english girl at home

A Sewing & Knitting Blog, Made in Birmingham, England

Sewing Pattern for a Bishop’s Mitre, Anyone?


Coventry Cathedral
At the beginning of the month I started a new job. I’m working in Coventry, and am based in the best possible location right next to the cathedral pictured above and below.
Coventry Cathedral
For sewers, Coventry is interesting due to it’s historical role in the British textile industry. In the middle ages Coventry’s main trade was cloth weaving, with a third of all workers in the city employed in the industry. The city was particularly famous for a blue cloth known as Coventry blue which was dyed using woad. The City’s art gallery and museum, The Herbert,  has a small sample of the fabric on display. In the 1600s, ribbon weaving became Coventry’s main industry, until cheap import agreements ruined the British ribbon weaving business in the 1800s. Ribbons was produced on looms powered by hand or, in the large factories, by steam engines. The Herbert gallery has one of these enormous looms on display in their foyer. In the 1800s Coventry also began production of sewing machines and a number of machines were designed in the city.
Loom, Herbert Art Gallery, Coventry
Since starting my new job I’ve made use of the amazing design section in Coventry University’s library. The University teaches fashion design, so the library has a selection of pattern drafting books, as well as an enormous collection of design books by designer, period, country, etc. They also have a magazine/periodical section which includes everything from Vogue to Selvedge. Below are a few images from books I was nosing at this week.
1950s image
Images from the book 'Scarves'
Images from the book 'Scarves'
Art Deco image
The library does have a few pattern books and amongst them I was highly entertained to find a book of costume accessories patterns that included mitres, ruffs and epaulettes. Now those are sewing patterns I never expected to see! Having had a laugh at the mitre pattern I spotted a couple of cute basic patterns for aprons, mittens and slippers and ended up bringing the book home…
Patterns for Costume Accessories Book
Patterns for Costume Accessories Book


Author: Charlotte

Sewist, crafter & blogger, based in Birmingham, England. I'm spending the year growing and gathering to create natural dyes and enhance my sewing projects. Find me at www.englishgirlathome.com

8 thoughts on “Sewing Pattern for a Bishop’s Mitre, Anyone?

  1. Amazing! I would be making myself and my friends mitres from now until Christmas if I was you. What a brilliant find. It is many years since I had cause I be in Coventry, but little did I know that such treasures could be found in the university. I can’t wait to see your take n a bishops’s hat.

  2. (I hope you can reply soon.) Hi, there. I stumbled upon this post a while back, bookmarked it and saved one of the book images, about the mitre.

    I’m wondering: do you remember the name of the book? That would help me with something I’m trying to get done here. I’d sure appreciate your help.

  3. i am looking for a pattern for a miter that I can make from fabric for Bishop who will wear it at ceremonial occasions

    • To Eileen Colbourne: Did you ever find an online pattern for a mitre? We would like to do up some for our bishop. Being in a rather poor, developing country it would be a bit of a scandal to spend what they cost from western clergy supply houses.

      • I did find instructions on line. Try Gaspards it just write in that you want a pattern. I measured the bishops head. Then on half the size around I drew on paper what I thought looked like a proper miter. Do the pattern in stuff paper or cardboard tape the sides together and place on the head.
        The fabric that covers the top ,,,not the sides,,,is the shape of a diamond cut on the bias. That’s the difficult part. I even think that part may not be needed. I experimented with muslin or cheap cotton before I used the fashion fabric
        By the way where do you live.

      • I saw your inquiry. I took an old miter and cut a pattern from firm scrap of fabric. I bought a piece of thin plastic from a hard wear store or a storehouse than makes signs,,,for the insert. When I was happy with the mock up I cut from the fashion fabric. It worked out well.
        Let me know if you get this note. Please
        Where are you living. ?? 🤔

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