As the name of my blog indicates, I spend a lot of time thinking about home. Of course, my Heavenly Home is the one that is eternal, so that’s where I need to lay up my treasures, and that’s the one I’m striving for. But in the meantime, I have been given this tiny piece of the here-and-now—this home on the edge of town, this family, this neighborhood—in which to serve Him. And, though this is in the earthly realm, I want the things that happen here to be investments in the Heavenly realm.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Hidden Art of Homemaking {Chapter 12: Clothing}

So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.   Matthew 6:28, 29 NKJV

We are instructed not to worry about clothing, but to trust God for its provision. However, Mrs. Schaeffer suggests that if we consider the flowers (as Jesus invited us to consider), we will be amazed at the beauty, the variety, the amazing splendor of color, shape, and form that is to be seen. The Master Artist, our Creator, has arrayed the flowers in glory!  

 As Christians, we know that true beauty is not simply what one looks like on the outside. 

Your adornment must not be merely external...but let it be the inner person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.  I Peter 3:3, 4 NASB

When my two oldest children were in a 4-H club for homeschoolers, a visitor once remarked to one of the moms about the beauty of her daughter.  The mom simply replied, "As long as she is beautiful inside." I have often thought of the wisdom of this mother, who declared that inner beauty was more valuable.

Yes, inner beauty is "precious in the sight of God", and we know that He "looks on the heart" (I Samuel 16:7). But does that mean that we should neglect external beauty altogether? 
Mrs. Schaeffer asks this question: there any reason why a child of the One who designed, created, brought forth and clothed the flowers should set out to look ugly and drab? Are we representing him by being unattractive?

What are some ways that the homemaker can display creativity in clothing herself and her family?

Certainly, sewing clothes would come under the category of creativity. I have made some clothing for my daughters (and some for my grandchildren), and it is a joy to see them wear something that I have created...a calico dress with a crisp white collar, a pink gingham flannel nightgown, a romper sewn in a garden print and "leaf" buttons. I have not mastered the art of creating clothing suitable for adults. My talents lie mainly with "cute."

Knitting or crocheting clothing is a beautiful form of creativity. I would love to learn to knit, but I am an old dog who had difficulty learning that new trick. My two younger daughters have learned to knit some, and have made hats and scarves. We are all a long way off from being able to create that cable knit sweater my son has always wanted.

Can a homemaker still be creative with clothing even if she doesn't make clothes from scratch?  I think so.

fabric flower on a Walmart dress

My girls and I have had fun embellishing ready-made clothes. Adding a fabric flower, someribbon, a bit of cross-stitch, a touch of embroidery...all are ways of adding a creative and personal touch. Often such details are the difference in inexpensive and boutique-style clothing, so you can save a bunch by adding the special touches yourself.

Speaking of cost...I think that it takes great creativity to clothe yourself and your family beautifully on a budget!

There were years when we had no money, and yet my children were always clothed well, and the casual observer would not have known that we were dirt poor by how my children were dressed. My parents bought them something beautiful to wear as part of their birthday gift. We would also go shopping before Christmas and Easter, and Mom would buy them a nice outfit. In between, we shopped yard sales and took advantage of hand-me-downs. We scoured the bargain racks. I found a wonderful gently used children's clothing shop. On a couple of occasions, I purchased some beautiful church dresses from ladies in our church who had older daughters.

Old habits die hard, and even today when we are no longer dirt poor, I very rarely buy anything that is not on sale. Now it's more like a treasure hunt...and it's great fun to find a bargain and dress on-the-cheap.

Creativity can also be putting outfits together with color and accessories.  
Scarves, jewelry,shoes, purses, jackets, layers...all ways to create an outfit and stretch the wardrobe.

Lastly, creativity is individual style!

Bekah is a dress girl (like her Gammy). She has always loved dresses. As a small girl, she wouldn't
even wear pajama pants, only a nightgown! I respected her need to express her individual style, but
there were a few really cold days in which I insisted that she wear pants to keep her legs warm...and she had an emotional meltdown! I had a brainstorm and bought her several pairs of leggings to wear with her beloved dresses...and the struggle was over. (Whew!) At 12 years old, she still wears mostly dresses, but she has added jeans to her wardrobe for certain occasions...and she doesn't cry when she wears them.  :)

See my "hiking clothes"?
For me, jeans are my wardrobe. I dress them up, dress them down, wear lots of black and pops of color. My family laughed at me when we went hiking in Maine. I was wearing jeans, a black shirt with a ruffled front, and a purple sweater (for which I had paid $5.00 on clearance at...yep, Target). Those were my hiking clothes.  (And any-other-day clothes.)

Kati also wears mostly jeans, but with cute colorful shirts. She knows what she likes, and when she finds the right thing, she buys it in multiples. This summer she bought six(!) of the same shirt in different colors and prints.

Kristin has more variety in her wardrobe than the rest of us. She wears dresses, skirts, skinny jeans (in my dreams!), layers, and lots of color, and she is great at accessorizing.

Kristin and her girls
Kati in one of the 6 shirts :)

What do you think about clothing and creativity? Does it matter? Do you think much about clothing?


Continuing the book club discussion of The Hidden Art of Homemaking at Ordo Amoris...
Click ~here~ for all the posts in the discussion. 


  1. Enjoyed your comments on clothes. I love pretty clothes and, like you, prefer to shop sales or discount stores. It is fun to put together a really nice outfit using things I bought at Walmart, Ross, or even the Dollar Store--and it can be done. I used to make all my clothes in my younger years but got to where I didn't enjoy it any more--neck pains, etc. and with fabric and patterns getting pricey, it was just about as cost effective to shop (and so much fun to shop and sniff out a bargain--it's like a treasure hunt). Blessings, Sharon D.

  2. I relate to the kids always dressing well. SO many people gave me boy clothes we looked positively wealthy.

    Also I loved seeing your daughters' style. Your girls are both lovely.

  3. I am like your Kati. When I find something that I like and that fits well, I buy in several colors. That goes for shoes, too

  4. I don't much care about my own wardrobe; however, I am very appreciative of others who seem to know what they're doing with their wardrobes. So, I think I should care more based on that alone for the sake of those who must look at me.

  5. A year or two ago, I saw a photo of myself with a friend's baby, who is now about 9. In the photo I had on a top, and I realized my wardrobe (which already consisted of mostly thrift store purchases) had not changed in YEARS. That, plus a few other things;), was a wake-up call to me that I needed to take some interest! Then, through the internet, I got interested in sewing clothes for myself. Right now I have to say I am enjoying having clothes that fit and that I had a hand in creating:) This may be a phase, but I am enjoying it while I am in it.

  6. I try, but I'm not great at it. I think I am getting better and I am never trendy but try to wear feminine clothes, in colors that look good on me.

    You and the girls always look great! I love your choices for hiking!


  7. Dressing my kids nice has always been important to me. Today I had to send my 11 year old son upstairs 3 times to find a shirt to match his pants and he was only going to play at the park. He still don't understand what was wrong with his first two choices.

    I had to laugh about your hiking outfit. I can totally see myself doing that.

  8. Great post! I liked your photos showing your girls and how varied everyone's taste is. I had one "dress" daughter, and one kind of "jeans/tshirt" daughter. I really identify with your thrifty shopping, and I find it's hard to pay more at other stores after I've become used to getting clothes for $1 or $2. How silly is that?

  9. LOVE your hiking style!
    The ladies in your family are all gorgeous, and it's obvious they learned about true beauty from their lovely mother.
    There is an artistic touch in every post you publish, and in your daughters' work as well. I've been enjoying 'getting to know' you these past couple of months. Thanks so much for sharing.

  10. Too long I've been away, so what a treat to catch up and think about you, Cheryl.

    I read your blog intro again and so enjoyed your heart song about home.
    I think that people must feel' at home' in your presence.

    So good to visit again.

    Wishing you more of those heavenly glimpses....


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