20 May 2012

Sewing challenge no. 4: Tish Bekishe

A tish bekishe is like a long Victorian smoking jacket, worn to the Shabbat table by some Chasidic men. My husband (who does not identify as Chasidic) wanted one partly because a bekishe is machine-washable and a suit isn't: a bekishe is good if your toddler likes to pour soup in your lap.
As Rabbi Triebitz once said (in an entirely different context), there are no non-Chasidim in a foxhole.

Some bekishes are tailored; some aren't. I used a bathrobe pattern, Simplicity 5931, and relied on the fabric to make it look like something you could actually wear to dinner.
The pattern is good for beginners, but runs large. My husband's rav and our neighbor (thanks) graciously smuggled me their bekishes (this was a surprise) so I could study the construction.

There is some kabbalistic significance to not making such a garment all-black, but mostly I figured a man who wears a black suit and a black hat every day has enough black in his life already.
I wanted a fabric that would look black (like most other bekishes) until you turned your back on it and made it think you weren't looking. What I found in the right color is pretty stiff; next time I'll use something floppier. And a pattern that will allow for frogs (those Asian knot fastenings), because I. Love. Frogs.

I'm not sure why it looks ripply and uneven here. It looks ok in real life.

I put on a remnant of silvery leaf-like trim because every tish bekishe should look Elvish.

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