How to Make a Mongol Crossover Coat

Research by Charles Mellor, may be reproduced if properly credited

This pattern is conjectural. It is based upon garments seen in Persian
miniature paintings of 1300 to 1620.I have made many of these and they do
look like the paintings if done this way.This pattern incorporates
evidence seen in 18th, 19th, and early 20th century extant garments from
Mongolia, China and India. It is very similar to a long-sleeved kimono with
side gores added to the skirts. This makes sense because Mongolian and
Japanese clothing share the common influence of China, and Persia was
influenced by Chinese and Mongolian cultures. I also know that India was
influenced by Persia and probably the reverse as well. Since this pattern
is conjectural, I have not attempted to show any seams that would have been
necessitated by loom-width economies. If you are interested in this, I am
sure you can look at ‘Cut my Cote’ and figure it out, but since I don’t know
the width of the fabric available in Persia, I just cut for economy with the
width I have.

Both men and women wore this type of garment, though it is seen more
commonly on men. It can be worn as the outermost layer or underneath a
Persian caftan. The most common length seen in paintings is just over the
calf. I have worn one this length in a horse pasture, and that length just
clears a typical pile of horse manure. Makes sense for a culture that spent
so much time on horseback. Paintings show this garment in every length from
floor length to short enough to tuck into the pants. Paintings show men and
women wearing all lengths, though the women wear the longer lengths more
frequently. This garment overlaps in the front, making a double-thickness
wearing these with the front ends of the skirts pulled up and tucked into
the belt at the sides of the hips. This allows a little more air
circulation and shows off the brightly-coloured lining. It also swishes
very nicely for dancing. Because Persian paintings are laid out using
pounced stencils, designs are frequently reversed from left to right.
Therefore it is impossible to tell from the paintings if these garments
usually tied on the left or the right or if it was different sides for men
and women. I do know that if you plan to do archery in this outfit (a
common activity seen in this garment in the paintings) you need to put the
ties on the side you draw the arrow with. This garment is always worn over
pants similar to Turkish salwar.

Based on paintings of the period, a very drapey, softer fabric was most
common. I have seen no evidence in paintings that the super-starched
Turkish look was ever used in Persia. Based on paintings, appropriate
fabrics would be: brocades with small, over-all geometric patterns, brocades
with small over-all patterns of Chinese motifs (most typically cloud-scroll
patterns), brocades with arabesque patterns, brocades with foliate or
acanthus in either over-all or serpentine runners, solids with gold
embroidery or stamping randomly applied or applied to hem and wrist, Turkish
style brocades, Venetian style brocades, plain solid fabrics. Even though
everybody thinks stripes are typical of Middle Eastern design, stripes are
never shown for use in garments in Persian art, except for peasant/labourer
class clothing. These were typically lined (at least the skirts) in a
contrasting color. Sometimes the ties were made of self-fabric and
sometimes made of ribbon. Unlike similar garments from India, the ties were
not really emphasized as a decorative element. I show four ties on this
pattern, but you could use more if you are taller.


This seems to fit best when the width measurement of the garment is made
about an inch or two smaller than the smallest actual measurement of your
torso. The ties then adjust for any variation. If someone is uncomfortable
about showing a large belly you could make it so it just skims the figure,
but they seem to have been worn fairly tight in the pictures, even on people
who are quite large. I find these most comfortable when the skirts are full
enough that you could ride a horse or do a grand plie in them. To make
this fit well on a woman, you may need to adjust the vertical position of
the ties, or just increase the number of ties until it pretty much fills up
all the gaps. Based on all the evidence I have seen of extant Turkish
garments, I don’t believe any bust shaping would have been used, but if you
are extremely busty, you could taper it somewhat from bust to waist,
although I think you can adjust the ties to account for a lot of bust


  • This is typically worn with sleeves about 10 inches longer than
    the fingertips, but pushed up to the wrist. Can also be made short sleeved,
    just above the elbow.
  • The skirt gores can be made of rectangle-shaped pieces with a deep
    inverted pleat or multiple gathers at the waist. Distribute the pleats or
    gathers into a width of 1 inch or less.
  • Skirt can be slit in back for riding, or also on the sides.
  • Prior to about 1400, the taper of the sleeve would not be as
    great; making a sleeve that was more open at the wrist. Since this would
    not stay up when pushed up at the wrist, the sleeves were shortened
    somewhat, to approximately knuckle length