Women, Make Your Own Clothes!
Most women who either claim to be Christians or who know anything about the way of Christ are aware that women (and men) are to be clothed in modesty. This is a fundamental understanding, although many people reject this Biblical principle, ridicule it, or just avoid discussing it. What about you?
Scripture says that women are to “adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments, but rather by means of good works, as is proper for women making a claim to godliness” (1 Timothy 2:9-10, NASB). The ESV reads similarly: “Women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control.” The NET Bible also says, “The women are to dress in suitable apparel, with modesty and self-control.” Thus, it is quite clear that women who seek to be godly and sincere in their Christian walk are to wear clothes that are respectable, modest, and discreet. Further, they are not to be “expensive” or “costly” garments—a real problem in the secular market (v. 9). Such clothes should not in any way identify them as women of the world.
It is quite clear that modest clothing is nearly impossible to find in the world. Although some articles of apparel may be less offensive than others and occasionally one may find a relatively decent dress, this is rare and almost impossible in our day. Either a dress is too short, or too tight, or too transparent. Or the blouse is not a quiet and decent color. Or the clothing is too expensive or costly. It would seem that the world (or Satan by means of the world) is seeking to corrupt the testimony of women so that they adorn themselves in compromising clothing that caters to the way of the world rather than the way of holiness. And we must remember that only those who pursue holiness, sanctification, or separation from the world will see God (Hebrews 12:14).
What then can be done? If women’s clothing in most stores is too expensive, if dresses are too short or transparent or tight, if dresses are not to be found (many women almost always wear clothing meant for men—such as pants), then the woman who aspires to godliness has a nearly impossible task. What can be done? Some women have tried different tactics to find suitable clothing:
- Some women hunt for clothing on the Internet. This does have some possibilities; however this can be quite expensive. Besides that, one purchases something without trying it on. And then a woman must go to the trouble of returning it. There is nothing like actually seeing and handling an article of clothing and trying it on.
- Other women hire a dressmaker to make clothing but this also can be an expensive choice. (Most Christian women don’t have excess cash for such an alternative.) Further, one may need to hunt for a suitable pattern that is modest in nature as well as fabric that is suitable.
- A number of women hunt for proper clothing in discount shops, thrift stores, or other stores, but this may be very difficult and expensive.
Women, Consider Making Your Own Clothes!
If a Christian woman has trouble finding consistent Christian clothing, she may want to learn how to make her own clothes! However, this also may be a difficult task in our day. Years ago, girls of high school age learned how to sew clothing in their school; it was an expected part of high school training. Further, girls (like their mothers) would have a sewing machine at home to use for their own sewing of dresses and other articles of clothing. But today, this training doesn’t automatically come with the secular education of young girls. It is the exception. Some girls and young women know virtually nothing about sewing clothing.
Also, in the past, girls would almost always have a mother who knew how to sew. They could be counted on to teach their daughters the fine art of sewing dresses. Yet this too is the exception. Probably most girls (and their mothers—or grandmothers) don’t have a sewing machine and don’t make their own clothes. Thus, a godly young girl or middle-age woman who wants to dress in modest clothing just doesn’t have someone in the family (or in her group of friends) to help instruct in dress-making.
Further, some women seldom even wear dresses. Most seem to prefer wearing pants which, of course, identifies as masculine attire. Since God created the man and the woman in the beginning (Genesis 1:26-27), He wants them to appear differently. It may be (or may not be) that Deuteronomy 22:5 addresses this matter—that a woman should not wear a man’s clothing and a man should not wear women’s clothing (although some may debate this particular passage). Thus, we encourage you to wear clothing that is unmistakably feminine in appearance. Instead of going to a clothing store, therefore, where a huge selection of women’s pants abound, a woman may instead prefer to make her own clothes.
It may be that you also have convictions that you should wear a cloth covering (see 1 Corinthians 11:4-16). This also is difficult to find in the secular market place, although scarves of various kinds are usually available. This would be another item that you could learn to make quite easily if you have your own sewing machine and a simple pattern.
Learn How to Make Your Own Clothes
If a young woman cannot depend on her mother (or in some cases, her grandmother—though this is more likely to offer a trained woman) to teach her how to proceed in dress-making, what can she do? This is the dilemma.
One way a woman can deal with this difficult problem is for her to make her own clothes. If this is something you would like to do, be willing to invest at least $100 into a cheap sewing machine or seven times this amount for a better machine. Also, look for modest dress patterns either in the fabric shop or online (or you may know a woman friend who has one or more modest dress patterns).
Trying to find a way for you to learn how to sew modest clothing is the goal—and the problem. Assuming that you don’t have a mother, aunt or other family member who can personally help you, could it be that you know of some other woman who knows how to sew modest clothes or even makes her own modest clothes? It may be that only one in a hundred women do personally make their own modest and discreet clothes, so probably most women won’t be able to find a trusted, involved, and knowledgeable friend or acquaintance to help.
If this is your case, look wherever you can for a personal instructor. Maybe someone at the local fabric store can point you in the right direction. Maybe someone at a local conservative church can help. You may be able to find conservative books online that would teach you how to make modest clothing. (We are aware that Christian Light Publishers of Harrisonburg, Virginia has a course for young girls on how to sew modest dresses.) Perhaps “You Tube” on the Internet will have instruction on how to sew modestly and you may be able to either find a video from the library locally or through “Inter-Library Loan” at the library. Remember that there is a lot of instruction on sewing—but be careful about what you use; most of these instructions are quite worldly in their presentations and this is what you are trying to avoid. You (and God) want modest clothing and not merely clothing, per se.
If may be that you live near a church or denomination that encourages women to dress modestly and this may be a source of help and instruction. Find out if there are any conservative (not liberal!) Mennonite Churches locally. Also, you may be near a Brethren Church (or Church of the Brethren, or Old Order Brethren, etc.) where modest sewers may be present. Perhaps you can find a conservative “Holiness” church nearby (however even “Holiness” churches have become somewhat liberal). Certain old-line Pentecostal Churches may have some women members who would be willing to instruct you. Other independent churches may also have women who would be happy to instruct you on your dress-making endeavors. Inquire around by checking with friends, with churches, or use the Internet to locate conservative choices.
Strengthen Your Resolve
Since most women (even religious, church-going women) no longer dress modestly and have capitulated to the secularistic and liberal “Christian” trends of society, you may feel like giving up in your quest to dress modestly. Please don’t grow weary or give up. As Paul puts it, “Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary” (Galatians 6:9). He also wrote, “Be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58). Press on in all areas of your life and do not give up in your determination to dress modesty.
God desires—and demands—that you, as a woman, dress modestly and not as the compromising secular world in which you live. Therefore, do not be pressured to compromise your convictions or your commitment to do right and dress according to God’s instructions. Peter instructs the Christian woman to dress modestly (1 Peter 3:3), then writes, “. . . let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God” (v. 4). God not only urges us to dress modesty, but He is especially concerned about the inner qualities, such as a gentle and quiet spirit, as well as all other feminine virtues!
This means that every woman (and man) should resolve to appear outwardly as a modest, discreet, and worthy woman (or man). Allow nothing to deter you or change your focus. Although many religious people around you will try to discourage you or convince you that God is only concerned about the inward, remain confident in your faith in Scripture.
We know that some professing Christians may quote the words of Yahweh God to Samuel as he was choosing David to replace Saul as king: “God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7b). Thus, Samuel should not concern himself with the handsomeness of the son of Jesse for God was looking at the heart of the man He wanted—David, the “man after God’s own heart.” But we can see with confidence that God wants us to dress in such a way that people will be drawn to God through what we wear and not be drawn away to fleshly appearances.
Remember that Biblical Women Made Clothes
Most women are aware that Lemuel wrote of the “worthy woman” or “excellent wife” in Proverbs 31:10-31, but have you taken note of how this woman is described and what she did? Notice a few points here:
“She looks for wool and flax and works with her hands in delight” (v. 13). This shows that this woman is involved in finding that which will be useful in making clothes for herself and her family.
“She stretches out her hands to the distaff, and her hands grasp the spindle” (v. 19). This shows that this “excellent wife” is preparing wool to be used in clothes-making.
“She is not afraid of the snow for her household, for all her household are clothed with scarlet” (v. 21). She wasn’t afraid of the cold weather and snow for she had prepared clothes for her children and perhaps for herself and her husband.
“She makes coverings for herself; her clothing is fine linen and purple” (v. 22). This shows that this worthy woman is busily involved in making her own clothes for wearing, clothes that were “coverings.”
“She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies belts to the tradesmen” (v. 24). She is active in making garments to sell to others, thus she is involved in a small “home business” of making clothes.
Many other verses describe this woman’s busy lifestyle and activity. As was the case in those days, she probably had many children and these had to be educated as well (which would be somewhat comparable to today’s women who “home school” their children each day). Thus, she couldn’t spend all of her time with clothing; this was only one of many duties in which she was involved.
Another passage worthy of mentioning is taken from the New Covenant writings. Notice Acts 9:
“Now in Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (which translated in Greek is called Dorcas); this woman was abounding with deeds of kindness and charity which she continually did” (v. 36). Here we don’t see what was involved in these deeds, but we do see that these deeds were for the purpose of expressing kindness and charity.
After Dorcas died, we read this: “So Peter arose and went with them. When he arrived, they brought him into the upper room; and all the widows stood beside him, weeping and showing all the tunics and garments that Dorcas used to make while she was with them” (v. 39). It is significant that of all the things that could have been said of this worthy woman, Luke chooses to say that she made “tunics and garments” for the widows. This indicates that Dorcas was a seamstress who was actively involved in clothing-making. We can probably imagine that she also made “tunics and garments” for herself as well. Be encouraged by the example of this worthy woman in her work to make clothes for other women—and probably for herself.
Make Your Own Dresses!
Hopefully our few words here will encourage you to make your own modest and discreet clothing! The world can hardly be depended on to help you in this important task. Dress so that your family, your relatives, your neighbors, your friends, and all others will know that you want to appear as a modest, consistent, sincere, and whole-hearted Christian woman!
If you have abandoned the secular workplace and have a little time at home, you can begin to make clothes for yourself—as well as your family! Get all the help you can find (as we discussed earlier), and learn how to sew. Invest in a sewing machine that will last for many years to come. Don’t be so concerned about the details and the finery that you won’t want to prepare your own clothes. Be humble enough to wear what you make or what others help you to make.
You are seeking to please God and not other people! Hopefully, you will have at least a few sisters in the Lord around you who can help you to learn—or you can all learn together! Be known for your industrious involvement in modest clothing and not your pursuit of worldly secular attire. You can learn and you can do it, with the help of God!