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Foundation Garments

for Plain and Modest Dress

Also see

  • Advice on Purchasing Custom-made Plain/Modest Dress Online
  • Advice on Fabrics for Home-sewn Plain and Modest Dresses

I highly recommend that anyone wishing to adopt plain and modest dress consider learning how to sew their own garments. A good place to start is foundation garments. Candle on the Hill offers a variety of plain and modest patterns for foundation garments including King's Daughters and Friends Patterns.

This page is designed to offer some basic information on the foundation garments I use and that I use for my daughter. I list a number of reliable resources for such garments at the bottom of the page.

Infant and Toddler Foundation Garments
diaper cover
Diaper Cover

A diaper cover is worn over tights without bloomers before toddler is walking. I've also paired a diaper cover with leg warmers rather than tights. Tights can make diaper changing difficult, and can become unwearable with one diaper change, but leg warmers that run the whole length of the leg without binding the diaper solve that problem while keeping baby warm, protecting crawling baby's knees, and providing modesty.

Graceful Threads slip and bloomers Toddler Slip and Bloomers
Graceful Threads
Gehman's Country Fabrics Toddler Slip and Bloomers Toddler Slip and Bloomers
Gehman's Country Fabrics

The toddler slip and bloomers are worn with tights in winter and socks in summer. I show photos of the slip and bloomer from Graceful Threads and Gehman's Country Fabrics. The bloomers from Gehman's Country Fabrics have the elastic at waist and knee encased in fabric. They also have a little bow to indicate the front.

before and after bloomers Before and After Bloomers

I also have a photo showing toddler bloomers before gardening and bloomers after gardening. If going with white for foundation garments for children, one cannot be shy of using bleach. I have found that soaking in soap overnight gets a very great deal out, but sometimes bleach is the only solution. It is also why I prefer 100% cotton. Some white poly-cottons cannot be bleached, or they turned noticeably and irretrievably yellow.

Although my daughter's wardrobe only includes three slips, she has five bloomers. They bear the brunt of all sorts of mess and trouble, and so I find it helpful to have quite a few available. Another good source for infant and toddler slips and bloomers is Katie's Mercantile.

Women's Foundation Garments
Half Slip with Shadow Panel
Cotton Slip with Shadow Panel
from Gohn Brothers

I show a photo of a natural cotton slip from Gohn Brothers with a "shadow panel," a double-layer of fabric, a useful device for preventing sunlight from showing the outline of legs through dresses. It is good for slips to be less full than the skirt, for the straighter and slimmer the line of the slip, the more it will help keep full skirts out from between legs.

petticoat Petticoat

A petticoat is larger and a little more full than a slip, and it is useful both for warmth and to help prevent a dress from "clinging" too much to the legs. I have found I prefer petticoats in dark colors, particularly black, though I must wear white or a lighter color when wearing poly-cotton dresses that are light in color. When wearing tights, it is useful to wear a nylon slip to prevent grabbing, but the nylon slip will get static-y and "grab" the skirt. A good petticoat prevents that annoyance, providing an extra layer of movement. It is good to avoid wearing too many layers of elastic at the waist, as it can pinch. Only my slip has elastic. My petticoat does not. Quaker Jane Reader Pen writes that, "Petticoats like these can be purchsed very cheaply on ebay as sari petticoats, either in 100% cotton or cotton/polyester mix. Sari petticoats have drawstring waists which tie firmly ensuring they don't slip, but elastic can be put in to replace the drawstring if preferred."

half-slip and petticoat Half-slip and Petticoat.
women's bloomers Women's Bloomers

I have also included a picture of a slip and petticoat together, showing their relative size. The petticoat is worn over the slip. I tend to prefer half-slips, though full slips can be a nice extra layer in winter. Katie's Mercantile has nice slips and petticoats.

These women's bloomers are from Graceful Threads. Another online resources that sells women-sized bloomers is Katie's Mercantile. Bloomers are warm in winter, and as I have discovered, nice for modesty when playing with a toddler. I have the Graceful Threads bloomers, and replaced the elastic at the waist with cording so that I could wear them while pregnant, but Katie's Mercantile offers women's bloomers with a maternity panel.

Resources for plain and modest foundation garments:

  • Gohn Brothers (mail-order catalog only)
  • GVS Distributors (mail-order catalog only)
  • Katie's Mercantile's Unmentionables
  • Gehman's Country Fabrics and More
  • Graceful Threads
quakers society of friends spirituality plain dress simplicity limiting your palette quaker meeting peace witness George Fox quakerism
quakers society of friends spirituality plain dress simplicity limiting your palette quaker meeting peace witness George Fox quakerism
quakers society of friends spirituality plain dress simplicity limiting your palette quaker meeting peace witness George Fox quakerism
plain dress
Quaker spirituality Spiritual mentor Plain dress
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Epistle 288

"The Light which is the Life in Christ"

(To Friends in Carolina)

DEAR Friends, to whom is my Love in the blessed Seed, which . . . changeth not, which is the First and Last, in whom you have Life and Peace with the God of Peace. So you few that are that ways, keep your Meetings, and meet together in the Name of Jesus, whose Name is above every Name, and Gathering is above every Gathering; . . . and you Gathering in his Name, where Salvation is, he is your Prophet, your Shepherd, your Bishop, your Priest, in ...

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Quaker Jane's
Recommended Reading

Reader's Digest New Complete Guide to Sewing

I have the 1976 edition of this sewing reference book and have used it since I was in high school. I use it like a glossary or dictionary, to look up specific sewing techniques.

The Complete Book of Sewing - Dressmaking and Sewing for the Home Made Easy, by Constance Talbot

The classic sewing reference book, circa the 1940s, available as a reprint.

(More Recommended Books
for Basic Sewing Skills . . . )