Sunday, May 20, 2012

Beautiful Modesty

Painting by Sir John Lavery 
(I like the way this dress is showing blowing in the wind, which is a perfect compliment to the ocean's waves.)


The subject of modesty seems to be an especially sensitive one, these days. 

Proponents of immodesty force their bareness on everyone around them, even when it offends others or makes them uncomfortable.  There is an element of rudeness and selfishness involved in the parading of bareness around us.

In Bible classes dealing with the subject of modesty, some women secretly sneer or hotly debate the issue, rather than opening their hearts to the teaching of the Holy Spirit from the word of God.(1st Timothy 2:9)  Others may be genuinely unaware of their immodesty, perhaps from being so used to the culture of immodesty.
A Rest By the Pool
by Frederick Hiddeman
(This painting of a girl with a fishing pole is a favorite of mine)


 If you would love modesty, look at  the old paintings of the previous centuries,  which record a time when clothing worn in public covered more of the body. Modesty and beauty are closely connected. In response to a modesty lesson, some girls might react in an exaggerated way by heaping loads of sloppy clothing on them to illustrate their understanding of modesty. But modesty does not mean that you have to look like your clothes were thrown on with a pitch fork.

 An older woman reported that she once taught a lesson in modesty to some young women, who then wore fancy prom dresses to church, in exaggerated mockery of her lessons. The meaning of "adorn themselves in modest apparel" (Ist Timothy 2:9) is to cover up in well-arranged adorning of appropriate long clothing.  If a person really wants to please the Lord, their clothing should reflect the beauty of His creation, and His glory, and look like an appropriate adornment. This means that it should not be exaggeratedly dull or showy, but dignified and respectful.

For mothers, older women, and teachers,  here are a few points you might consider, when approaching the delicate and volatile subject of modest clothing.  I have left  comments beneath some of the pictures about the clothing.

The Shepherdess 
by Daniel Ridgeway Knight
(Though this garment is rather dark and dull,  some of the clothing sold to us  today is no better. At least this skirt and cape is feminine and modest.)



Go into the Past for Illustration.  I've chosen these 19th century paintings to illustrate modest, beautiful clothing, because they depict women outdoors in God's glorious creation, with all its texture, color and weather. Sportswear does not have to mean "bare wear."  It is just as easy to be outdoors in modest clothing as in immodest clothing.

 You can see from old photographs and paintings that women did not think their dresses hindered their enjoyment of the great outdoors. An added advantage to modest clothing is that it gives a woman a feminine look  and the appearance of graceful movements.  It also protects the woman from the embarrassment of immodesty. 

Did you know that it was only a few years ago that a woman would have been embarrassed if her slip was showing, and blushingly ashamed if any part of her underwear, including straps, was apparent?  Did you know that women used to respect other people enough to dress modestly? 

Girl With Goats at a Fjord

The Dahl's have got to be my favorite northern artists, and it is always difficult to tell which painting is by the grandfather, the father or the son. I love the happy, healthy glowing faces of the girls they painted near the fjords, and the bright skirts and vests, with the feminine white blouses And notice how there does not seem to be a discordant note between the subject and the surrounding nature: it is all beautiful.)

Inspire Modest Dressing by showing them beautiful fabrics and patterns, or using catalogs that sell appropriate and lovely clothing. Go through any publications you can find and circle the ones that are modest and beautiful at the same time.  While claiming to be liberal about clothing, with phrases like, "No one should judge people by their clothing," many people make fun of long dresses or historically-based clothing, which shows their bias in favor of modern bare-wear.




Cutting Roses
by Daniel Ridgeway Knight
(The jacket and blouse look like something worn today, and the skirt could easily be made, even without a pattern. I like the way many of these paintings show the women's clothing to match their surroundings, such as a rose-print blouse and the nearby rose bush.)


Wear attractive garments yourself as an influence. The easiest way to teach beautiful modesty is to wear it. Wear cheerful clothing at home and in any public situation.  It gives others courage  to wear long skirts when they see someone else doing it. You might be surprised at how your persistence  can cause a change in the modesty at church or in your own town.


In a Garden
by Henry John Yeend King


Try Wearing Beautiful, Modest Clothing  just one day each week, to church, to show honor and respect. Buy or make something special, that is not formal, yet a little more dressy, just for church. Older women, even if they are not teachers, can teach by example by the way they dress. 

A Game of Tennis
by Leopold Kowalski

(Interesting how ladies could still play a rigorous game of tennis in the longish tennis costume of the day.)

Show how you can find alternatives to the world's wacky fashions. If  you are really looking for beautiful, modest clothes, you can find them, but it will take more effort. There is a prevailing belief that we should not be concerned about clothing or what it looks like on us, because it is vanity or it is materialistic, but that is a faulty way of thinking, for it shows that you do not care to be polite to others and do not care what kind of view you give them.  When you begin to care what others have to see, you can set about to find clothing that is more modest. 

The Old Mill
by Henry John Yeend King

Emphasize how beautiful modesty builds a good reputation for yourself, your family, the church and the nation.  It is popular for foreigners to hate the Western  countries because the common belief is that they are "immodest, decadent, immoral and greedy," but you can do your part to nullify that claim by embracing modest beauty in your choice of clothing.

Boreas by John William Waterhouse
(In the wind, this shawl takes on a graceful look, and the print on the blue dress looks quite modern. This outfit could easily be imitated in contemporary clothing.)

19th Century Ladies Golf

In the Meado
by Henri Pierre Hippolyte Duboise

(Through the prejudiced eyes of moderns, the Victorians were a stiff society, consumed with propriety and silly customs, but the ladies in the painting look casual and don't seem to be too horrified about sitting on the ground.  Their clothing was appropriate for all occasions, both indoor and out. They had their troubles with immodesty too, in those days, but the clothes in general seem to be suitable for all kinds of activities.)


The Letter
by Henry John Yeend King

(The aprons of these Victorian paints interest me. I see some of them are rolled up and buttoned, and others are rolled at an angle. Aprons were used for many different things.)

Teach that the eye of the beholder should be drawn to the face, but if the body is not well-covered, it will draw attention away from the most important part, with is the real you--your personality and the expressions you use to minister to others. Your eyes and your smile  and your voice should not have to compete with immodest clothing. 

There are other meanings of the word modesty, and one of them is the lack of boastfulness. Wearing immodest clothing is like showing off, which is the opposite of modest behavior. A person who does not want to boast, does not reveal everything about herself.  A woman should cover body in a beautiful and modest way, not because she ashamed of her body, but because she needs to hide her privacy from others.  

Finally, teach that  modesty is commanded in scripture: "...that women adorn themselves in modest apparel..." 1st Timothy 2:9-10  In the Koine Greek, which was the original language of the New Testament, the word adorn means to arrange or put in order. One definition is to drape or decorate. The word modest means orderly, decent, harmonious arrangement.  Apparel  means a long garment.

One can conclude from these word definitions, that God does not just expect modesty, but beautifully arranged clothing in good design and orderly, which is beautiful modesty. A good teacher should illustrate by her own clothing that she is in love with life and is enthusiastic about  beautiful clothing. Her example and happy attitude will reach the eyes of the most reluctant learners, and those who will not hear, will remember the vision of loveliness of someone they saw, adorned in modest apparel.

The Thinking Housewife  also has a post about modesty today.
Andrea has a post on modesty also.

I'm so happy for new visitors, and I ask that you also click on the comment section to see the good things that other viewers say, which add to the strength of this post.

To print this post for your notebook or for distribution, go here.


29 comments:

Katrinka said...

Thank you for this beautiful post, Lydia. I especially enjoy the lovely paintings. I am so thankful I can sew, and feel newly inspired to find some pretty fabric and make a dress or skirt and blouse. The clothes in the stores really don't contain much in the way of fabric or design, yet the price tag is the same as if they did. They're not very well constructed and usually need buttons resewn or seams that are puckered and sloppily sewn. And the style seems to make blouses with pinched little sleeves and are very unflattering... I told my daughter that women look like they're wearing their little sister's clothes. I am glad to see, though, that some of the stores seems to be carrying more feminine, light, flowery clothing with lace and longer skirts.

As for modesty, I am trying to think back to my earlier days... I became a Christian when I was 30 years old and it took some time after that before I began to feel uncomfortable with my clothing style. There was always a 'line' I didn't cross in my dress, but your article is causing me to think about what that process was.

Thank you for the time and effort this post must have required, and thank you, once again, for something very thought provoking!

maria said...

I have been reading your posts and as always, I feel quite encouraged to continue on my conviction to dress modestly and feminine.

As a woman approaching her 50's, I find myself covering more and more. The style of clothes geared towards this age group can either be too frumpy or too revealing. No happy medium I'm afraid.

But alas, like Katrinka, I am also a sewer and lately, Our Lord has been truly imprinting in my heart to return to the long dresses of old. To wear clothes that look lovely without all that skin showing.

Where did we go wrong I wonder?

Thank you so much Lydia for being such a beacon of light to all of us ladies.

Blessings to you and yours,

Maria

Anonymous said...

It is sad that young women would be so disrespectful as to mock an older woman who is trying to teach them the valuable lesson of modesty. How discouraging for the older woman!

It reflects very poorly on parents when their daughters behave that way. It makes people wonder what kind of upbringing the children had, and if the parents are paying any attention at all to what their girls are doing. So many girls and women these days seem desperate for attention, and the fashions they wear reflect that.

Anonymous said...

I think laziness is a factor in the sloppy dressing we see everywhere. Women have fallen out of the habit of dressing nicely. It really isn't hard to find simple shirts with sleeves and a plain skirt. It isn't hard to find proper foundation garments - my local WalMart has an entire section of every sort of foundation garment imaginable. I can see where women might not find the most dressy things in such places, but anyone who really wants to dress modestly and nicely can and it does not take a lot of money. It is nice if you can sew, but if you can't, there are plenty of alternatives.

I dress more modestly than I ever used to, and many of my clothes come from Goodwill. I have received many compliments on modest dresses that cost $6!

If you don't know where to start, buy one or two simple, long skirts and 3-4 blouses with sleeves that go to the elbow. Buy a couple of camisoles or scarves if the neckline is too low, which is often the case. Add a simple pair of shoes and some simple earrings that go with the outfits and you have several modest outfits. Every other week or so, buy another item, even if it's just a $5 skirt at Goodwill. Before you know it, you will have a lovely wardrobe of modest clothes.

Anonymous said...

I wished my mother and father had made me dress more modestly when I was younger.
I made lots of mistakes that gained attention from boys and men I shouldn't have had.

I remember the first two pieced bathing suit I put on. I felt so embarrassed. After wearing it for some time I became less sensitive about showing myself off.

If I'd been taught to wear more modest apparel, I would have continued to dress modestly when an adult and wouldn't have had the problems I did.

Mrs. J

Anonymous said...

Its never too late to start dressing modestly.
When I started seeking the Lord's will for my life and what would please him he showed me just because we may not have learned modest dressing as children, he loves us enough to change our heart no matter what our age.

Thank you Lydia for being obedient to the Lord and for your interest in helping us to learn of modesty and in modest dress. Your posts on modesty are so helpful.

Mrs. J.

Trish said...

I remember the days when a lady would take great care to make sure her bra strap or petticoat hem was not visible.
These days petticoats are hardly worn for modesty and underwear straps have become outerwear.
I feel sorry for young women who have not been taught how to dress with a dignity that can still be fun and pretty.
Your modesty posts are always so helpful in this regard, Lydia.
I love the images you offer us as inspiration.
'Modest' does not have to mean plain, dowdy or boring!
As these lovely paintings demonstrate so well.
blessings..Trish

Anonymous said...

I love modesty and everything about it. Just yesterday I was teaching Sunday school to a group of young ladies. My lesson was on the virtue of dignity. One of the areas to be more dignified in is in our dress. One young lady became a bit aggitated at the topic because she knows we teach a strong message on modesty. She spoke up and said, you can wear whatever you want and still be dignified by the way you carry yourself. Yes carriage does have somewhat to do with it, but not altogether. My older sister spoke up (also a teacher) and said what if I came out in a big clown suit with fuzzy multicolored hair? Of course the young lady was referring to a lack of modesty. In which I replied to her it's very hard to view a someone in a very respectful and dignified way when their body is out in the open. You loose your dignity when you display what God told us to cover up. Fig leaves was not enough for God at the beginning of time and it's still not enough at this present time.
Ginger

Anonymous said...

I think many of us shrink in shame at the way we used to dress before we learned better! Modesty was not taught as thoroughly as it is today. We were vaguely and generall told to "be modest" but no one says "You can't wear those shorts," or "Don't walk around in sunbathing clothes." We now have the web, with a wonderful collection of articles and so many good links to help us understand this issue. I remember being young and not understanding it at all. I am sure people tried to tell me about my modesty but my mind was just not open to it. I believe it affected my life in adverse ways and I gave the wrong influence and perhaps attracted the wrong people.

LadyLydia said...

Ladies, I am working on a sketch sheet of designs to sew, to include here. I don't like emphasising modesty without providing an alternative. Of course I dont mean to say that one must wear a hem so long that it drags on the ground, but in this modern area, there is no reason to dress as though you are going to dig a ditch, unless you are a farmer and you really are going to. American women wear jeans, which once were made for the gold miners, a very rough and difficult activity. Home living is not so dirty and rough that it requires combat clothes, and we need not dress in camofluge. In front of children, who will use their mothers as a standard for their tastes, women wear dull, immodest clothing (black tank top with black leggings, for example) when even a little boy would delight in seeing a pretty dress with an interesting print, on his mother. I've talked about this before in previous posts.

Rightthinker said...

I love this article! God sees us with a great amount of love, protection and that we are immensely valued. When we dress each day, we ought to keep that in mind.

Thank you for these wonderful reminders of these truths!

God Bless!

Anonymous said...

I find those who say "it does not matter what we wear" actually promoting the bare-wear, and ridiculing the modest clothing, or bashing the styles of the Victorians. They obviously have a prejudice about clothing, with a preference for the immodest wear.

Anonymous said...

Yes, this is so important. It is a Biblical command. It is important so that our brothers in Christ do not stumble (just as locks are to keep honest people honest, modesty keeps decent men decent by helping them not to have impure thoughts). It makes others comfortable. I am acutely uncomfortable when around people, men or women, who are baring it all. I don't know where to look. Oh, and BTW, I am the one who had some younger ladies show up in fancy gowns after I told them about modesty (I asked that they please not wear blue jeans to church, especially if ministering in music up on the platform, instead of shorts, and was accused of being "formal"). Some showed up in even more immodest clothing; some in evening gowns to mock me. When we notified them we were leaving that church, one of them was saying how the older women should teach the younger women, and I said, "Well, I tried," and she looked down at the ground and said, "I know you did." What a world we live in! Good post, Lydia.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I made a mistake in my comment about the evening gowns. I asked the ladies to PLEASE WEAR blue jeans instead of shorts (because they are more modest) and got called "formal." Blue jeans are formal? Hardly. But they are a step up from shorts as far as modesty goes. I was not even demanding they wear skirts/dresses. This is how resistant people are to a simple request or correction.

Anonymous said...

I feel so embarassed on your behalf, Anon. 9:04. What those younger women did, & the disregard with which they treated you, is shameful. Who could blame you for leaving that particular church?

There is also the silly notion today that in order to prove how comfortable a woman feels "in her own skin", as its said, she has to peel off as many layers of clothing as possible. Dove soap even did a huge ad campaign once where they had women (usually in their fifties & sixties) posing in varying degrees of nudity. I think the point was to show that women can be beautiful at any age. Frankly, though, I have to say it was to provoke the consumer, & move the bar of modesty just that little bit further. Anybody who might complain...."oh, come on, don't be such a prude!"

Anyway, this is the world that we live in, but we can do our part to try & make things beautiful, & to dispel the notion that all Western women are loose & sluttish.

Brenda

LadyLydia said...

I noticed that, and altered the comment for you, since it was sent anonymously.

Anonymous said...

Modesty is about setting godly boundaries, lines, and bars with people. We are so encouraged in this culture to let our hair down, let it all hang out, go au natural, take it easy, go with the flow, open up and reveal all in therapy or in public such as facebook or talk shows. There's no privacy or standards "allowed."

But strangers you pass on the street or meet in supermarket checkout lines are not your intimates. There are levels of acquaintanceship and intimacy with the various people in our lives. It is not right to share our entire life, and bodies, with everyone we meet. There's no need for strangers to know things that only a husband should know about his wife.

Girls and women become hard and callous because they are intimate with everyone and everything, requiring no standard of behavior or relationship before baring all to the eyes and ears of others. They feel they must show off what they have to attract a man or be worthy of love. The truth, as Lady Lydia points out, is the opposite. Women must require to be loved (unearned) before we reveal ourselves completely. Standards of behavior (love) go down because a man doesn't have to treat a girl right, love her, commit to her in marriage to get all he wants at a base and sin-depraved level.

He never has to become a better man to have all the intimacy of knowing the privacy of a woman's body and having a visual filmstrip of a woman's body to play and replay in his mind. A pervert doesn't even need his imagination anymore. He never has to grow out of his perverted ways. If you dress as if you are trashy, men will treat you as if you are trash. How special or precious is a woman, if she's putting everything on display, every day, everywhere she goes to anyone who happens to glance at her in public? If we aren't trash, why dress as if we are?

We ought to be ashamed of treating persons (ourselves or other people) made in the image of God in a selfish, sinful, and destructive manner as dressing or acting immodestly.

Anonymous said...

I have recently shed 50 pounds through diet and exercise and now have a youthful figure. While my figure may be youthful, I am middle-aged and I have wrinkles, crinkles, and dark spots that I have no desire to share with the world. I also need a little help from foundation garments to look my best. Like Maria, I am having a hard time finding attractive, feminine, modest, and age appropriate clothing in our local stores. Thank you for the inspiration to look outside of fashion trends and our "youth culture" for clothing. I would also appreciate your commentary on dyed hair. LIke most women in my age group, I swing back and forth between "going natural" and trying to use Lady Clairol to turn back time.

Susan said...

Thank you for this wonderful post. It has given me some great ideas for modest dressing. I am 54 years old and am dismayed by how I am seeing women portrayed in society today. I am shocked at what I am seeing when I am out in public even just grocery shopping. I made a personal vow to look my best every single day and portray a dignified image for younger women. As Christian women I think this is very important. Self respect is rapidly disappearing in society and it is taking a toll on families as a whole. Since wearing skirts and dresses every day I have found that I am much more comfortable in them even doing housework and I get many complements from women who pass me by on the street. I get all my clothes at thrift stores and am learning how to sew so there has been very little expense in switching from slacks. I also feel better about myself and I find I am taking more time to take care of myself which I didn't do before. I am looking forward to any sewing ideas you may have.

Kimberline said...

Thanks for another encouraging post, Lydia. We received a graduation announcement in our mail last week and a picture of the graduating girl was included. The picture was taken from above her and included quite a view of her cleavage. We have a board where we post the pictures that friends and family send us, but I wasn't sure this one should go up. I am pleased to say that my teenagers did post it ~ with a strategic placement of a small photo over her cleavage. This is a church going family, but the daughters show an awful lot of skin. My boys spend a lot of time keeping their eyes busy elsewhere, but my daughters have taken note of how the other boys stare and have commented that they do not want any boy or man looking at their bodies like that. I feel sorry for men actually. Where CAN they look when most women dress just this way? I have heard men say that it is granting permission for men to open check it out when a woman goes out with her "charms" on display. Is that really the attention women want to have? I simply don't get it.

Sherry said...

Thank you, again, Lady Lydia. I believe there is a "spirit" in this age among women that is not Godly but is actually rebellion against the "fetters" of God. Amazing to me is that the leadership in churches seems to be intimidated by it, so it is left alone, and it grows and flourishes and defiles many.

In our town there is a museum which has a huge, blown-up photo of two smiling women climbing up Pikes Peak at the turn of the 19th century--in long, woolen skirts! Unlike the "trapped" feeling of jeans, their legs were allowed to move freely as they were climbing, and their undergarments were keeping them absolutely warm (it is cold up on that mountain, even in summer).

I often tell my children that our clothing is a blessing to others because it shields them from having to view what we really look like underneath!

Anonymous said...

This is a great article. I have a question about historical garments. I enjoy reading Jane Austen novels and even watching PBS versions of these novels. What I have noticed is that while the ladies in the tv shows have on beautiful dresses, they are showing a lot of cleavage that makes it uncomfortable to watch. Is this an accurate portrayal of the times or is this Hollywoods interpretation? What they show seems to contradict the values of the time. In the pictures you show, this is not an issue. Michele

Mrs. B said...

I wondered the same thing as Michele, when watching Jane Austen movies, the cleavage shown, sometimes, is shocking and I was wondering if it was a Hollywood/film industry thing.

Kate said...

Lydia,

Thank you once again for this timely post. I've been dresses only for years now because of your teachings. Yesterday, I was invited to a yoga class. My companion asked as I got into the car if I had any pants, because she had never seen yoga done in a skirt. I assured her that I had leggings on under my skirt. At the class, I stripped my skirt and exercised in leggings. I felt uncomfortable and naked. AND STUPID for not keeping to my standards. Instead, I'll do yoga at home in my leggings and long prairie skirts from now on. I don't know what I was thinking; I bawled all afternoon with shame. I seriously don't fit in anymore, not even with women who pride themselves in their idea of modesty. Pants are not modest for women.

On a happier note, I bought some lovely 100% baby blue cotton gingham for a new dress that I'll embellish with ric rac. Gotta love ric rac. And I'll embroider the neckline with forget-me-nots.

Anonymous said...

I think, as another commenter said, we have gotten lazy about our appearance. We just want to wash, throw something on, and go (me, too!). It really doesn't take too much time to look "proper," does it? And, I, too, have always wondered about all the tight bodices and low cut gowns that the Hollywood movies show in these period films. Did women really dress that way? Long skirts, but everything showing on top that can be shown. Somehow, that doesn't seem authentic to me. In actual photographs and paintings, women two centuries ago and before were always wearing blousy bodices with shawls, as well as long full skirts. Men also wore much looser clothing -- full trousers and long jackets that were tunic-like.

LadyLydia said...

If you will watch the videos and also look at the paintings and old photographs of the time, you will see it is just not as provocative as the movie makers portray the period of time. In one of the videos I posted, it shows women on the sidewalk walking as carefree and easy as ever, and not stiff and formal, and yet they had modest skirts and blouses. You may have to watch the video several times to see this.

Anonymous said...

Lydia,

An excellent post. A comprehensive encyclopedia of historic costume (I have listed several good sources in the comments sections of previous costume/clothing posts) will educate the reader about the evolution of attire from ancient times to the present. though atypical styles have arisen briefly throughout history (e.g. the '[bloomer' and 'American' costumes of the mid 1800's), a comprehensive shift toward immodesty coupled with the masculinisation of womens' attire did not occur until the 20th century. Key axial points upon the devolutionary timeline of womens' (and mens') attire occurred in the 1920’s (women for the first time on mass bore their arms, cleavage, cut their hair short, wore shorter skirts than at any other time in the preceding 1500 years, began to adopt trousers en mass, among other revolutionary social trends), the 1960’s (the invention of pantihose in 1966 allowed for ever shorter hemlines, hotpants became acceptable etc), and the late 1990’s onwards where fashion houses openly promoted inner wear as outer wear, blurred the lines between mens’ and womens’ wear, stepped away from structure in garments (e.g. the cut of blouses, skirts etc, opting for stretch fabrics, even using cotton weaves with some stretch enabling garments to be tailored to show every line and not hang strait from the shoulder. In addition, colour and print all but disappeared; no more pastels, bright solid tones, bold yet beautiful prints or delicate florals – a tyranny of drabness has descended upon the mainstream clothing world since the late 1990’s with only two seasons since 1996(inclusively) that have made feminine, modest, colourful garments ‘the norm’ (1996 and 2004). Additionally, Western dress is held up as a badge of freedom and honour in non Western cultures increasingly – e.g. the association between western wear and womens’ rights/democracy being closely cultivated; tragic, as so many non-Western cultures have preserved beautiful, modest, feminine yet practical wear for women, and beautiful, gentlemanly attire for the menfolk.

Let us rebel – rebel against the slobocracy, the tyranny of exposure, the objectification of women in a society that is so warped it views exposure as the one currency of liberation and freedom (the exact opposite to what it really is) and live feminine, Christian dignity every single day; even muted tones and darker shades can be lovely if one does not go in for florals or frills, it is all about cut and arrangement of the garments worn. Not only does the Coine Greek of the New Testament speak of order and arrangement, the word used to describe the appropriate dresss for a woman is ‘Catastole (excuse spelling) – a long, covering, non-exposing robe. Everything you have spoken of in your clothing articles fits this category; the exposing, skimpy clothing of today certainly does not.

Keep speaking the truth!!

LadyLydia said...

Mrs. Eliot in Australia: thank you so much for your usual clarity and honesty regarding this matter. Western women have been complaining about clothing ever since the abandonment of the dressmakers in the early 1900's, but we have sewing machines. If any woman can operate a computer they can learn to run a sewing machine, since it is almost all computer operated these days. Using a sewing machine can give a woman more choice in her clothing. I would suggest picking out some fabric that you "just love" making a skirt with or without a pattern. Patterns are another problem, though, as the modern patterns are not well tested and require oodles of fitting and adjusting, which discourages home sewing. So the best thing to do is sketch out what you want and try to find patterns that are close to that. And you can always order from a place like Lilies of the Field, that makes beautiful clothing.

Anonymous said...

Lydia,

as one who cannot sew, and who cannot learn (there haven't been classes for vision impaired sewers in decades, and Bernina last produced a VI specific sewing machine in 1984), I frequent businesses such as 'Lilies' for my clothing, supplimenting it with rare finds from department stores etc. A pretty cameo broach can rescue a blouse from immodesty in one simple step (have two blouses that fit this category). I've also been having fun with shoes and handbags (purses for our US readers), and a simple bun in lace buncover from www.katiesmercantile.com takes five minutes to arrange and no more.

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