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How to Make a Custom Graduation Stole

For many graduates, wearing a stole is reflection of their school experience. For those that can’t find the right stole for them, making their own custom stole can be a good option.

All you need is basic sewing equipment and skills, or those of a friend, and some pattern paper.

Here are the steps for making your own stole, from start to finish:

Select your fabric

Most graduation stoles are made of silk, satin, or a cotton blend, each with their own gloss effect that will affect your color. Your fabric should be at least 12 inches wide and 1 ¼ yard long.

Draw and cut a pattern

Draw two solid lines across the pattern paper, each 40 inches long and 11 ½ inches apart, then draw a line connecting them at each end. Draw a third, dashed line across the length of and between the two lines, 5 ¼ inches out from the first.

Fold the pattern in half across the dotted line. Reach across the fold, pinching it at the end of the pattern. Fold that point diagonally up over to the solid line, crease the fold firmly, then unfold the paper. Now cut the pattern from the paper using the solid lines and crease as a guide.

Cut the fabric from the pattern 

Fold the length of the fabric in half, with the presentable sides facing inward, pin the pattern paper securely over the length of the fabric, then cut the fabric around the pattern. Discard the pattern paper.  

Start sewing

Pin the angled edge of the fabric (cut earlier from the pattern crease), matching at the center point of the angle. Sew a medium stitch from the top of the angle almost to the center point, using ¼ inch seam allowance. Rotate the fabric and stitch across the base of the angle and up the other side. Press the seam allowance and carefully trim the seam to close the angle.

Add your appliques

If you plan to apply any iron on transfer or embroidered designs, this is the time. You can also take the stole to a professional embroidery shop.  

Finish the stole

Pin the remaining three lengths of the fabric and stitch two inches from each end before the back seam, using a ½ inch allowance. Carefully trim the corners while pressing the seam. At this point you can turn the stole inside out and finish the stitching the remaining length of the stole.

Other options

If you’re not ready to make a stole from scratch, there are customizable blank stoles available. For the thousands of students graduating in Kente ceremonies this year, Sankofa Edition has certified, authentic, handwoven Custom Kente Stoles with space for custom embroidery or transfers.

Custom Kente Stoles


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