Sewing Prayer Garments & Hijab for the Muslim Child

Asalaam ‘Alaikum:

I’d love to just be able to buy the things I need – but I rarely easily find what I need. When purchasing prayer garments for yourself or your children – or buying hijabs as well – you run into a few dilemmas:

(1) you can buy a reasonably priced one that will fall apart in a few weeks (in some cases the very same day – no, I’m not kidding)
(2) you spend A LOT of money to buy one that is made well

Well, I have always been taught to be resourceful – so I made another option available:

(3) make it yourself – good quality and at a good price

I think you will find that philosophy touches almost everything I do (Arabic learning materials all the way to clothing, masha’Allah). I am fortunate that I have been given opportunities to actually do just that. When I first became Muslim I was fortunate to find a sewing class at the local YMCA. I only took a few classes (one or two) when the class was canceled because no one was interested in the class – only three or so people showed up. I was fortunate again, alhumdulilah, because the instructor realized I was very interested and offered to teach me in her home for a modest fee. I did not receive advanced training (sure wish I could, masha’Allah) but I have learned the basics – and that has been enough, Alhumdulilah.

On a side note:
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If you know how to sew – please offer to teach another sister, insha’Allah. I am certain there are many people out there just dying to learn how to sew – but no place to learn. If you don’t know how to sew – please don’t give up – keep trying to find somewhere you can learn or someone who can teach you. If you go to your local craft store – they often have advertisements for classes. You should also ask the people who work there – they often know of people willing to teach a craft. Just don’t give up, insha’Allah – it is a valuable skill to have.

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The kiddos love to have prayer garments – it makes prayer easier (and it also makes them feel special to have their own). Usually in the house they just wear short sleeves so this makes it easier to be ready when prayer time comes, insha’Allah. I made one quite a while ago when my oldest wanted to first start praying with me. Here’s a picture:

I actually bought that fabric (fortunately) at a sale when the local fabric store went out of business. Unfortunately, the fabric was still quite expensive. Now the girls have outgrown the prayer garment – the youngest now uses it and it fits her perfectly. Now, when I said you can sew something with good quality – I should mention that this prayer garment was sewn about 4 years ago and it still looks new, alhumdulilah. There are a few tricks to sewing a quality garment and I will share them with you at a later date, insha’Allah – when I have a chance to write it all up and show examples. This will be just a kind of introduction, insha’Allah.

Recently I was hit with an amazingly frugal idea at the local resale shop. I haven’t been buying fabric much because of how expensive it is. Then I realized something – sheets. Our local resale shop (for example) has two entire long rows of sheets of all sizes for sale – many for just $2.00 each. I recently purchased a blue jean sheet that I am intending to make my own blue jean skirt (I have one already that has seen better days – but I love the style it was made in – so I am going to replicate it!) Insha’Allah I will share that project at a later date – but here is a picture of the fabric:

I also found a few sheets that were nice enough fabric (not conducive to wrinkles) to make into prayer garments for the girls. Here is one set of prayer garments I made:

I was able to make two full prayer garments for my oldest two with just one full-size sheet and a bit (at the side) from some leftover fabric I had. I’ve decided to make my next one more girly – you know how girls are, masha’Allah – but I really wanted to make this one to make sure my ideas would work. Alhumdulilah, the girls really like them and wear them each prayer (when they can find them).

Since we pray upstairs sometimes and other times downstairs – depending on where we are – I have decided to make two prayer garments for each girl. It may seem unnecessary but you can’t imagine how long it takes for them to find their hijabs each time, subhan’Allah! Here’s a picture of the fabric I am going to make the other set with:

It is hard to see, but the fabric is pink with white polka-dots on it. I am hoping to make instructions and take pictures when I make these – and will post them as soon as I can, insha’Allah.

I had purchased another few fabrics (I was intending to use them to make prayer garments, but they looked so cute I am thinking of making matching dresses for the kiddos, insha’Allah). I took a picture of the fabric I found – just so you don’t think I’m crazy for using fabric from sheets to make clothing – the picture is at the top of this post. The fabric in the middle actually still has its price tag on it – $2.99 for a queen sheet.

I have also started trying my hand at making hijabs for the girls. Here’s a picture of one I made three or more years ago for my oldest:

You can’t see the top well, but I actually sewed beads on the lace over the head. Here’s a picture to show more detail:

This is not as fun as it seems. What I mean is – I love making hijabs – but I’m still not good at it yet. Does that make sense? I mean, the way it turns out is great – but I actually want to have a system worked out to make hijabs and haven’t gotten to that point yet. I would love to be able to just tear apart an old hijab that really works for them and make a pattern based on it – but since they have few decent hijabs already this would really break my heart 🙁 So, I’m still working on it – but the results so far have not been too shabby. I made this hijab yesterday:

For some reason it looks much longer in the picture – it actually fits my oldest really well and she loves it. I made a few mistakes along the way – although the mistakes are not obvious – and that’s why I want to keep making a few more so I can really improve, insha’Allah. By the way – I know you are going to hate it when I say it – but I actually found this wonderful stretch cotton fabric at our local resale shop for only 2.99 for two yards. They had several of these – and in another color – so I snatched them up right away. The fabric, surprisingly, had no flaws that I could find, masha’Allah.

I felt guilty about sewing things for the oldest two and leaving out the youngest – so I broke down and quickly made a backpack to carry her “babies” in. I found on some blog out there a cute picture of a backpack for carrying dolls. I thought it was cute – so I thought I’d try my hand at it. Here’s a picture of the final product. She absolutely loves it and wants to wear it everywhere, masha’Allah.

Anyway – if you are interested, I can try to put together some type of tutorial for how I do these projects, insha’Allah. I just figured that most people have the same issues as I have and perhaps someone would be interested, insha’Allah. So, if you are interested – please let me know. I never mind sharing! If you have anything to share, please let me know.

Asalaam ‘Alaikum,

Sumayyah Umm SAA

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8 Responses

  1. Sadaqah says:

    As Sallaamu Alaikum,

    Stateside – USA – it’s also sometimes alot cheaper to make your own abayas/baltos/jilbabs/khimars. You can easily spend over $100 ordering online with delivery or as much as $150 at an “Islamic” clothing store for a nice abaya with shayla. And again, it might fall apart if it’s not good quality. OR – you can learn to sew and make your own. I like to use……. showers curtains or curtains themselves from Walmart or Anna’s Linens. You get two yards or more of a nice fabric with the hem prettry much already sewn in, and the fabric is nice. Alot of the shower curtain material even has embroidery already sewn into it, and if there’s extra tassles with the curtains, I attach them to the sleeves.

    For children’s clothing – try simple skirts made from kitchen curtains – used or new. Just sew two curtains together, no hem necesary, and put elastic through the area where the curtain rod would go. You can get cute prints – apples, daisies, ivey, roses, etc. Even the ones from the dollars store would work.

    Thanks for all the ideas sister!

  2. admin says:

    Asalaam ‘Alaikum:

    Don’t know why I didn’t think of shower curtains – they usually have really nice fabric ones with embroidery – what an absolutely wonderful idea, masha’Allah. I think I never thought of this because the shower curtains at our local store are actually hidden in another area that I rarely go to! Now I’ll have to check it out, insha’Allah. I purchased and abaya at a local store here before going overseas and it actually broke before I even got to my destination. We “only” paid $50.00 but still, subhan’Allah.

    What I hate is that when I visit overseas I find beautiful abayas and jilbabs that you can get for $10 US Money – and you find them sold over here for $100 US (the same exact style)! What’s the big deal? I mean, I understand making a profit – but that is just ridiculous. Since becoming a Muslim there is one thing that I have always hated in my heart and that is taking advantage of a need (that’s why I started making my own learning materials and other things).

    Unfortunately, when I go overseas we are expected to visit everyone and that rarely leaves us enough time for shopping. Either way, I miss out – but alhumdulilah, I can sew!

    Asalaam ‘Alaikum,
    Sumayyah Umm SAA

  3. Assalaamu Alaykum,

    I love this post! I had the same dilemma a while ago and ended up taking 2 of my older prayer covers and making smaller ones out of them. The sewing is a bit of a mess as I’m a novice but it doesn the job. The covers have lasted ma sha Allah and the fabric is much nicer than the little ones I’d seen at stalls. I think I will come back to this post when my girls outgrow their prayer covers! in sha Allah!

  4. ummrashid says:

    I have learnt sewing skills, alhamdulillah, but I do struggle with making patterns as I find it hard to visualise. I do have fabric stores in my area which sell at prices similar to your resale finds, alhamdulillah.
    I think we just have to keep trying out and experimenting until we get it right!

  5. Umm Mariam says:

    Assalamualaikum wr wb sister, a nice post masha Allah. I have three girls , can sew a bit (managed to make myself a dress and actually wore it :), but can never reproduce my works. And I cant make patterns. I actually went to our masjid and found prayer garments for adults just to have a look at how they were sewn. So if you have patterns for both hijab and prayer dress I would love to have a copy , of course if you dont mind 🙂

  6. Shabnam says:

    Asak. Great post. I would love a tutorial, especially for the 2 piece prayer set (hijab n skirt) where there is elastic to slip behind your head. I bought one similar at this year’s ISNA conference, but only got one. I should have gotten more, the material is cotton print with a little lace on the edges. If you could post a tutorial for that I would be indebted. JazakAllah Khair

  7. kolachi says:

    I also am looking to make hajib for my two young girls. I have been searching and searching the internet for a pattern with no avail. I am surprised there is no basic pattern available. I also look forward to your pattern/instructions. Thanks in advance!

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