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Lovina answers reader questions about Amish clothing traditions

November 27, 2018

My husband, Joe, and son Benjamin, 19, were off all week for Thanksgiving. Son Joseph, 16, had off Thanksgiving Day and Friday, as well as Lovina, 14, and Kevin, 13, from school. It seems as though the week will go faster than usual.

On Saturday, our three sons and Joe went to help at sister Emma’s and Jacob’s house again, preparing for the upcoming wedding of niece Emma and Menno on Dec. 7. Menno’s family was there also helping. I decided to stay here and keep sewing. I did make a potato casserole to send along with Joe and the boys to make lunchtime a little easier for Emma and her daughters.

Today, Joe and Benjamin are helping son-in-law Mose replace some windows in their house. This should make their house warmer this winter. With the windows out, the house is cold, so daughter Susan and baby Jennifer came here for the day. Susan brought her sewing along to work on here. After the girls and I washed our laundry, I also sewed and managed to get my dress and part of my cape sewn, too.

A reader asked what a cape is. It is the triangular piece of fabric that goes from the waist and over our shoulders and crosses in front. Then, the apron is put over the bottom of the cape and belted around the waist. In our community, capes usually are worn to church weddings and special occasions. For church, a white cape and apron is worn, but for a wedding, we wear the same color cape and apron as our dress color and material, which we call a “dress suit.” I hope that explains enough on the cape.

I do not get to see your questions on the website, so I appreciate my editors taking time to print them out and mail them to me. I was encouraged by all of your kind words, so I want to say thank you.

Another question was about what an Amish bride wears. This can vary from one community to the next. In some communities, the brides will wear a black dress with white cape and apron. In our community, the bride chooses her color of dress but wears a white cape and apron. Also in our church community, a bride wears a black covering to the wedding service. After she is married she changes to a white covering and won’t wear a black covering again. The unmarried girls wear black coverings to church services, but wear white coverings at all other times.

Daughter Elizabeth was married in a burgundy dress, and our daughter, Susan, chose a green dress. I hope this explains it well enough.

Some brides sew their own dresses, and others have her mother or someone else sew it. Daughter Elizabeth sewed her own wedding dress, but I sewed Susan’s wedding dress.

Another question a reader asked was why we use sawdust in horse stalls instead of straw. Joe thinks it’s easier to muck out the sawdust, and we also can get it free from local saw mills.

A reader requested my Sloppy Joe recipe. Enjoy.

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