Instructions for sewing a one-piece open abaya

  • Measure yourself from one wrist to the other, going over your head. If you can find very wide fabric, you will need twice this amount (the width will be your height). For 45" wide fabric, you will need four times this amount and lengthen as instructed in the next step.
  • Cut the fabric in half and and attach them together along the long edges, so as to lengthen your fabric.
    • Broken line in diagram 1 shows piece one and piece two.
  • Once your fabric is wide enough, fold the two sides (right sides together) in so that they almost meet in the center. Leave a gap wide enough for your head. (10-12 inches). Stitch the seamline at the top from G to H. Fold out.
  • Cut a small circular shape at the corner of each fold for your hands.
  • Now, you have a VERY long abayah. Cut the bottom to a length that suits you. Cut a large curved bottom (from x to x in diagram 2).
  • Trim the raw edges of the abayah with pre-packaged bias binding or ribbon.
*In the traditional method of abayah-making, the abayahs were shortened from the inside without cutting the fabric.
To do that you would need the help of a friend. Put the abayah on the wrong way. With the abayah on your head, ask your friend to pin the fabric up for you. The pins would come near the line EF, this wouldn’t be a straight line.
This all is done by hand. And finally all the edges and the openings are crocheted. Abayahs used to be made from silk, nowadays mostly silky polyester, but always in black. abayah diagram *This pattern was first posted on the SalafiSisters mailing list.