This year (2011) we are going to do something different to observe and celebrate the Biblical Feast of Yom Kippurim. We are not going to put on white linen as usual this year. Instead I am going to be making a sackcloth tunic, as a Garment of Affliction, and we will wear them for 24 hours during Yom Kippurim, in addition to fasting and praying.
Why would we do such a bazaar thing, you might ask?
We were inspired by Remnant Mama Nitza Moshe’s experience doing this very thing last year.
Recently, she visited us for a week and while here, she and I recorded some Remnant Mama shows together. I asked her to share about her experience of making a sackcloth tunic and wearing it for Yom Kippur last year, with our radio listeners.
If you would like to listen to those 3 broadcasts and review her rough draft study notes, follow this link:
The Purim Connection
While we are talking about all of these things before the show, I made a connection in scripture to the events that we commemorate with Purim. Mordecai put on sackcloth and ashes and grieved and prayed when he discovered what Haman was planning to do to Yah’s people. Then Queen Esther called for all of the exiles to do the same and to pray and fast together. You can read about this in Esther chapter 4.
It was then that I realized that we are exiles, living in a foreign land. We are living in a troubling time with earthquakes happening all around, severe storms, tsunamis, famines, wars and rumors of wars, a faltering world economy – not to forget the shaky economy of this country too. Then there is the fighting in Yisrael, with families torn apart, children left homeless and without their parents, hunger, death and pain surrounding their daily lives. Truly we must pray for YHWH’s peace to come to His land and for Him to restore His kingdom there. It is a time for us to humble ourselves and pray for our brethren around the world many who are facing daily persecution. Messiah, come quickly!!
Nitza shared that prophets and kings would put on sackcloth tunics when they truly wanted to repent or beseech YHWH. Last year (2010) she made herself a sackcloth tunic by sewing burlap feed sacks together and she wore it for Yom Kippurim. Avi and I can see a clear connection to wearing sackcloth as part of the affliction process. We talked it over and decided to make Garments of Affliction that we would wear this year for Yom Kippurim.
Making A Sackcloth Tunic from Burlap Cloth
We purchase bags of chicken feed every two weeks but those bags are not made out of burlap like those that Nitza purchased. The bags we buy are made of woven plastic or thick paper. We don’t have a feed store that has extra feed sack, so I went to Hancock’s fabric store and bought burlap fabric. I think it was about $5 a yard. I wasn’t certain how much to purchase because I didn’t have a pattern to use; so I bought 4 yards for each of us. Avi’s fabric is a medium brown color and mine is a sage green shade.
I asked Avi to give me a long sleeved shirt that was very loose fitting on him. I used that to help me gauge the width of his tunic. The full sleeves on the shirt helped me to be able to cut out roomy sleeves. I centered the open sleeves on the shoulder seam-line and then sewed them onto the tunic so that they would be a drop shoulder style.
I cut a rounded head opening in the top, leaving the back slightly higher and the front slightly lower. This would make it more comfortable to wear so that the neck edge wouldn’t rub or hit high on the front of the neck. I turned down the edges and sewed them, then sewed up the side seams and arm seams.
Next, I reinforced the sides of the neck opening with a second layer of burlap fabric. I did this because the burlap easily frays and I realized that this was a stress point. Then I hemmed the sleeves and the bottom edge of the garment.
Here is Avi wearing a cheeky grin as he tries on the sackcloth tunic. The body is plenty roomy enough but I didn’t listen to myself and measure the sleeve depth. It’s too short for such bulky and stiff fabric. I knew better, my knitwear designer skills told me I should check this out before I cut out the sleeves but I ignored it. They should be at least 12 inches deep for something like this and they aren’t. So now I will have to open up the underarm stitches and insert a diamond shaped gusset to give him the room he needs. Urrrrgh! Why I didn’t listen to that voice inside me, I don’t know.
Next I needed to make my tunic. By this time I remembered I had a chemise pattern (McCalls M4548) and I used it. This made it so much easier to cut out the garment pieces. I like the look of the garment but the bulky neck edge with all the gathers is a bit uncomfortable. The chemise design uses a very over-sized head opening that is turned under and stitched down to make a casing for a draw string. I used a remnant of blue ribbon for the draw string and now I realize that the fabric is too thick and stiff to fold nicely into gathers around the neck. In hindsight I would use a different pattern for both of our tunics, perhaps (Simplicity 4795.)
Our Yom Kippurim Observance Plans
We plan to put our sackcloth tunics on, Friday evening after sundown and wear them all night and throughout Yom Kippurim the next day until sundown. We are wanting to get the full benefit from doing this so we will not wear anything under our long Garments of Affliction. Yep, it’s going to be scratchy and definitely will be afflicting to wear but we are committed to do this. We will also be fasting during this time and that will be a challenge for me. I have successfully fasted many times in the past and a few times for as long as 3 weeks (21 days) but that was fasting food – I did drink water and tomato juice. Avi is much better at fasting than me because he does it on a more regular basis.
I seem to do well when I feel ‘lead of the Lord’ to fast – I think that is because I usually have lots of conviction and strength to see it though at those times. However, when I am asked to fast with a group of people (or for Yom Kippurim) I never seem to do as well. This will really be a challenge for me LOL. I am glad that it will only be Avi & I at our home in case I get sort of moody and grouchy. Oh poor Avi!!! I will have to pray extra hard so I don’t take it out on him (c:
Of course we will be praying and reading scripture throughout the whole process. After this most Set Apart day has concluded I will give you all an update of how it all goes and of our thoughts and inspirations.
To read about how we did through this time of afflicting ourselves, click here for Part 2.
For now I am scrambling to get many things finished that we will need completed so that we can head out to Tennessee for Sukkot next week.
Every blessing to you all for a good and successful fast.
Have a blessed Yom Kippurim!
Until next time,