Easy Saint Nicholas Costume

St Nicholas Costume
Costume made using commercial patterns
Photo: Diane Kay

with Reversible Cape/Capelet using commercial patterns

submitted by Diane Kay, Albuquerque, New Mexico

Commercial patterns change frequently. Similar basic costume patterns are usually available even though the pattern numbers change.

Alb (white gown)

Use Simplicity pattern #4795, or 4213, or McCall's pattern M2339.
Follow basic pattern instructions for the alb.

Pattern cover
Simplicity 4795
Pattern cover
Simplicity 4795
Pattern cover
McCall's 2339

Cape and Capelet

Pattern cover
McCall's 4139

Use McCall's pattern #4139, view C

Make the following modifications:
  1. View C shows 2 capelets, of different lengths, cut from the same pattern piece. You only need 1 capelet, but you need to make a lining for it. Pick one length, preferably a length in between the two options.
  2. View C also shows a wide standing collar. Omit this.
  3. You will be lining both the Cape and the Capelet. The lining fabric may be the same color (red), or contrasting fabric (red/gold).
  4. Follow pattern instructions up to the first part of Step 2, do not hem the lower edge of the capelet or the front edges.
  5. Skip to step 3, substituting the capelet and capelet lining for the collar. Omit the interfacing and just sew the capelet in, as though it were the collar, using the collar instructions.
  6. Follow step 4 for lining and finishing the garment.
  7. If you wish to attach gold trim, it should be applied after step 2, before step 3.


There is no commercial pattern for this.

  1. Cut 4 pieces of fabric 50-inches long and 5-inches wide, following the grain of the fabric. (If the fabric is light- to medium-weight, you may need to add interfacing to give it body.)
  2. Sew two pieces of the fabric together, face to face, at the 5" ends.
  3. Repeat with the other two, adding interfacing if needed.
  4. Add trim if desired.
  5. Stitch the two strips together face to face, leaving an opening for turning it inside out. Turn, press, stitch the opening closed.

Miter (hat)

There is no commercial pattern for this (actually Butterick has one, see sidebar).

The best way to make this is to follow the instructions given here for the costume designed by Barbara Kissinger.

Here is an alternative way if you are short on time.

  1. Observe the shape of the mitre. On a large piece of flexible posterboard or cardboard, you will need to recreate the shape of the mitre. The front and back should each be approximately 12 inches across the bottom and about 12 inches from the base to the top.
  2. Tape the sides together and try it on the person to be wearing the costume. Adjust as needed, then remove tape and permanently attach the pieces together.
  3. Cut two pieces of fabric about 25 inches long and about 13 inches high.
  4. Using a hot glue gun, test a scrap of fabric by gluing it to a scrap of cardboard. If the fabric is delicate, and the glue shows through, do not use this method.
  5. If the glue didn't show through, glue one piece to the cardboard starting at the base and allowing the fabric to overlap beyond the cardboard by an inch. At the side, where the fabric ends meet, overlap one piece over the other, fold it down neatly, and glue it in place.
  6. Trim the fabric for the rest of the mitre to within an inch of the cardboard. Glue it down, fold over the edges and glue down the backside.
  7. Use the second piece of fabric for the "lining," cutting and gluing neatly to completely cover the cardboard. Glue on gold ribbon, braid, or purchased cross applique to the front of the mitre.

From Diane Kay, Albuquerque, New Mexico. Used by permission.

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