf for them to wear has that little tab also.
    Paula Behrens AUTHOR  04/29/2024 09:45 PM Central
    You're very welcome, Angela! It sounds like you've put a lot of thought and creativity into making the stole special and functional. Your resourcefulness in using an ivory embossed curtain and adding a practical touch with the tab is truly impressive—your sister is lucky to have such a talented and thoughtful sibling.
  2. I've made a one-piece copy of the entire stole pattern on heavy paper which has been folded lengthwise. When I cut it out, I will have separate pattern pieces for both sides. I'm using eighteen panels (!!), each embroidered with either an appliques cross or a name by which our Lord is called in the Bible texts. I'm hoping each panel will finish at about 7" x 5 1/2", sewn together lengthwise to make the body of the stole. I'm using forest green silk shantung which has been backed with iron-on interfacing to give enough body for the embroidery. Of course, all three of our pastors are different heights, so I'm pretty much winging it as far as sizes are concerned. I'll let you know how they turn out.
    Paula Behrens AUTHOR  04/05/2024 09:38 PM Central
    Hi Bill, sounds like an exciting stole project! I look forward to seeing the names of the LORD on your stoles. Please consider sending a few photos of your completed stoles for our community page. I know that the pastors who receive them will be blessed 🕊️
  3. Thank you so much for the pattern---My question is the neck piece---I understand that I would need to cut two (opposite directions) for the neck--but would it be long enough to go across and lay flat the neck/back of a man? I'm trying making simple stoles---for a male choir of about 20 people....I have some time to make them--about 6months... Thanks again for the call, your pattern, and your suggestions...
    Paula Behrens AUTHOR  03/25/2024 04:13 PM Central
    Hi Bettye, you are certainly welcome! In answer to your questions - To cut out the two pieces, simply fold your fabric in half, pin the pattern onto the fabric and cut it out. You will end up with two identical mirror-imaged sides for your stole. And yes, this pattern works great for both men and women. I have created many stoles for male pastors, using this pattern. I hope to see a couple photos of your stoles when done. Let me know how I can help further. ~ Paula
  4. Paula, these instructions are such a gift! Do you ever add a cross at the back of the neck? If so, when do you recommend doing that? I know embroidery is typically easier prior to affixing the interfacing, but it seems like the front pieces would need to be attached at the neck to add the cross. Just curious on your thoughts :)
    Paula Behrens AUTHOR  03/20/2024 01:55 PM Central
    Hi Eliza, thanks for your kind words. I have embroidered a cross on the center back of a stole before. It’s not an easy task. What I did was sew the two sides of the stole front together at the center back. Then I placed it in my embroidery hoop (tightly securing it) and played with the positioning to make sure it would be centered and straight on the seam. I did that by manually advancing each of the beginning stitches without thread in the needle. Then I prayed a lot 😂 and let the machine stitch it out. That way the stitching did not show on the back side of the stole (interfacing). It was pretty stressful because of all the work I had already put into the stole before cutting it out. Let me know how yours turns out or if you have an easier way.
  5. Dear Rev
    On January 9 I sent you two pictures of the stole I completed and have not heard from you. I hope I have not offended you.
    Wishing you all the best
    Paula Behrens AUTHOR  01/25/2024 05:16 PM Central
    Selma, thank you for the photos of your beautiful stoles. Sorry for the delayed response. Somehow your message got lost in all the emails. I just now added them to our community group. Check your inbox for the link. Hope you have a blessed day! Paula
  6. Thanks so much for your response! I'm trying an Essex Linen front (interfaced) with 100% Kona Cotton on the back. So far, so good! Really appreciate your pattern.
    Paula Behrens AUTHOR  12/01/2023 05:54 PM Central
    Debbie, that sounds wonderful. Glad that I could help out with the stole pattern 🙂❄️🌿
  7. Hi Paula,
    Can't thank you enough for all the info on making clergy stoles, as I'm about to attempt my first one for our son. My question today is about the lining - you suggest a poly-cotton blend. Are there online shops you'd recommend? I'm most familiar with 100% quilter's cotton, so would appreciate any suggestions.
    Thank you!!
    Paula Behrens AUTHOR  11/13/2023 09:05 AM Central
    Hi Debbie, sorry for the late reply... I do use the 100% quilter's cotton, as well as the polyester/cotton blend for the lining. It just depends on what is available. I like to purchase my fabrics locally. JoAnn's Fabrics or Hobby Lobby are my favorite stores. I hope this is helpful. Paula
  8. Please allow me to have the stole pattern.
  9. My son is getting ordained this summer, and I am making his ordination stole. He has a design that he wants appliqued on it that will run across both sides of the stole. So basically the design will be split in 2. He has one stole now that he bought that has a shaped neck but it shifts when he wears it, so the stripes across are always out of alignment. He is afraid this will happen to this one. Have you had the problem with the stole sliding around on your neck? How would you recommend I address this issue? Hook and eye to keep the stole from sliding? Also, have you ever made a reversible stole? And would you use the iron-on interfacing on both sides? Thanks. My mom made lots of stoles, but this is my first, and unfortunately, she is not around to give advice. Thanks
    Paula Behrens AUTHOR  05/23/2023 04:19 PM Central
    Hi Debbie, thank you for hopping in here with your questions. I'll answer the second one first. Yes, I've made lots of reversable stoles and I only interface one side (normally the one with the lighter color fabric).

    Now for the first question. First of all, V-neck and Round-neck stoles can move around some. I always check my stoles in the mirror before the service or ask someone to help me get it straight. Because my stoles are heavier with the front lined with the iron-on quilting pellon, they stay in place better than lighter weight stoles. I'm thinking that a hook and eye (in the center back) may not work as well as planned, because it may be difficult getting it latched.

    You could you could sew a small loop onto the back of your stole that can then be attached to a button at the center back of the clergy robe, keeping the stole securely in place. I haven't done this before, but I think it is the best option by far. Keep me updated on your choice and how it works. I look forward to seeing photos of your stole soon.

    I hope this is helpful, Paula
  10. In general, what fabric types are suitable for stoles?

    And specifically, I'm thinking of using quilt-quality cotton and making any decorative enhancements by incorporating pieced design areas into the fabric before it's cut from your pattern. I wonder if cotton would require Pellon interfacing.
    Paula Behrens AUTHOR  04/19/2023 01:11 PM Central
    Hi Ariel, I'd be glad to put in my 2 cents worth... I do like to use the quilt-quality cotton fabric for the fronts of my stoles. Once I have the designs on the fabric and have cut it out using my stole pattern, I apply the iron-on Pellon fabric to the back as an interfacing. I think it gives it the perfect weight and drape. ~ Paula
  11. Thank you for your information! I was just asked by my clergy to make her some stoles.
    Paula Behrens AUTHOR  10/12/2022 06:44 PM Central
    Hi Pat, I'm glad this was helpful for you. Did you grab the free pattern? Paula
  12. i am reading about stoles and want to make one for a dear priest. I chickened out and someone else made it for me.
    Now the problem is that the stole rides up around his neckline. Darn. Where did it go wrong and how to fix it?
    also I tried adding a chain and put it on the front. Should I have put the chain on the back of the stole? I read somewhere about chains but did not say back side of stole (so it would lie against the wearers back or front of stole?
    I sure am learning a lot.
    Paula Behrens AUTHOR  09/07/2022 09:23 AM Central
    Hi Terri, I understand the fear that comes along with creating your first stole... been there. But I think that once you give it a try you just may find it to be a lot of fun. And yes, it's a little tricky at first to get the curve of the stole just right so that it doesn't ride up around the neckline.

    The pattern I use now (and offer free) is one I developed over my 21 years as a pastor. I use it to make all my stoles. And yes, it was a process in getting the neckline just right. I learned the hard way that once a stole is created, you are pretty much stuck with the way it drapes and fits around the neckline. I tried to reshape the neckline, added chains, etc. without a lot of success (on my first stole projects). I would suggest that you start over from scratch with a "tried and true" pattern.

    If you know how to sew, then you can make a stole. I have faith in you :) Were you able to find my stole pattern? Have you watched the videos in the "Sewing & Knitting Hub"? You may find them helpful in getting past those sewing jitters. We can also get on a zoom call if you would like a little 1:1 coaching. Let me know how I can help out. ~ Paula
  13. Wendy Emery Gosnell  12/18/2021 04:43 PM Central
    Hi Paula,

    I knitted a cream lace stole with a rounded neck to perform weddings. What type of fabric do you recommend for backing it? I'd like to do it in black so it will allow the lacework to show (three cables representing the Father, Son and Holy Spirit). I know I need to hand sew the knitted piece to the woven piece.

    Thanks so much for making this pattern available!

    Wendy Gosnell
    Paula Behrens AUTHOR  12/18/2021 05:25 PM Central
    Hi Wendy, I'm glad the pattern helps. I haven't created a stole out of knitted lace, but that sounds pretty. If it were me I would probably go with a tight weave, polyester/cotton blend fabric like twill. I like the symbolism with the three cables, too, and look forward to seeing some photos when you have it complete. Paula
  14. Do you wash all your material before you sew it?
    Paula Behrens AUTHOR  10/27/2021 01:55 PM Central
    Hi Cheryl, that's a good question. I guess you could, but don't want to deal with the fabric fraying. I do advise the following with my custom designed clergy stoles:

    CARE INSTRUCTIONS: Spot clean with a no-wash household cleaner (the one I use on my own clergy stoles is an all natural cleaner without harmful chemicals - Gently hand-wash, cold water only, when absolutely necessary. Line dry. Reshape with steam iron on a cool/silk setting.

    What is your preference? To wash or not to wash?
  15. Where is free clergy stole pattern?
    Paula Behrens AUTHOR  10/10/2021 01:53 PM Central
    Hi Becky, if you look above this comment area you will find a “Click Here” button for the free clergy stole pattern. It’s right at the end of the blog post. Let me know if you don’t see it. Paula
  16. The neckline piece of the pattern doesn't seem to line up nicely with the rest of the stole. Do I need to create another piece to insert between the 2 top ends of the stole? If no, tell me what I am overlooking or missing. Thank you.
    Paula Behrens AUTHOR  10/01/2021 01:16 PM Central
    Hi Sandy, that’s a good question & possibly others might be asking the same. So I created a little video to help with the answer. You can watch it in our “Sewing & Knitting Hub” University, right above the free pattern download link. I hope this helps. 😊
  17. Hey all,

    So I need help with lining.

    I picked up some Pellon double sided fusible fleece. After I got it all together and ironed it the weight was right but it wrinkled up on me. I used 100% cotton fabric. I was trying to make a white stole for a wedding.

    I then used a stiff craft fusible lining (single sided) with the same fabric. That one came out a bit too stiff and doesn't really lay right.

    Do you have tips for other lining, fabric, or method of putting it together? Or is it really just trial and error?

    Thanks so much. I really like the pattern. :-)

    Paula Behrens AUTHOR  08/30/2021 01:10 PM Central
    Hi Margie, congrats on your clergy stole journey! All fabric is going to be a little different and sometimes it is just a little trial and error. My preference for fabric (if available) is actually a polyester/cotton blend. Sometimes I can find what I want in a polyester/cotton blend and sometimes not. I have learned that if I use a little spray starch (especially with the cotton) most of the time the wrinkles will iron right out. I actually make my own essential oil infused spray starch. It's a lot cheaper and I'm not breathing in the harmful chemicals in the store bought spray starch. Let me know how it goes.
  18. Mary Pat FitzGibbons  05/24/2021 02:01 PM Central
    I am curious about how much material I need to buy. 1 3/4 yards of each layer (front back fuse-able lining)? Thank you. I like your website. Be well
    Paula Behrens AUTHOR  05/24/2021 02:31 PM Central
    Hi Mary Pat, you are certainly welcome!!

    How much fabric... that's a good question. I normally buy 60" or 1 2/3 yds. of fabric at a time. That way I can make my stoles up to 54" in length with a little wiggle room :) Depending on the width of the fabric 60" will make 3-4 stole fronts. For the lining I buy the same amount of fabric in a lighter weight solid color.

    If I am using my new In-the-hoop pattern (Yay... it's up on Etsy now - it actually takes a little more fabric for the stole front (around 2 yards), but my pattern is built into the pattern & is so much easier to cut out. I hope this helps. Have blessed day!!

    Thanks... I do have fun with my little web-site !!
    Paula Behrens AUTHOR  05/24/2021 02:35 PM Central
    Oh, and for the fusible, you could also buy 60", but because I make so many stoles, I normally just buy a whole bolt... lol
  19. Hi Paula,
    Thanks so much for making this pattern available! I really appreciate it! I was asked to make a stole for a friend's pastor, and she would like the back part to come down to a point - so more of a "V" shape on the back rather than rounded over the shoulders. (So the inside seam curved around the neck and the outside seam coming down to a V.) How would you suggest I alter the neck pattern?
    Paula Behrens AUTHOR  03/12/2021 03:29 PM Central
    Hi Moriah, I've not made a V-shaped stole because I personally prefer the rounded neckline, myself. But if I were to try, I would begin by placing the stole pattern on a rotary cutting mat (mine is a OLFA RM-SG 9881) that has the lines drawn at different angels (use the same angle of the rounded pattern at the top edge) and make a new pattern. Cut straight up from the side edge (before the pattern begins to curve) and extending the top seam out to meet it (I will text you a photo of what I'm trying to describe... LOL You will just have to play with it on a few test pieces of fabric. Once you get it right, the stole should lay flat on the back & comfortably on around the neckline. I'm only guessing. Let me know how it goes.
  20. What Seam allowance have you made? Or do I need to add a seam allowance to the pattern piece? Does the straight grain of the fabric run parallel to the outside edge of the stole, as it is worn?
    Paula Behrens AUTHOR  02/13/2021 10:06 PM Central
    Hi Joan, thanks for reaching out. I’m happy to see so many people using my pattern. In fact the response has been so great I’m thinking we need to form a little sewing community 😂. Oh, wait a minute... that’s what I’m working on right now.

    Okay, in answer to your questions. I use a serger to construct my stoles & the seam is built into the pattern. So it’s about 1/2 inch including the fabric that is cut away. The straight edge will run parallel to the outside edge on the bottom portion on the stole, but of course not so much on the curved neck area.

    Does that answer your questions?

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