Naomi is a 22-year-old college grad with "a modest streak that only seems to get stronger as the mainstream gets more debased." Unlike many girls who have written letters to this site, Naomi was fortunate to be brought up in an "old-fashioned" home with parents who, as she puts it, "during my teen years kept me from going out of the house in something I would later regret."

You may wonder why a humble sewing machine is featured on this page, instead of the usual mug shot. That's because Naomi recently bought exactly this sewing machine. She's never sewn in her life but for some reason it appealed to her:

My sewing machine is from the 50s, old and a little clunky, with the paint wearing off of the metal in some places, but it works and it's lasted almost 50 years--something the new plastic machines at Target can't claim. My sewing machine has a history. In a society that views everything--machines, animals, people--as throw away commodities, I've begun to appreciate things with history.

It's taken up residence in the dining room, against one wall. I share a small house with my parents and my father wasn't excited about my taking up a hobby that, unlike crochet, required an actual piece of furniture. Then I told him why.

In short, what Naomi needed was to make skirts. As everyone knows, long, modest skirts are rather hard to come by in stores today, especially for a girl like Naomi with long legs who puts on "knee length" shirts only to have them hit the lower thigh.

She just got tired of constantly tugging at the hem line of a skirt, trying not to reveal more than modesty--not to mention comfort--will allow.

And for someone who likes her skirts to hit mid-calf or lower, shopping is more often than not frustrating and just not worth it. True, for a few seasons the tiered peasant skirt that hits the ankles has been popular. But what is one to do if they don't like the peasant skirt look? Naomi agrees, "Oh, it's fine for a day at the beach or a picnic with friends, but it's not exactly the most dignified look. So back to the 'knee length' business suit style and tugging when I should be listening."

In the end, Naomi's father respected their new sewing-machine set-up when he learned his daughter's motives. Naomi even suspects that Dad felt sorry for her and her mother in a way--"he with his simple suits that will probably still be in style in twenty years. Suits convey a proper dignity with a minimum of fuss," she adds.

For those who can't afford to shop at specialty stores, sewing is becoming an increasingly appealing alternative. In case you were wondering, Naomi is already hard at work on her first project and soon enough she hopes to be able to "walk past aisles and aisles of short skirts and dresses with a bemusement rather than frustration. Making my own clothes is a way of declaring myself no longer subject to the whims of the fashion industry."

Naomi may work as a paralegal and have her B.S. in psychology, but she considers her sewing machine her little rebellion, and we at ModestyZone have to agree.

Now all she has to do is learn how to use it!

If you are a veteran seamstress, and would like to pass on tips for making a simple long skirt, please write to us at modskirts@modestyzone.net

Elizabeth Weaver writes in:

I've been making my own long skirts for about two years now. There's one really good pattern that you can get at Wal-Mart or any fabric store (but I recommend Wal-Mart because they sell the patterns for half price) that works for just about any material, and flatters almost every figure. It's the fuller skirt on Simplicity pattern 9466. I've made that skirt out of satin, wool, cotton, and various other fabrics, and it always looks nice.

Second bit of advice: Measure multiple times before hemming. If possible, get a dress form, so you can accurately pin the hem before sewing. You can do without it, but it helps, since if you have a fuller figure, the skirt will drape differently, and be long in some places and short in others.

B. Patterson adds:

For the novice sewer interested in making her own clothes I highly recommend the book "Sew U" by Wendy Mullin (designer of the clothing line 'Built by Wendy'). The book takes you through all (and I mean all) the basics of sewing from how to organize your work space to operating your sewing machine to buying and cutting fabric. The final chapters of the book outline directions on how to make a skirt, a pair of pants and a button front collared shirt with long sleeves and cuffs (the 3 patterns are included--free!--in an envelope in the back of the book). Ms. Mullin encourages the sewer to get creative with their projects and gives directions on how to alter the fit and details of each pattern so as to create a wardrobe of different looks--some trendy, others more modest. The book is available on Amazon.com and at local bookstores (I got mine at Borders) for about $25.00. For the patterns alone it was well worth the price.

Hope this is helpful. Happy sewing!

 

If you would like to nominate a Rebel—including yourself—please submit a short personal profile and what you are rebelling against here. There is no age limit, but high school and college students will be given priority over grandmas, since grandmas, after all, are supposed to be good.




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