Are you making a tallit? As promised, here is a pattern for an atarah (neck piece) and corner pieces. Earlier, we posted instructions for making a tallit that used a purchased atarah. Now, with this pattern, you can make your own.
Neither the atarah nor the corner pieces are strictly necessary for a tallit, but the corner pieces reinforce the holes for the tzitzit, and the atarah indicates the top of the tallit so that it is always worn the same way.
These additions also provide a great opportunity to personalize your prayer shawl through your choice of fabric. Here, we’ve used blue satin, but you can use just about any medium-weight woven fabric, as long as you’re not using a fabric that would be somehow inappropriate to be worn in a synagogue or during prayer. (You probably know that, but as I’m writing this paragraph an image pops into my head from a time I worked in a fabric store where we carried a print of cartoon people in bathing suits. Not appropriate for a tallit.)
One important restriction: Don’t use linen. Jewish law precludes combining linen and wool in the same garment, and the commercially available tzitzit strings you’ll find are almost always made from wool.
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¼ yard (25cm) medium-weight woven fabric (not linen or linen blend)
Transfer paper (or use your preferred transfer method)
Thread to coordinate with the atarah and corner piece fabric
Print the Atarah and Corner Pattern, making sure your printing settings are set to 100%/Actual size.
Cut one atarah and four corner pieces from the fabric. Transfer the circle on the corner pattern to the fabric pieces.
Baste around all five pieces, ¼” (7mm) from the edges.
Press the fabric under along the basting stitches.
For instructions on how to sew the atarah and corner pieces to the tallit, see our earlier post, How to Sew Your Own Tallit. Note: Be sure to place the edges of the corner pieces close to the edges of the tallit. This ensures that the hole for the tzitzit will lie in a halakhically correct position, about 2″ (5cm) from each edge of the tallit.
UPDATE: You can now find atarah PDF patterns ready for instant download in the SewJewish Shop.
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Maria Bywater is the author of Sew Jewish: The 18 Projects You Need for Jewish Holidays, Weddings, Bar/Bat Mitzvah Celebrations, and Home, available in paperback and PDF format. She teaches hands-on Judaica sewing workshops.