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

Modest and Simple Knit Dress for girls

I have been having a wonderful experience sewing clothing for my girls, from SureFit Design's Children's Kit.  Once I've drafted the master pattern for my receipient, I can be as creative as I can with the patterns that I like.

Here is a very simple and modest dress with a high collar mock neckband, long sleeves, A-line skirt and gathers at the waist.  I chose a very fun fabric made of thermal knit from Fabric.com.  My daughter loves it very much as it is comfortable and enjoys wearing it for Shabbat.

Sewing gives me so much pleasure and I share my pleasures with my family and you.

Commercial A-line skirts

A-line skirts are the easiest to make.  However, if you are not a sewer, and want to get the standard S-M-L size skirts, you can.  When I had little babies, I didn't have time to sew much for myself, so I used to purchase my A-line skirts here. They come in Misses and Womens (Plus size) sizes and different colors.  Don't buy the red one, of course, as the color is not modest.

Flattering A-Line Knit Skirt Flattering A-Line Knit Skirt
You"ll think of plenty of ways to wear this season-spanning basic! Simple, flattering shape with concealed elastic waist. Belt not included. Polyester/Rayon Knit Machine Washable Imported Misses 35" Length

Flattering A-Line Knit Skirt Flattering A-Line Knit Skirt
You"ll think of plenty of ways to wear this season-spanning basic! Simple, flattering shape with concealed elastic waist. Belt not included. Polyester/Rayon Knit Machine Washable Imported Women"s 35" Length

Alternatively, if the length is too long, you can purchase custom-sewn A-line skirts at ModestAnytime.com as well.  They are sewn according to modest Jewish standards with ample ease at the hips and between 4"-6" below the knee.  If the length is too long, then it will not be modest.


You can reach this blog, through a shorter URL, via modestJewishClothing.com.  Try it.

Raglan-style Yoke Blouse

Raglan style sleeves
The Raglan style is actually not a simple style to create, as  it requires joining the sleeves onto the front and back bodices, and there is not supposed to be a shoulder seam.  The sleeves and the triangular part appear to be one smooth piece.  It is challenging for me, to say, the least.

Therefore, I kind of faked this style, by creating a triangular yoke from the shoulder to the front bodice, cut them out and then re-attach them. In this style, I do have a shoulder seam and the sleeves are attached at the arm hole as usual.

So, here is my attempt at a "raglan-style" yoke blouse, thanks to SureFit Design's Children's Patterns Kit that enables me to create a master pattern for my child. (I can't thank you enough, Glenda!)

Princess Style Dress for Girls

I've been using SureFitDesign's Childrens Kit to design clothing for my girls.  Now, I don't have to fiddle with commercial patterns and custom-fit them to be modest. I can just design like a professional and create lovely outfits for my daughters.

Princess style from arm hole to hemline
Princess style from shoulder to hem line
Here is one simple dress I created -- a Princess-style dress.  Most commercial princess style patterns require a bust dart.  But for Jewish modesty, the bust darts, which are meant to emphasize your bust, are out.  However, one can still design the princess style without a dart. It requires a firm hand to draw the curves on your pattern and cut them into two pieces and then re-attach them afterwards.  There are various options to the Princess style - vertical from the shoulder, or horizontal from the armhole.  I chose the former.  So, here it is.

Learn about Jewish modesty on YouTube

Here is a nice video teaching about Jewish modesty guidelines for tops.

Drafting your own Sewing Pattern

After having used commercial patterns for a while, I've decided to look into learning how to draft my own patterns.  There are several resources that you can use to learn how to do this.  Here are some of the options:
  • pattern designing books
  • pattern designing software
  • pattern designing course
As for the books, the 3 books I've found useful that I've studied so far are 

The Joy of Tznius Pattern Book series by Moriya Chesler, Make Your Own Dress Patterns by Adele Margolis, and  Make Your Own Patterns: An Easy Step-by-Step Guide to Making Over 60 Dressmaking Patterns by Rene Bergh.  I'm inspired by Ms Margolis' writing on encouraging the novice designer to experiment with designing such as cutting and slashing the master pattern to create the look you've been dreaming of.  Ms. Bergh's step-by-step tutorial on drafting your basic bodice is very thorough, as it comes with very well-illustrated diagrams.  The very first thing you need to be comfortable doing is to take accurate measurements, and learn about the various measurements needed to draft a basic sloper (bodice) with darts.  Transition to dartless patterns is also taught in both books.  For Jewish dressmaking which focuses entirely on tzniut, Moriya Chesler writes in a unique perspective that not only combines important references to tzniut in her book, but she also explains why making clothing for modesty requires special attention to necklines and wearing fit.  Most pattern making books do not explain why slopers are designed the way they are.  But this is addressed in her books and comes with software (Excel spreadsheets) that make it easy for a dressmaker to record measurements and tabulate important data from the measurements to draft necklines, armholes, sleeve caps, bodice length, etc.  This is not software that drafts patterns, but software, like a calculator to help a dressmaker maintain and check measurements.  I think it's the only pattern making book in the planet that comes with handy software like this.  Reading her books (there are 3 volumes so far), makes me think that she's more technical than other pattern making authors, based on her engineering background mentioned in her books.  Another important detail is the ability to draft sleeve caps that fit the armhole perfectly.  This is sometimes called the "no-ease" sleeve cap design that many dressmakers find challenging to sew.  In addition, she provides online technical support for her community of sewers with updates to her book, questions that arise from her book and prompt with her correspondence.

There are several very expensive software out there that comes with pre-packaged design patterns which you just need to plug in the body measurements (taken accurately) and print out the pattern on your printer, made up of multiple sheets of paper, which you will then have to assemble.  I am not so thrilled with this method because what if the measurements were not correct and I've wasted so many sheets of paper.  Personally, I would prefer to get my  hands in action and draft the patterns which I can see directly onto tracing vellum. For me, that's more visual, and I can erase my mistakes on the spot without wasting the tracing material.  I won't offer the various dress pattern designing software out there which you can simply Google yourself, since I don't recommend this method.  It takes away your ability to learn and instead, transfer your dependence on software.

Pattern-designing courses are available online and offline. Some come with ebooks. Some come with kits.  PatternsThatFitYou.com offers downloadable PDFs that teach you how to draft anything from blouses to maternity clothing.  SureFitDesigns offers kits that come with instruction videos (some of them available on YouTube), master patterns with dot-to-dot drafting based on measurements, designing stylus (special curved and straight ruler with special markings), instruction books and pamphlets and tracing vellum.  I have learned tremendously from both options here and would recommend them highly. The nice thing about SureFitDesigns is that it offers a variety of kits -- women's darted blouse, skirt and dress patterns, children's garments, unisex pants and dartless unisex shirts.  The darted and undarted patterns come with default design ease, and I find the shirt kit offers the most modest pattern drafting for women. All the kits offer a very generous size option, with the ability to expand beyond what's printed on the  master patterns.

By combining these resources (except for the software), I believe you will be able to get a head start in learning to draft a basic pattern that fits you and then go on to making more elaborate patterns for yourself and others.

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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