Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Summer Shifts to Sensible Wear

Lady-like Midi Dress

We are at a crossroads this year.  We have the T-shirt generation living out their uniqueness in all types of knit styles.  It seems fit and flare and many go for the dare.  We are called to be an adornment to the gospel and that should we be unapologetically desiring to live for our Sovereign Lord and Savior.    What holds us back from dressing modestly?  There are many factors that go into this just as much as there are many factors that cause us to do or not do the things we know are to do that would please God.  After all, it is He whom we wish to "impress"  and please.  Our husbands can help us as can our children be open and honest yet respecting us and also a faithful friend or an older, wiser woman can give us advice.  One can also go by the adage - when in doubt, don't.  If our hearts are right with God and we do not let our feelings and emotions control our desires, we should be able to dress modestly and appropriately.  Oftentimes  modest clothing can become shaded with the grey areas that attempt to follow the styles of contemporary fashion that seeks to emulate the figure or draw attention in a lustful way.  As women we are very clever at deceiving ourselves at times for the sake of vanity.  And where does that get us?  I know I am ashamed when I think of the ways I  dressed in the past-definitely offending the Holy Spirit and not for the sake of Jesus Christ who died for me.

As for the crossroads, our focus is on acceptance by the current culture, we don't want to stand out or make ourselves look old-fashioned or "religious" looking.  Granted there are those who follow standards set by the groups, organizations, etc.,that they are a part of and one can differentiate between those who do and those who don't.  Our goal as believers should be to dress in a way that shows our allegiance to the One who made us women to look and act like women so that we can fulfill those roles with grace and honor.  Rules could be stated that would lay down a "law" of what is modest and what isn't; but our All-knowing Lord left that for individuals to decide.  In some cultures some clothes we wear in the U.S. are not fitting, proper, or respectful.  However, "bloom where you are planted" and make the best use of what you have to make yourself neat, clean, presentable, and glorifying our Savior.  We do not necessarily want to stand out but do want to look approachable so that we can give an answer of why we look and dress the way we do.

For those who want to challenge the idea of  "modest dressing", not as some would lead you to believe by interpreting modest as the world does, but I would challenge you to study what God considers modest and what he considers a harlot's dressing.  It will take some time and searching but may His Holy Spirit  help you settle in your mind and heart where you want to be in regards to whom do you dress for.  Be careful to make up your mind according to the scriptures and not man's rules, opinions, and skewed interpretations.  You need to  know in your heart what is appropriate and pleasing unto the Lord.  I would suggest an Interlinear Greek- English New Testament,  The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge, an 1828 Webster Dictionary,  Young's or Strong's Concordance, and perhaps even some Puritan books as they seemed to seek the mind of Christ and knowledge of God a whole lot more than we ever desire to. (NO, I am not asking you to dress like a Puritan or Pilgrim!  Just find out what principles they have learned from their scholarly studies.)  I know the Puritans gave their opinions, but they are probably a lot more astute in their assessment than most of the authors of the past couple centuries!

I am hoping that styles will change for those who have a sense of making a difference to those in close proximity regarding family, friends, church, social activities, and working outside the home. We are in need of feminine clothes that make girls, young ladies, and ladies of all ages looking more pretty than sexy.  With the ease of knits, we often forget that tightness draws attention to the areas that are fitted and outlined by the fabric.  Oftentimes a comfortable looseness relieves us of generating those "looks" that are an embarrassment for all close by.  I don't think many women look in the mirror at all angles to really see what they look like.  Because there is so much flesh showing, particularly when the weather is warm, we tend to gravitate to the current knit close-fitting styles, because we see it on a lot of women and what is seen often gets repeated in our minds and we become accustomed to those looks and that is mostly what is available and less costly.  We compromise. This is where one ought to consider lightweight natural woven fibers that can be made into a comfortable loose blouse or top.  The classic styles work well for that kind of fabric.  There are a lot of colors and prints available or one can shop online.  I know one of the difficulties of ordering online is the color issue--very hard to get exact tones. One of the reasons I like to sew because fitting can be another issue also.
  So here are some tops to make for the rest of Summer and early Fall:
Butterick 6175

Butterick 6324

McCalls 6927

McCalls 7359
You may want to wear  a modesty piece with
this top.

McCalls 7360

New Look 6434

Vogue 8772

Vogue 9256

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

More Thoughts on Dresses

A flatteringly feminine style for most everybody!
Short skirts and sleeveless excluded!

I was looking through the main 3 catalogs again and hoping to find a little  inspiration for this year.
The styles over the years vary from very form fitting to loose and flowing plus the whole gamut in between.  There are resurgences of styles from the past howbeit they are all rather fitted in the bodice with a variety of skirts.  Now we haven't seen much from the past in the way of pretty, dainty, ruffles and flounces for quite some time.  Perhaps the style designers will be bringing this up some time soon.  I sure hope so.  There is little to choose from for making anything attractive in the way of being pretty compared to looking sexy.  I know that clothes do influence a person in their demeanor as well as thoughts.     I think that we have become blinded with the clothing we see so often on women with the never-ceasing scoop neckline that begs to show cleavage or at least intimates it isn't too far away from view.  The underwear looks of camisoles, tank tops,  thin T-tops really belong in the bedroom for the husband's eyes only or totally covered up so there is no mistake about it popping out when the heat of the day gives inspiration to "be more comfortable."  Even so , now blouses are designed with more and varied skin showing especially those with the open shoulder  or the kind that is pulled off the shoulders--the "cold" shoulder look which is really supposed to be hot!

Which leads me into the looser fashions of yesteryear.  I believe the time when bodices and blouses were worn with various accents of tucks, lace, embroidery, and other such delicate feminine touches certainly made women more attractive in a pretty way.  The skirts were mostly full, some flared, some ruffled,  some straight, and yes, some very fitted bodices.  Tight T-shirts are different than woven fabrics as underwear was first made in knitted fabrics.  The woven fabrics are more for  outerwear (meaning knits are fine under your dresses and blouses, etc.)

T-shirts are more of a "trans-gender" item and most people wear them because they are comfortable and inexpensive.  God, in his word, has made man and woman to look and act differently.  Therefore we ought to dress like we are very pleased to be a woman and should look that way.  Wearing the same clothes as the men do definitely casts that trans-gender shadow.  I was struck by a comment that a person wrote and I don't remember where, but that we would not want to insult our God and Savior or quench the Holy Spirit by negating what was done for us.  (I borrowed his idea but I believe we could apply this  term "insulting to God" in many things.

While searching etsy shops I came across this wonderful dress site! I have found a shop that sells linen dresses in simple styles, yet distinctively feminine.  I do like the ones from Sondeflor Shop which carries Lithuanian linen clothing with styles that are flattering.  I really like linen and it wrinkles very easily, but it is so comfortable and healthy!  I couldn't help but post these marvelous dresses!  They have many more on their website.

I must say that these dresses are made from very similar styles but using bold or subtle colors  and  they are very practical as one can accessorize them in a variety of ways.  It would be a great dress for the wardrobe!
They are not very fitted except on a few models, but mostly they are looser fitting yet very feminine.   Sure to be a favorite!

 This one is from another Lithuanian linen site that sells garments called Linen Cloud.  It really depends on the style that best suits your figure.  If you want to make similar dresses, there are some patterns that are available to use or modify.

Here are some that I have found.  You may have to increase the bodice pattern so that it is not so fitted.

Vogue 8629  (Add length and perhaps widen the skirt)
McCalls 7314

McCalls 7080

McCalls 7351

Monday, January 2, 2017

Winter came in with a flourish of white!

Winter photo from Allposters

I have been musing over the lack of truly unique clothing styles in our major pattern books. I know that they each have certain designers that put out unique styles but they seem rather exaggerated rather than complementary.  The general offering seems to have borrowed the 70s style of shifts that are very easy to sew and display various large prints or types of fabrics.  However, we still seem to be in the T-Shirt Generation and are solidly entrenched with the huggable fabric.  All one has to do is visit any mercantile like Walmart and there are so many choices of color, motif, neck style, sleeve length, and back length but otherwise vary little variation of the basic T.  One also finds a great deal of very fitted pants other than the sweat pants and a few loose jeans.  Very few nice clothing choices are evidenced in most larger retail stores that would make a woman look feminine.  By using that word, I am referring to the "pretty", "beautiful", "lovely", "pleasing and pleasantly" modest styles that really become a woman.

We are definitely stuck in a rut as to what women are to dress like in this highly sexualized society.  Bodies have become more of an object than the people who have them.  Yes, hair and make-up make a difference also.  The Look is brazen and to be young-looking, have a sexy body and wear clothes that say (more or less) I am my own woman and I like getting "looks" and wearing "teasing" clothing and "you will just have to deal with it because I can say and do what I want!"

We are in dangerous times.  Our young girls need to be taught that the Christian view of life is to be God-fearing and God-pleasing as the Bible does give specifics on how to dress and what kind of character to have.  One of the most important aspects of being a mother is to have your husband look at your clothes and your daughter's clothes and tell you if they are appropriate, providing he wants modesty attired women and  young girls in his family. There are many resources available to help study these issues.  One of the best audio sermons on modesty is Validating the Gospel in Modesty.

With the new wave of energy coming around with the changes hoped for as a result of the election,  I think it is time that we women of Christian character started setting new standards of wearing beautiful feminine clothing and leave behind the T-Shirt Rebellion and get rid of them and wear some great looking outfits that say I am GLAD to be made a woman and I want to look feminine.  We are battling the world's standard of flashing flesh either through skimpy T shirts, tight t-shirts, body hugging dresses, and especially wearing those very tight leggings that show every thing except the actual skin.  We need to drop those skinny jeans and really move on in life.  Why would we compromise our looks for glares and stares.  Not everybody has the best shape of body--very few do--so that leaves the majority of the rest of us with something better to do with our bodies.  God made us to be helpmeets, helpmates, soulmates, with our own husband, mothers to our own children, home keepers, home economists, creatively active in our own homes, and not trying to keep up with the world's standards or styles.  We should be able to find enough joy in what we do that we do not need any approval of the world.  It is a heart issue.  Please make sure where your focus is.

I have been interested in the Swedish style I found in a magazine once and found the outfits feminine, practical, and pleasant.  I am not a fan of the pants, but it may work well for some areas of the country.
There is quite a variety of clothes and I like the cotton ones and the ethnic-looking styles.  Many are very comfortable looking as well as practical.  It is a site for the imagination to work at making something feminine and comfortable with what patterns you have or need to buy or draft for yourself! Pass  through the bathing suit part quickly and then see what interesting colors and styles that are mixed and matched.  Gudrun Sjoden
The white blouse on this page would be one that could be made from a similar pattern found in the 70s  with gathered neckline and puff sleeves and that roomy pocket.  Lots of ideas if you are looking for something different.
This is the blouse  made as a dress.
Both of these patterns found on Etsy.

For a little color or accents the following patterns  were found on Etsy:

Simplicity has new patterns out and I thought I would try the jumper in 8301 as something a little different that I would combine with a loose fitting blouse or shirt.  Interesting layout and works well with a heavier weight fabric.  There is a facing on the hem that holds the shape nicely.  It is comfortable with roomy pockets.
I also thought this blouse would work nicely as a wardrobe extender.
Dottie Angel has some cute new patterns:


 Then I came across a couple aprons that might be worth trying:

Just a few thoughts for adding a little more variety to our wardrobes so that we might look pleasingly pleasant as well as feminine to the glory of God.  Happy New Year and may you have a good year of successful sewing!