…by our very own Viola.

Today I set aside time to make a new suit of clothes. A suit includes a dress, cape and apron. In my community suits are made of all one fabric and color (customs vary from community to community). Suits are worn by the girls and women to weddings and funerals. Married women also wear suits to any formal social gathering such as reunions, visiting and so forth.

For church it is standard, in my community, for the women and girls to wear a white cape and apron with a colored dress rather than a full suit of all one color. A suit may be worn when visiting neighboring churches.

The men’s standard wear for churches, funerals, formal social gatherings and so forth is also a suit. Their suit is made up of pants, vest, suit coat (called a mutza – pronounced “moot-zuh”) and a white shirt. The men’s suits are general black though dark blue, gray or brown is sometimes used.

Sewing a suit is pretty time consuming, but an enjoyable process.

  1. Cut out all pieces according to patterns. Iron out any creases.
  2. Pin and sew dress bodice front to dress bodice back at shoulders. Measure, pin and hem sleeves to desired length. Pin and sew pleats in to skirt front and back pieces and into apron. Pin and sew darts into cape back. Pin and sew cape front to cape back at shoulders.
  3. Press all seams. Press 5/8 inch seam allowance along edges of cape and sides of apron. It sews up nicer if you press the seam allowances first and then sew.
  4. Cape – Pin and sew facing onto cape neck edges. Pin and sew all around pressed edges of cape. Cape is done except for final ironing.
  5. Apron – Pin and sew pressed seam allowance on sides of apron. Sew belt onto apron. Sew belt stiffening into belt. Measure, pin and hem apron by hand. Apron is done except for final ironing.
  6. Dress – Pin and sew facing around dress neck edge. Gather sleeves to fit sleeve opening. Pin and sew in sleeves. Pin and sew front and back of skirt to front and back bodice pieces. Sew elastic into waist. Pin and sew along side seams, beginning at sleeve edge and ending at skirt bottom. Measure, pin and hem dress by hand.
  7. Press all seams and iron out any wrinkles in the cape, apron and dress. Now you are ready to wear your new suit.

Purple Amish Dress