Mishlei (Proverbs) 31:22,24

כב מַרְבַדִּים עָשְׂתָה-לָּהּ שֵׁשׁ וְאַרְגָּמָן לְבוּשָׁהּ
כד סָדִין עָשְׂתָה וַתִּמְכֹּר
She made for herself pleasant-looking bed covers; she also made herself white (linen) and purple garments to wear
She manufactured robes and sold them

Jewish Halachic Guidelines for Modest Skirts

The following are guidelines according to Halacha based on the book "Modesty, An Adornment for Life." I personally find them wonderful in order to create modest clothing for my family.


  • All Jewish women and girls, married or unmarried, must cover all parts of their main body (torso) plus parts of their arms and legs when in public or in the presence of individuals outside their immediate family.   
  • Skirts must cover the knees completely.  
  • The upper sections of the legs must be covered in such a way that the limbs are totally disguised and the shape of the thigh and upper sections of the legs cannot be seen.
ב מַה-יָּפוּ פְעָמַיִךְ בַּנְּעָלִים בַּת-נָדִיב חַמּוּקֵי יְרֵכַיִךְ

How beautiful are your shoe-clad footsteps O daughter of (Avraham Avinu) the nobleman; (how refined is your dress in that) your thigh is hidden and obscured. -- Shir Hashirim 7:2

Skirts must guarantee cover of knees at all times. Length of skirt should extend at least 4 inches below the knees. 
If the girl is tall and has long lengs, it is only obvious that the length of skirts for tall girls should be longer than 4 inches below the knee. The skirt should cover a girl's legs when sitting down, getting onto a bus, running, sitting on a swing, etc. Standard skirt lengths based on standard sizes do not apply to all girls and women. It is best to customize a skirt based on individual measurements.

Money Saving Tips:
  •  When you make a skirt for a growing girl, it is best to make it with a deep hem at the bottom, so that you can let the hem down gradually as she grows

The upper sections of the legs must be covered in such a way that the limbs are totally disguised and the shape of the thigh and upper sections of the legs cannot be seen. The garment should have at least 3-4 inches more material on the widest part of the thigh area (approximately 7 inches down from the waist) than the measurement of the body itself.
Kosher styles - fully pleated skirts, flared skirts (that have plenty of cloth and hang graciously and loosely), straight skirts if they are loose fitting, A-line skirts (which broaden gradually as they descend)

Non Kosher styles - tight-fitting skirts, close-fitting skirts, straight narrow skirts (pencil skirts), V-line skirts (which gradually become narrower as they descend, also known as tapered skirts), wrap around skirts


Clingy Fabric

Fabric should not cling to the body as it rubs against a nylon slip or the body, because when this happens, the shape of the leg is evident. This "static electricity" problem occurs when synthethic fabrics rub against other synthetics or skin. Skirts made from wool, linen, cotton and viscose do not pose a problem.  There are 3 solutions to remedy this problem.

  1. Add fabric conditioner to the final rinse of the garment
  2. Spray the garment with an "anti-static" spray
  3. Wear a cotton slip underneath skirt
Translucent Fabric

Fabric should not be translucent such as crepe, chiffon, or other lightweight fabrics. I have personally noticed that many lightweight fabric sold in stores today are semi-sheer. So, be careful, especially when you purchase fabric online when you can't see and feel the fabric. Because of the softness of some fabric, a strong wind will force the fabric against the body thus revealing the wearer's shape. Solutions to remedy this problem include:
  1. Wear a cotton slip underneath skirt
  2. Gather or pleat your skirt to add extra weight to it
  3. Wear a overcoat outdoors
  4. Add a deep hem to the skirt for extra weight

Stretchy Fabric

Stretch fabric is popular among knit fabric and has its place when using it to make neckbands, headbands, waistbands, elastic bands etc. However, they are not suitable for making clothing out of them if the final garment will cling to the body, showing its silhouette. Stretch fabrics when worn on expectant mothers are not modest. However, there are solutions to remedy this when using stretch fabrics. Here are some of mine, based on my experience.

  1. Use a low stretch fabric (less than 20%) instead of a high stretch fabric.
  2. Make the skirt loose hanging with gathers.
  3. For blouses and tops, use a straight pattern instead of one with curves along the bodice and add lots of ease (extra fabric).
  4. Wear a cotton slip underneath skirt.


  1. Absolutely no slits in skirt whatsoever, even if you are wearing a slip underneath skirt
  2. Skirts with laces on the bottom -- depends on the community and impression it makes.  If the lace appears to the onlookers like the inner slip is showing, then it is assur (forbidden), but if the  lace does not appear as thought the inner slip is showing, then it's perfectly fine!
  3. A skirt may be decorated with embroidery, however, it is unrefined to place the decoration (embroidery, buttons, appliques, ribbons, stitches, etc.) in the center of the upper front of the skirt, because this draws attention to the part of the person that is private.

Belts and Waistband

Refined, decorative belts may be worn if they are neither highly ornamental nor eye-catching.  Eye-catching belts include those with 
  • accessories hanging from them
  • bright beads and stones embedded in them
  • heavy individual pieces of gold attached around them giving luster to the belt
  • names of manufacturers in large imprinted or embedded on the belt
  • very heavy gold chain with golden hearts dangling from the chain at intervals

Chazal brings a verse in  Yeshaya 3:24 warning sinners 
"Where the highly decorative belts, called צלצול, were worn, the flesh shall become cancerous and develop holes!"

The Maharsha quotes the Gemara in Sotah 8b where a zonah (prostitute) would gird herslef with a belt called a צלצול to attract the attention of man to herself.

Excessively wide belts are not recommended if won like a sash and binds the dress or skirt much lower down than usual and has the effect of pronouncing the thigh area, or binds the dress or blouse above the waistline to pronounce the chest area.
wide sash belt accentuate
the body on an already
tight-fitting (swim) dress

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Training Girls in Dressmaking

In our times, it is highly commendable to train girls in the art of dressmaking and general sewing. Lessons should be given on this subject in schools, and if necessary, also in seminaries.

If the girl becomes really expert, she will even be able to make garments for herself, and later on, when married also for her daughters. Also, she could take up dressmaking as a profession.

Source: Modesty, an Adornment for Life, Rabbi Pesach Eliyahu Falk