Nacho's Mama asked if I thought it was worth it to make my own regalia. She said she was able to find regalia on the interwebs for $300.
It's an interesting question.
I probably spent as much money on the project as I would have spent just buying the robes. You have to include all the costs: pattern, fabric, fabric samples, muslin, classes, notions, gas for fabric hunting trips & classes, trim, etc.
I think I got 3 main benefits from making my own regalia. Hopefully, these will help other decide if they want to attempt this project.
1) robes made of natural fiber. This is a real, long term advantage for anyone that anticipates wearing these robes once a semester at sunny, outdoor events or stuffy indoor ones.
2) expanded sewing skills. I'm more or less teaching myself how to sew and I really feel that I gained confidence and skill as I worked on this project.
3) helpful diversion while completing the dissertation. I really needed a secondary project to help me unwind and let me do that "back burner" processing that is often necessary when one gets stuck. It helped keep me motivated while I was slogging through sections of writing that I was less interested in.
I'm very glad that I did this project, but I must admit that I'm not sure that I would have been as motivated to start it if the fancy robes had been $300. I probably would have just purchased them and suffered with everyone else in their polyester, but it's really nice not to have to do so. And, I get great bragging rights. Most computer science grad students don't sew, so it was really neat to show off my crafty skills.
Nacho's Mama, I hope this helps you make a decision!