Sewing for the Muslim Child

June 12, 2010

Asalaam ‘Alaikum:

Alhumdulilah – when my girls were younger it was so easy to find clothes for them. Yes, as you already know – I bought almost all of their clothing from resale shops. However, when I shop – I always make sure the clothes are in good condition. We often even find clothes with designer brand names (with the tags still on) for very cheap. Believe it or not – after my first daughter we packed away all her clothes in case she had a sibling. Now – two more girls later – and my youngest is still wearing the same clothes that were originally bought from a resale shop. I should mention here – I constantly get comments on how well-dressed the girls are. The youngest still wears clothes that look as if they were just bought.

Now that my oldest two are growing – things are getting harder, at least – that’s what I thought. First of all – I know when my youngest gets their age she will have to get all new pants. As they have grown – I have had to purchase new pants because the resale shops just didn’t carry their size. When they did have something in their size – it gets worn out quickly. At first I thought I had lost my touch in finding good clothes for them. However, I now buy pants for them brand-new from the store and still they get holes in them (they are certainly rough on their pants!)

My girls wear pants under their dresses when we go out – and pants when they are home. This is something that works for us (1) because that is actually the way the women wear their clothing in Yemen and (2) that is how I started covering when first becoming a Muslim (and still do). When I first started out with hijab I didn’t wear pants – just long dresses or skirts. However, one windy day introduced me to the wonderful idea of wearing pants under your dress/skirt to further protect yourself. So, you can see how the girls could wear their pants thin.

Lately while going to the resale shop we have been having a hard time finding dresses or skirts for the two oldest. All the dresses and skirts nowadays are short – and I mean even those mean for older girls. What I used to do was purchase dresses or skirts for older girls that were longer and alter them where needed. However, there is a huge shortage for long skirts as the girls grow older. One day while visiting the resale shop an amazing idea hit me. Why not alter a woman’s skirt to fit a young girl?

Well, that was an excellent idea – to tell you the truth. Many women’s skirts are mini skirts (in case you haven’t already noticed). However, for a child it is just the perfect length. My girls really love long dresses and skirts – they love the feel of it and the way they sway back and forth elegantly. Now, not all skirts can be easily altered – and you have to keep that in mind if you go out looking. Usually – when I look at women’s skirts I try to find those I like and those that can be more easily altered (you have to keep in mind your sewing skills – I’m still learning, masha’Allah but have done well). I try to find skirts that allow the girls to move around (those straight skirts that make you waddle like a penguin are out). I especially love fabrics that are good for the girls to play in.

So, to give you an idea of what I am talking about – I will show you two of the projects I worked on recently. When I work on other sewing projects like this – I will try to post with pictures of each of the steps to help you, insha’Allah.

This skirt was the perfect length for my daughter (drapes around her ankles as she likes it) but it was too wide. I realized that the skirt was about 1 panel too big for her. So, I cut out one of the panels – finished the new edges and then sewed them back together. She tried it on and I was amazed that it worked beautifully. She actually gets great compliments on this skirt and it is completely comfortable (I should know – some of my favorite skirts are cotton-stretch).

This skirt was a woman’s jean skirt with huge slits on each side. Fortunately, the slits started exactly where I needed to cut to make the skirt the proper length. I made sure to keep some of the width of the skirt since she needed some room to move in. Then, for fun I sewed a little design on the bottom of the skirt with beads. We’ve been learning about beading lately and I’ve been experimenting on some of the girl’s clothing. Here’s the design:

I have a few other skirts, but will leave that for another post, insha’Allah. I also have a prayer outfit that I have sewn for the girls to share as well, insha’Allah.

Asalaam ‘Alaikum,
Sumayyah Umm SAA

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