Varys robe

Posted by Ellinor Orton on July 9, 2014 at 7:50 PM

This commission was to make a robe based off one of the ones worn by Varys in Game of Thrones. The robe is for a Game of Thrones themed party rather than a convention. I still wanted to make it as accurate as possible to the original item, however, within the customers’ budgetary constraints.

The original of the robe I am creating

Having done some research it seemed that the tunic would be just below knee-length, with a wrap-over front secured with a belt (not in scope). On the side of the front which goes under the wrap-over the collar isn’t attached all the way along and mostly hangs free, allowing it to be crossed over the other side and tucked into the belt, giving a more symmetrical front. Other tunics seemed to be split at the side to below the hip and worn with loose-fitting trousers underneath them.

A shot of the character wearing a similar robe. The construction looks the same so the length is likely to be similar.

The sleeves should also be overly-long so that they can be pushed up the arm to give the folds on the lower arm seen in the picture. They seem to be quite fitted from the shoulder to elbow and then flare out. There’s a separate panel that forms a very wide “cuff” which seems to be a straight rectangle.

A show showing the back of the robe. Note the different pattern of the damask in the t-shaped centre section.


The robe is made from a pale gold or taupe material with an obvious slub weave. Slub weave is where the weft (left-to-right) threads of the fabric have a noticeable difference of thickness, giving a textured finish to the surface. It’s often seen in silks so I chose a faux silk dupion for this. The original has some plain panels and some with what I think is an appliqué in a grey fabric, forming a damask pattern. It could also be a printed design. The client opted to have this painted on instead. The damask is applied to the same dupion as the rest of the robe.

One of the front panels with the design drawn and painted on.

I couldn’t find any pictures of the front of the robe without the sleeves obscuring the pattern, so I extrapolated what I could see and made a repeating damask pattern from it. I don’t think this is actually what was used in the original. It’s possible that it’s a one-off design that was created for specifically for the panels. I used this pattern for the front and back panels. I made a template and repeatedly traced it, tessellated, onto the front and back. I then painted it in silver fabric paint. I made a different design for the cuffs, based off what I could see on the pictures.

The cuff panels.


The body of the robe is constructed of four panels for the front (two each side) and three at the back. At the front the outer panels which form the main wrap-over are damasked and the two narrow side panels are plain. The side panels at the back are also plain with the central t-shaped section having the damask. The back panel seems to be less scrolling than the front panels and much more floral, making me think that I’m right that this is a pattern applied to the panel rather than a damask fabric.

The sleeves are two part. They have a main part with the slub running horizontally (no damask) and then a wide damasked cuff where the slub runs at 90 degrees to the upper sleeve. This is bag lined or folded over to be self-lined. Possibly the whole sleeve is lined, but I lined only the cuff, using a poly-cotton. 

Outline diagram of the back of the robe.

Outline diagrams of the front panels.

For the loose section I sewed both of the outside edges together, then sewed the inside edge together from the bottom to where it would join the front of the robe. I turned that through and pressed it flat, then, as on the other side, attached the inside collar section to the front of the robe, turned under the outside collar section and sewed it down to the robe. I turned the back centre edges under and sewed them together by hand, but ended up deepening the curve of the collar at the back so I had to add another section, which I made as two sections again. Next time I’ll know that I need to do that.


The side splits have a narrow hem (turned under twice) and the bottom hem is overlocked then turned under once to allow for a better drape. All the inside seams at overlocked.


The finished robe, front view.

The finished robe, back view


If I make this again then obviously, I’ll need to adjust the back of the neck and the collar sections accordingly. Comparing the finished item to pictures of the original I think I need to make the front sections a different shape. It is possible that they should come to a half t-shape, like the back. Certainly the damasked front sections seem to hang over plain fabric, whereas mine show more damask underneath them. A wider plain side panel seems indicated also by the lack of any damasking on display under the arm in the shot from the back. I also think that the centre of the back panel (the upright of the T) should be narrower.


I also have realised that the sleeve cuff is actually folded back on itself. So it might be self-or bag-lined (if bag lined it will likely be in the same fabric) but the cuff should be twice as wide as I’ve made it, with the damasking on the inside, and then folded back so the damasking shows on the outside.


Painting the design took forever. If I make it again I’ll screen-print it. It also took four pots of fabric paint. The robe itself took two more metres of fabric than I’d anticipated (a total of seven metres).


In the pictures above you might notice that the left cuff is actually on upside-down. I noticed this after I took the pictures, when I came to fold it for packing. I did change it before sending out, but I didn’t have time to take a new set of pictures!


For more pictures and some work in progress shots you can check out the gallery page for this project. I hope to have a picture of the client wearing it, if he gets any he's happy sharing!

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Reply John Spaw
11:00 PM on June 23, 2016 
Thank you for posting this walk through! I was looking for 'good pictures' to work from and found your post. Your patterns are great! The post build notes are great too.
Reply converse metallic collection
12:15 AM on July 1, 2018 
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