The Veiled Purl

All about crocheting, sewing, and knitting.

Butterfly Abaya: A Sewing Tutorial


Butterfly Abaya

I loovvee this abaya a lot, so I thought why not share the love? :) It’s one of the easiest abayas to make, but because of how awesome it looks at the end, people assume it’s hard. The only tough part is that there is a lot of fabric…and I mean a lot of fabric, so that get’s overwhelming a bit a lot. But don’t worry, take deep breaths, be confident, and begin making your butterfly abaya =]

Now as you can see from the pictures I’ve made two different types of abayas(even though there’s 3 pics). The first two are the belted butterfly abayas and the last is the regular/plain one. All of ’em are pretty awesome so I’ll be showing you guys how to do both inshaAllah.

There’s a bit of math before we start, so here goes:

The amount of fabric you’ll need will be based on your height. Have someone measure you from middle of your shoulder to your feet. If you are for example, 5 ft 4″ the length you’ll need is around 54″. The amount of fabric you’ll need is 54inches x 2=108″ or 3yards. (I suggest getting 3 and 1/4 yards or more.) So the formula is: your full length x two divided by 36 inches. (36 inches =1 yard)


-Around 3-4 yards of fabric depending on your height. The width of the fabric must be atleast 58″ or 60″ so remember to ask for this width when buying fabric.

-1/4 yard contrasting fabric, only if you are making the belted abaya.

– 1 inch/2 inch Elastic

-Bias tape or you can also use left over fabric to make your own

-sewing machine and sewing stuff


-Have someone measure you from wrist to wrist, add an inch and a half to this and write this down.

-Have someone measure your full length from middle of your shoulder, over your bust down till your toes.

Let’s get started:

**Click the pics to make them bigger**

**Read everything through before making this**

Since there’s a lot of fabric involved I thought it’d be better to show you all how to make this abaya through paper instead of actual fabric.


1) This is just a reference to your fabric when it is laid flat.


2) Fold your fabric length wise. Use pins to secure the ends so that they do not move.


3) Fold your fabric width wise and secure all loose ends with pins. Now you should have two folded sides and two loose end sides.


4) Draw a shape like this on your fabric. (click the pic to make bigger) The width on top is half of your wrist-wrist measurement. Your arm opening should be around 7-8″. (For two of the belted abayas I had to extend the arm since my fabric wasn’t long enough, that’s why you see a different color on the arms.) Don’t worry if isn’t exactly like mine, it’s okay, the awesomeness of this abaya is that it gives you leeway for mistakes (and my abayas are far from perfect)


5) Now make the neckline. The width is 3″ and the depth is 1″. After this, say bismillah and start cutting. If you didn’t leave allowance for your sewing while you drew the shape, it’s okay, because you can just cut 0.5″ outside the lines and it’ll be okay.


6) Open up your entire abaya…it should look like this


7) Fold this in half now, make sure your arms match up. Use pins to stop the fabric from moving. Now measure out a 5.5″ deep neckline and cut away. This will be the front of your abaya.


Now if you are making a plain/regular butterfly abaya, pat yourself on the back, you are basically done cutting, move on to step 16.  :) If you are making a belted one move on to the next step.

Belted Butterfly Abaya:


This is the back of the belted abaya. As you can see the back is super loose and you can’t see any belt. Now how do we do this?

**Here is the followup tutorial for the belt portion**


8) Measure your waist and divide this by two. This will be the part of the belt that actually shows, the elastic part will be hidden. Now, where you’ve marked your front neckline open your abaya and measure down 15″ from the fold, mark this down by drawing a line all the way across the fabric. Since we want the belt to be centered, find the center of this line, mark that down. Now take your half waist measurement and divide this in half. From the center of the line we just drew, mark your half-half waist measurements on each side. Take a min to decide how wide you want your belt to be. Let’s say 2.75″, so just draw a line 2.75″ on each side.


9) Take scrap fabric, and turn em into squares/rectangles. They should be around 4″ (if you used 2.75″ for your belt)


10) Turn the edges of squares over twice to hem each side. Press/iron in place. Then sew the square pieces to ensure there is no loose threads.


11) Mark 2.75″ on your sewn squares and draw a box. so like 2.75″ x 0.25″.


12) Match the boxes on each of your belt “openings”. pin to place and sew the 2.75″x0.25″ onto the abaya. After sewing it, cut the center, without cutting through the seams. fold your boxes to the inside of the abaya, press into place. Now top stitch to hold everything together. Now you have two holes for your belt!


13) To make the actual belt we need the contrasting fabric. Cut out a front belt half the size of your waist and make it 6″ wide. Then cut out a back belt a few inches more than your actual half waist measurement and make it 6″ wide. Fold each of these pieces so that they are now 3″ wide. Then sew the rough edges together to create two tubes. Turn them right side out and iron in place. Now take some elastic and put in inside the back belt. Sew a little bit, and then start stretching the elastic as you sew until you get to the end of the back belt.


14) Sew one side of the front and back belt pieces together.


15) Put it the belt through one of the holes you’ve made, so that the elastic part is on the inside. Now put the other part of the front belt through the other hole. Sew it onto the other side of the back belt piece. wohoo your belt piece is done!

*16) Sorry I don’t have any pictures for the actual sewing since I can’t sew paper ;) But trust me this part is super easy. You have the option of making the arm not so big…To do this you can take some elastic and make a casing as you hem the arm openings. Here is a tutorial on elastic casings. Just use a thin elastic piece. Or you can go the simpler route, just hem the arm openings w/o an elastic. Done! After this match up the arms together and sew each of the sides down. Then hem the bottom, by turning over the fabric twice. Lastly for your neckline do this with bias tape.

***Overlock/zigzag all the rough edges. Press everything in place.

Butterfly Abayall

the black belted butterfly abaya needs some ironing…i was a bit lazy to do so in the heat ;)

You are done! :)

~Few tips: Since there is a lot of fabric, to keep your stitches from stretching don’t let the fabric drag as you sew. When you wear the belted abaya, put the belt of the abaya on first and then the sleeves.

I hope you guys find this tutorial to be helpful. If you have any questions do let me know.

Here is a link to my other sewing tutorials.

You can follow me on instagram:

As always, hit the like/follow/share button if you enjoyed this. Have an awesome day everyone! :)

Author: Veiled Purl

I love to crochet, sew, and knit! =]

53 thoughts on “Butterfly Abaya: A Sewing Tutorial

  1. That looks very vintage, why Is it named abaya?

  2. Even though I am not good at sewing I believe I could follow your pattern tutorials, they are so detailed. Thank you for sharing.

  3. Mash’Allah, You are so cool! :D

  4. Thanks for sharing!! I liked seeing the instructions done with the paper it makes it super easy to follow.

  5. loved the detailed instructions. can u plz upload some more abayas and scarf tutorials? or maybe u have and i am unable to search them out. thanks again for the tutorial helped me a lot.

  6. Your abaya’s are beautiful. Isn’t it wonderful how beauty can be found in simplicity as well as embellishment? I love your tutorials. Your writing style is engaging and your details and paper fabric is very clear. Keep it coming!

    • I totally agree, beauty can definitely be found in even the most simplest things. :) I’m really happy to hear that you like my tutorials. Thank you for your lovely comment =]

  7. assalamualikum, could you post more tutorials of abayas, various types, including the simple one. may Allah reward you greatly for this.

    • wa ‘alaikumasalam, yeah inshaAllah I will be posting more abayas after I get more abaya like fabric. (probably after Ramadan) Aameen and jazakAllah khair. =]

      • assalamualikum warahma tullahiawbaraka tuhu dear sis. baraka Allahu feeki ukhti for the quick sweet reply. sis. is it possible for you to demonstrate with more visuality how you added the belt to the butterfly abaya. I really want to learn it, kindly please. i read what you wrote but it is confusing. could you video tape any way or make more picture type tutorial than words. please. i would appreciate a great deal. trying to learn to make my own abayas for the first time. your post and support is a great blessing in this ramadan. baraka Allahu feeki sis.

        i look forward to the future tutorials as well.

        • wa ‘alaikumasalam, wa feeki barakAllah. I’ll try to post up a separate tutorial on how to do the belt soon inshaAllah. (possibly tom or the next day). JazakAllah khair & I’m glad you found the tutorial useful+ thanks for the support. =]

        • assalamualikum warahma tullahiwabaraka tuhu my sis.

          baraka allahu feeki for this HUGE kindness. i really appreciate your supports and efforts.

          If you do not mind my sis, can i ask where are you from? i feel like egypt?

          take care
          looking for the GREAT tutorial. ‘smile’

  8. assalamualikum sis. how r you? i am sure a lot busy in the last days of Ramadan, i am looking out for your tutorial…. hope to hear from you soon. wassalamualikum

    • Wswr,

      I’m soooooo sorry for the late response! I’ve been so busy with school & my sister is getting married so I didn’t have the time to post on my blog. InshaAllah I’ll have the tutorial up very soon. Again i’m very sorry about being late >_<

      • assalamualikum sister,
        i am very happy to hear from you sister. Baraka Allahu feeki dear sister for the response now ‘smile’. I look forward to it.

        Take care…

  9. salamualeikum…Thank you so much for this´s the first one i easy can follow!! Would love to see more different types of abaya….but this one really is my favorite so far. Inshaallah i am able to make one now. Thanks again sister……wasalamualeikum

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  14. Mash Allah sis your abaya’s are beautiful and finally a pattern that I can follow and understand, let alone your funny, I say bismillah too when I start cutting and sewing, alhumduiallah it always works.

  15. Oh and I wanted to say may Allah reward you.

  16. Salam sister! What type of fabric have you used? This fabric drapes very beautifully and sits perfectly! The tutorial is very effective and easy to follow mashallah!!

    • wswr, I’m glad you found the tutorial helpful. :) For the fabric, to be honest, I really don’t know the names of different types of fabrics…I just go by how the fabric feels and how it falls/drapes over my hand. But I can advise that you use a lightweight fabric, as a lot is needed to make this type of abaya, so you don’t want something heavy since it will just drag on the floor. Sorry I can’t be much of help in this regard.

  17. hi i love your tutorials it helps a lot but how can i join the sleeves and how to cut the sleeves please explain

    • Thanks. The sleeves are actually just cut in one piece with the entire abaya. There isn’t a need to cut out extra sleeves. (see the pictures again). The sewing is quite simple: it’s a straight seam from the edge of the sleeve all the way to the bottom. I hope this helps.

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  19. The belted abayas are so beautiful. Thank you for posting this.

  20. Assalaam alaikum, on the measurement wrist does this mean go up one arm across the shoulder blade and down the other arm or have the hands down to the sides and measure from one to the other?
    Thank you

    • wswr, I’m sorry for the very late response and hope it’s still helpful. Yes that is exactly what it means. You measure from one wrist all the way to the other wrist by going across both shoulders and sides of arms.

  21. assalaamu alaykum

    i came across your site as i wanted to sew my daughter a simple abaya…barakAllahu feeki, as this has been such a valuable tool to help me get started!

  22. The width of my fabric is not long enough so can i add sleeves seperately?

    • Sorry for super late response. Yeah that’s definitely fine as well, especially if you want the sleeves to be tighter from the cuff.

  23. May Allah bless u thanks .love to sew, I’m going to try it inshallah( I only. Wear abayas

  24. Jazakallah so much u made sewing the abaya soo easy .Allah bless u.

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  27. Salam im randa iwent learn how sewing abaya diferent ship and sizes diferent colours im looking forward to hear from you.

  28. I just reverted to Islam and as a new muslimah I am having to completely revamp my wardrobe. Unfortunately I am not financially at a point where I can just purchase new clothes and some Abayas are expensive because they are just so beautiful! Thank you for this tutorial, it is exactly what I was hoping to buy but I am confident I can make this now!! What fabrics do you recommend?

    • mashaAllah that’s lovely to hear. May Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala reward you for your efforts. Ameen.
      For the winter, I’d recommend heavier/thicker fabrics such as some polyester blends. I’m not really a fan of rayon/knit/jersey fabric for abaya.
      For the summer, I’d recommend cotton and also polyester. I hope that helps!

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