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Sewing Classic Modest Clothing

Principles of clothing modesty are culturally, aesthetically and religiously dependent. They can vary with the age of the wearer (small children often exempt), the geographic locale, community acceptance of what is deemed appropriate and can change with the span of a few years. At times, expectations of modest dress may even be difficult to decipher. Home sewing modest clothing may provide an answer.

Dresses, jumpers, pinafores, blouses, blouses with attached slip, shifts, skirts that are A-line, tiered, prairie, long, half-circle, and wrap skirts, tunics, clothing for all stages of motherhood, aprons, undergarments, children’s clothing, and men’s clothing can all be sewn from readily available patterns. Clothing that follows common-sense standards of modesty, at times long-sleeved, reserved necklines, tops that respectfully cover, and made of non-revealing fabrics, can nevertheless produce stylish contemporary garments that can be sewn with individual style.

Many online pattern companies do offer modest clothing patterns. Look for historic, vintage and folk-wear patterns if a search on ‘modest clothing patterns’ does not meet your needs. Patterns from well-known pattern companies such as Butterick, McCall’s, and Simplicity have many clothing designs that would be considered contemporary yet modest.

A note on vintage designated patterns. Look for vintage reproduction patterns that have a modern adaptation for today’s sewer with updated construction information, easy to decipher diagrams, and modern sizing. True vintage patterns start with an assumption that the sewer has long acquired sewing skills and so construction information is often very minimal. Patterns were not multi-size, lack helpful alignment markings, no mention of yet-to-be fusible interfacings (muslin often suggested) and seam allowance information absent or barely proposed. For sewing purists or historical costume makers, vintage patterns can be a delightful challenge.

Patterns for sewing contemporary children’s clothing have a relatively timeless quality. Renaissance, medieval, early colonial, Civil War, biblical, Greek & Roman eras for example would all be considered for theatrical or costume purposes whereas 20th century sewing patterns from the 1920’s up to today’s modern day contemporary times would find among the ensuing decades suitable patterns that would be appropriate for sewing wearable, functional, classic modest clothing.

Two of the many online companies offering modest clothing patterns:

Common Sense Patterns offers many lovely dress patterns for little girls, preteens, ladies, and nursing mothers.

Candle On The Hill is a family-owned company offering modest sewing patterns as well as homemaking resources and natural home products.

Sew happy, sew inspired.


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This content was written by Cheryl Ellex. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Cheryl Ellex for details.



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