Written and work-shopped by Theresa Corbin
This post is from over two years ago, but I received a very nice email about it this week (thanks, David! I usually only get hate mail). Honestly, I have forgotten that I had even done this. Lots of stuff happens in two years. So, I thought why not dig it out and re-post it in the hopes that someone might find it useful. See below for a thobe/caftan tutorial for the brothers or sisters who like caftans- so comfy!
Ladies, have you ever ordered a prayer outfit online, only to have it arrive and realize that it is translucent, or that it is super clingy, snags easily, too cheapy and too expensive all at the same time? Well, I’m here to tell you that you don’t have to suffer through subpar prayer clothes any more!
With a few materials from around the house, or from the craft and home sections of most stores, you can have your own luxuriously, couture prayer clothes.
If you have never heard of such a thing as prayer clothes, you may be wondering, Why prayer clothes? Why can’t you just wear your regular clothes? Good question. And the answer is, yes, we can just wear our regular clothes to pray in (that is the regular hijab outfittings- dressing modestly during prayer is a must).
But prayer clothes are just so easy to thrown on when you are hanging out around the house in your yoga pants (that you never do yoga in) when it’s time to pray. No wrapping, no pinning, no matching-it’s already ready already, and you can just toss it on. So that’s why prayer clothes.
So, I would like to invite you into my home to learn how to make your very own.
What you need
- queen sized flat sheet, any color or design that you desire
- iron and ironing board
- Washable marker or a fabric marker
- Measuring tape or ruler
- needle for sewing machine
- sewing machine (you can sew it by hand, but it will take forever)
- elastic, whatever width you like- 1/2″, 1″, 2″, or 3″- And enough to fit comfortably around your waist
- 5 yards of extra wide, double fold, bias tape, whatever color you prefer
What you gotta do
- First, iron out the sheet so there aren’t any wrinkles gumming up the works.
- Then fold the sheet in half, long ways (my floor is clean, promise).
- At the bottom with the wide hem, measure a skirt you like the length of against the sheet, adding room for the casing at the top (the casing will be twice the width of your elastic. Mine is 3″ so I added 6″ on top of my skirt length for my casing)
- You want to keep the width of the sheet so it is roomy and one size fits all for any guests who might want to use it to pray in.
- Fold the cut side (not the hemmed bottom) of the skirt twice the width of your elastic (see pic ^)
- pin —> this will be the casing for your elastic
- sew the casing at the bottom edge
- Pin elastic with a huge safety pin
- start pushing/pulling elastic through the casing
- Keep going all the way around
- Push out the other side
- Sew the elastic in place at both ends of the casing
Pin the sides of the skirt together so the inside is facing out and sew. Turn right side out. Now you have a skirt for your prayer outfit! Bonus: You can use this recipe for any lightweight, maxi skirt you would like to make. It doesn’t have to be part of a prayer outfit.
Then start on the hijab (khimar)
- Using the rest of the sheet, measure the length of the short hem (the skirt was the bottom. This is the top of the sheet).
- Use the measurement of the length of the hemmed edges and measure at intervals of 3-4 inches, keeping the end of the measuring tape in the same corner to make a semicircle (see pic above) and marking the measurements of the semicircle.
- Then cut where you have marked.
Bias tape hem
- Unfold the the cut semicircle. this will be your hijab
- Pin the bias tape to the curved edge of the hijab.
- If you have never used bias tape before, you will notice that the double fold bias tape has four folds in it. Unfold two halves, keeping one fold on each side of the sheet material so that the tape envelopes both sides of the sheet material, but the bias tape is not completely unfolded. This replaces a hem, which can be very tricky to accomplish on a continuous curve.
- Sew the bias tape onto the hijab.
Once the bias tape has been sewn on, place the center of the hijab on your head and pin it closed, on the wrong side, fitting your face and making sure both ends meet. Sew. Turn right side out. Bonus: This recipe makes a khimar for those sisters who wear khimar regularly, you can use any light weight material in any color you like.
And now you have your very own couture prayer outfit. ( You can almost see my mustache 😀 ^)
In total, this took a couple of hours to make because I had to take several coffee breaks. But it will prolly take you way less time. Even if you don’t want to make one for yourself, these make great presents for a new Muslimah or an old friend. You can even make one to donate to the masjid.
And, brothers, check out this easy tutorial to make a thobe/caftan.
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