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

The Neckline Test

It's fairly easy to test if your garment neckline is kosher or not.  We use the "necklace test" as recommended by Rabbi Eliyahu Falk, in his book, "Modesty - An Adorment for Life."  If your garment neckline is outside the vertical part of the perimeter (circumference) of the necklace, then the neckline is not kosher.  If your neckline shows your collarbone, then it is also not kosher.

Here is a picture I took that demonstrates this effect.

See there are two shirts being worn on the dress form.  The white shirt's neckline is beyond the vertical line of the perimeter of the necklace (in silver cord), hence it is not kosher.  The taupe shell worn underneath the white garment has a neckline that sits right inside the perimeter of the necklace and is deemed kosher. There is no way to check for the collarbone here as this is only a dress form, but the collarbone normally sits about one inch below the horizontal part of the neck, and it varies from woman to woman.

I hope this article helps someone! Happy sewing!

Simplicity 2852 Blouse Adaptation

It's hard to find patterns that are Jewishly modest, but I never give up.  Here is one which requires only a minor alteration, to the neckline, to make it perfectly modest.  It's the Simplicity's 2852 pattern.

Simplicity sewing pattern 2852: Misses Knit Tops size H5 (6-8-10-12-14) Simplicity sewing pattern 2852: Misses Knit Tops size H5 (6-8-10-12-14)
Misses Knit Tunics or Tops

If you prefer to wear with a shell underneath, then perhaps any of the styles will work, except that your shell must not be too tight fitting in the sleeves for the sleeveless styles, or be too contrasting in color with the garment.  I don't like layered clothes because in the summer, it gets too uncomfortable.  So I chose Style A, with a minor alteration to the neckline, by adding a mock neckband.  Style B (without a shell) has its sleeve too flair at the bottom to be considered modest as it reveals your elbow when you bend your arm.  

For style A, without an additional neckband, the neckline would be immodest as it's width would expose the part of your shoulder that's slopes down from the neck.  See the inset on the bottom left.  Some people might choose to tighten the neckline by making pleats around it, or adjust the neckline height at the pattern level, but my personal preference has always been a mock neckband.  Happy sewing!

My Favorite Tracing Paper

One of the most essential ingredient to sewing commercial patterns is tracing paper. Commercial patterns are usually multi-sized, and if you plan on reusing them, you don't want to cut out the patterns but instead preserve them. So, we end up tracing the patterns according to the size we need on another medium, usually tracing paper. Some commercial patterns, such as Simplicity, print their patterns directly on soft, tissue paper, which in my opinion, are hard to manage because they crinkle easily and too soft to manipulate.

My favorite tracing paper is cloth-like, made of a polyester blend (80% Poly and 20% Cellulose),  Pattern Ease Tracing Material Pattern Ease Tracing Material

To get a better view, here are some pictures of how I use them.

They are lasting, not wrinkly or crinkly, and fold well. They can be cut using fabric scissors.  It's recommended to reserve fabric scissors only for fabric use so as not to wear them out.  They are sold by the yard, around $2.00.

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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