I set out to weave cloth to make a 7th C Persian Robe based on several extant robes I have found online and seen depicted on many Sasanian Silverworks. When I began my costuming research I found a number of images of Sasanian women in a variety of sources. I began tracking the stated status of each woman and what items of clothing they were depicted wearing. Of 17 noblewomen depicted in a variety of sources, 3 were depicted wearing robes or coats, of the 17 images of non-noble women or those whose status was not specified none were wearing this clothing style. Below is one of my favorite depictions of a noble woman wearing a coat/robe.
I rarely put on a warp to weave just one item. Rather I prefer to put on longer warps and weave a variety of items from the same warp. I, therefore, put on a point twill warp and wove fabric for my son, my husband, and this robe. The blue wool for the robe was woven at 20 ends per inch and 20 picks per inch. I finished the fabric in a normal cycle and warm wash in my washing machine. I had woven with this Shetland wool a number of other times and knew that in my machine on this wash the wool would not felt, but would full nicely. Before cutting the cloth my husband and I had tried a variety of cutting techniques to see which pattern best provides the same shape of the robes depicted on Sasanian woman. We cut the robe using our chosen pattern, which is essentially geometric construction. I sewed the robe together by hand and flattened and sewed down each side of every seam. Finally, I was left with deciding how to finish the cut edges that made up the hems. In order to make this final decision I conducted further research into Sasanian coats. I discovered a note inThe Metropolitian Museum's analysis of a 7th C Persian Riding Coat stating "patches of fabric in plain weave of undyed linen to reinforce armpits and hemline". This analysis indicated that the hems of this coat were reinforced with linen bands on the inside. This method can be used to both reinforce and finish the seams. As I had already woven my own cloth for the robe it seemed only fitting that I weave the linen bands to use as the hem finishing. I warped 8.7 meters of 4"/10.16 cm wide linen and wove it in plain weave. I sett the linen at 20 epi and wove with a firm beat to give the final cloth an overall sturdiness to be suitable for the final purpose. My son also helped in the weaving. I remembered that linen is best woven when wet, so I kept a wet town on the back of the warp as I was weaving. I felt a wet towel or plain cloth placed on the warp would be a more authentic method for keeping the warp wet than using a spray bottle. Plain weave is very fast to weave so the weaving went quickly. The final steps of the project to date was to sew bands down to the right side of all remaining cut edges, then press the band back to the inside of the fabric. Lastly I sewed along the fold and sewed down the linen band on the inside.