Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

3 Adar I 5763 - February 5, 2003 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









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Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Home and Family

Cost-Cutting Tips for Weddings
Outfitting the Wedding Party

by Yonina Hall

Part II


Buying vs. Sewing

As a general rule, it's cheaper to buy ready-made simcha clothing for children under the age of 14 than to have it sewn.

"Mass production has driven down costs, although the quality may not be on a par with sewing," observes professional seamstress Judy Singer. "If you do decide to use a seamstress to sew matching outfits for all the children, ask -- before you buy the material -- for a fixed price, the highest it could be, not an estimated price or an hourly fee. People expect to pay less money but it actually takes more time to sew children's clothes. It's definitely cheaper to buy than have it made."

Mrs. E.'s two teenage daughters turned their private sewing lessons into a wedding project by sewing gowns for their six small nieces, as well as themselves, in honor of their sister's wedding. They bought cheap material, spending about 50 shekel per dress, and turned out fully lined, floor length gowns in two months. "It was a big waste of money because they won't wear these dresses again," Mrs. E. admits, "but it was fun and educational. After you put in ten sleeves, you know how to put in a sleeve."

When a wedding comes close to a yom tov, many families `buy ahead' so their girls can wear the same outfit for both occasions. With enough advance notice, you may be able to take advantage of end-of-the-season or closeout sales on children's fashions.

Alternatively, your daughter could borrow a fancy dress from a friend instead of buying something she will soon outgrow. "Since our daughter agreed to borrow her dress, we bought her pretty hair ornaments and a new pair of stockings so she would feel she had some new things of her own," Mrs. F. says.

Boys under bar-mitzva age can easily get by with their regular Shabbos shirt and pants. Of course, a vest will make them look and feel more dressed up (and hide shirt stains occurring on the night of the event). If you decide to buy a new pants-vest set, even in a bargain store, compare the price tags between the pants alone and the set. Typically, you'll pay forty shekels for the pants but 150 shekels for the set. In this case, it would be cheaper to have a seamstress sew the vest.

Mrs. F. dressed all her boys in their regular Shabbos shirts and pants and gratified them with a few new accessories. "My 6-, 8-, 10- and 12-year-old sons were happy to get new socks, tzitziyos and kipos in honor of their brother's wedding," she says. "We also polished their Shabbos shoes and wouldn't let them outside until right before we left for the hall."

Simcha Gemachs and Rentals

Only a handful of gemachim specialize in children's simcha clothing, but if you find something you and your daughter like, it won't cost you much at all. The Unsdorf Gemach, for example, features a collection of nearly one hundred girls' gowns that are received in mint condition from an American dressmaker who operates a rental shop. Several sets of matching dresses are available in every size. The dress deposit is refundable; customers only pay for dry cleaning, which averages 30 shekels per dress.

Neighborhood gemachim can also yield valuable finds for budget conscious children's simcha shoppers. Mrs. A., who is handy with needle and thread, scours neighborhood gemachim for any girl's outfit that she can `dress up' with fancy trimmings, a new velvet collar or special buttons (some gemachim specialize in buttons as well!). Once, on the lookout for a dressy outfit for her year-old baby, she spotted a beautiful but impractical size 14 velour skirt (orange and blue plaid on a dark green background) at a gemach. She bought it for a few shekels, opened the seam, and used the material to sew a gorgeous baby outfit. [The same goes for women who do not wear sheitels -- many velvet skirts can produce stunning headgear.]

Pre-teen rentals are a new entry to Eretz Yisroel's simcha scene. Rental prices start at 200 shekels to outfit girls aged 2 - 12. The fee includes dry cleaning; customers also leave an open check as a guarantee against tearing or otherwise damaging the garment.

Shoppers beware: There is no price ceiling for how much a pre- teen dress or gown should cost either in the retail or rental markets. One mother received a quote of 800 shekels to RENT a dress for an eleven-year-old! You'll save money, but not time, by shopping around for the right price as well as the right dress. Also, ask friends who recently married off children, and benefit from their experience.

NEXT WEEK: Outfitting Women and Teens

[Incidentally, there are two little-known but listed Gemachs of clothing racks in Jerusalem for storing the wedding gowns before the wedding, or for the bride herself, when she moves into an apartment that doesn't have a closet.]


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