How to Make Prayer Shawls for "Fiddler on the Roof" Costumes

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Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
  • White fabric
  • Scissors
  • Sewing machine
  • Thread
  • White fringe, 2-inch
  • Pins
  • Blue ribbon, 1-inch
  • White string
  • Needle

You can get many of the costume pieces for "Fiddler on the Roof" from a thrift store. Tweed or woolen pants, vests, jackets and even caps in plain colors or dull plaids are readily available. Buy them a size too big and add some worn spots with a few snips of your scissors. Used prayer shawls are difficult to find and buying one for every member of the cast may be prohibitively expensive. You can make enough shawls for the entire cast in an hour or two.

Measure the wearer from 2 inches below the vest, over the shoulder and to the same point on the back. Measure across the shoulders from one sleeve seam to the other. Cut a rectangle this size.

Cut a 6-inch circle in the center of the rectangle. Fold the circle in half lengthwise and cut a 6-inch slit down the fold starting at the circle. This slit will be on the front side of the shawl. It allows the shawl to go easily over the wearer's head.

Zigzag stitch around the neck hole, including the slit and down the side edges to prevent the fabric from fraying.

Sew 2-inch-wide white fringe to both the short edges of the shawl.

Sew 1-inch-wide blue ribbon 1 1/2 inches above the fringe, on the side of the shawl with the slit. Sew a second band of ribbon 1 inch above the first.

Cut 15, 2-foot pieces of string and tie them together in the center with a short piece of string. Fold the strings in half where they are tied. Tie another piece of string tightly around the folded string, 1 inch below the fold to make a long tassel. The ends of this tassel can be uneven. Make a second tassel. Sew one tassel to each of the bottom corners of the front of the shawl.

About the Author

Camela Bryan's first published article appeared in "Welcome Home" magazine in 1993. She wrote and published SAT preparation worksheets and is also a professional seamstress who has worked for a children's theater as a costume designer and in her own heirloom-sewing business. Bryan has a Bachelor of Science in chemical engineering from the University of Florida.

Photo Credits

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