Clothing the church...literally.

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Von

Puritan Board Sophomore
My wife has started to make her own clothing. She does not consider herself to be an expert, but she is learning and finds extreme joy in doing it.
A while back, someone at church complimented her on a dress. After discovering that my wife made it herself, the woman asked her to make her a dress as well. My wife was reluctant since she never considered it to be a business (the woman was willing to pay).
The other woman reprimanded my wife for not sharing her talents with the church so that fellow believers can reap the benefits.
Thoughts?
 

Von

Puritan Board Sophomore
Define reprimanded.
Mmmm... that was the one word in my post that I thought carefully about.
There is a way of saying "don't hide your talents" that is encouraging, but this was not it.
However, the actual response of the woman does not so much concern me as does the question that it raises:
Should a believer feel compelled to share his/her talents (even at a fee) with fellow believers?
 

B.L.

Puritan Board Sophomore
Hello Von,

I think that's wonderful your wife is able to make her own clothes. Our daughter (10 y/o) started taking sewing classes this summer and we recently purchased a sewing machine for her to use at home. She makes clothes for her dolls, coasters for our cups, and other fun sewing projects. Hopefully she'll continue to take an interest in sewing and learn to make her own clothes as well.

To address your question, based on the information provided, I don't believe your wife should feel compelled to make clothes for other women in your church. Perhaps if access to the bare essentials like clothing were an issue in your congregation then it might be a wonderful act of love to brothers and sisters in need, but it sounds like that might not be the case here.

Yes, we should be sharing our gifts and talents. Our congregation has members skilled in carpentry, plumbing, roofing, finance, etc. and it's a terrific blessing to the church when these skills are used to help out brothers and sisters; however, the help rendered is often meant to address actual "needs" and not "wants" and to me that's an important distinction.
 

Von

Puritan Board Sophomore
I like that - "needs vs wants" - it brings clarity to the issue, thanks.
 

Edward

Puritanboard Commissioner
Thoughts?

Sounds like the woman needs a lesson on the subject of asking nicely if you want something from someone that has no obligation to you.

Is the woman generally known for her sense of entitlement, or was this a one-off comment?
 

Tom Hart

Puritan Board Senior
Thoughts?
A little odd, frankly.
Should a believer feel compelled to share his/her talents (even at a fee) with fellow believers?
No. Who's to say what services they'd get to demand from me? And how much do they get to demand? It'd just end up going in all sorts of bizarre directions.

I am reminded of my grandmother, who didn't like when I started growing my beard. She made it a "Christian" issue. "Christian men shouldn't have beards," she said. A sweet old lady she was, but there, I have to say, she was just inventing a "Christian" reason where it suited her preference. It sounds like you've got the same sort of thing on your hands. A woman wants something, can't have it, so she makes it a matter of being "Christian".

No lack of charity is intended on my part. I can appreciate that this would be uncomfortable for you and especially for your wife. I hope it can be sorted amicably.
 

TylerRay

Puritan Board Graduate
My wife has started to make her own clothing. She does not consider herself to be an expert, but she is learning and finds extreme joy in doing it.
A while back, someone at church complimented her on a dress. After discovering that my wife made it herself, the woman asked her to make her a dress as well. My wife was reluctant since she never considered it to be a business (the woman was willing to pay).
The other woman reprimanded my wife for not sharing her talents with the church so that fellow believers can reap the benefits.
Thoughts?
How is your wife's cooking? If it's any good, please inform her that she must share her talents with me by sending me cookies.
 

VictorBravo

Administrator
Staff member
It's not really different from the fellow who barged into my storefront office, interrupting my brief-writing, saying, "can we talk, I'll pay you."

I said, "no. Appointments only."

He was offended and said again, "I'll pay you."

Well, at that moment I was not for sale. And for that particular person, I don't think ever.

Your wife is not a public resource that must meet everyone's demands.
 

Relztrah

Puritan Board Freshman
I agree with the above comments. Tell your wife to politely decline, and she doesn't need to offer an explanation. I foresee a scenario here where she makes the dress, is paid for it (or not), but the other woman doesn't like it because it doesn't fit perfectly, the color isn't what she expected, something about it does not meet her expectations. So now your wife feels compelled to sew another dress or somehow fix that one. Maybe I'm being pessimistic, but I see this as a potential problem to be avoided.
 

jwithnell

Moderator
Staff member
IF the lady didn't have every store, designer, and clothing manufacturer on her phone and up the street, I'd say she has a point. Otherwise, I'd say she lacks tact and wisdom.

As a seamstress I can tell you there's a huge difference between sewing your own clothing and sewing for another. Fit is tricky; and it's difficult (and often expensive) to source quality fabric -- a liability your wife would face the moment she starts cutting.
 

Andrew35

Puritan Board Sophomore
Awesome hobby to pick up, btw. For one, you can have clothes that actually fit.
I am a tall, thin man with thin shoulders; and I discovered just how much our factory-made clothes are designed to the lowest common denominator when I had my first tailor-made shirt overseas.
Everything about inexpensive shirts (in the US, at least)--from shoulder seams to overall fit--is made to the "big guys," because smaller guys can still wear them. But the reverse isn't true.
Bet there's a lot of guys here who have never worn a shirt that truly fits and don't even know it.
To say nothing of the fact that our clothes are now mostly plastic...
 
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Andrew35

Puritan Board Sophomore
Oh, anyone here take up weaving on a traditional loom? That would be a wonderful skill to have, I've often thought. Homemade cloth is lovely stuff, and infinitely customizable. So cool to watch as well.
 
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Chad Hutson

Puritan Board Freshman
My 15 year-old does a good job mowing our lawn. Should he be required to "share his talents" with others if they ask him to?
 

Elizabeth

Puritan Board Sophomore
IF the lady didn't have every store, designer, and clothing manufacturer on her phone and up the street, I'd say she has a point. Otherwise, I'd say she lacks tact and wisdom.

As a seamstress I can tell you there's a huge difference between sewing your own clothing and sewing for another. Fit is tricky; and it's difficult (and often expensive) to source quality fabric -- a liability your wife would face the moment she starts cutting.

Very, very true.

I was, when younger, a talented seamstress. I turned to costumier for a bit of extra income and came to hate it very much, due to the stress of getting things perfect for customers.

Making authentic, civil war fittings for little boys was quite ghastly..LOL.

Sewing for oneself and for one's family is a joy, though. And a nice creative outlet. But it's not a talent that demands sharing. Although it was fun to create a few things as gifts, usually lovely little dresses for new babies and such.
 

Minh

Puritan Board Freshman
Sound like your wife is talking to comrade Ivan here. It is better for individual Christians to serve one another by their hearts rather than under force compulsion. Let consciences under the Scriptural dictation decide that matter with prayers. This reminds me of how Paul speak of giving tithes to the church: "Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver." (2 Corinthians 9:7)
 
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