What goes into the making of a tallit katan? I made one last year as a Hannukah gift to myself. The project actually started around this time of year, and took me about a month or so. In case you don't remember, or are a new reader and don't feel like scrolling back, I will recap.
- This step only exists for fabrics that have a clear "right side up" to the pattern; otherwise I just use the fold in the fabric as the shoulder fold. So with the one I made last year, I just used the fold, and with the one I'm making now, I had to do this step. If one has a pattern with a clear "right side up," the first step of the process is to cut two panels to the right size--I lay out a commercially-made one whose size I know I like, and size against it--and sew them together at the shoulders.
- Cut a hole big enough to slip over one's head at the center. This can be any size at all; just make sure it's big enough!
- Figure out, with a ruler, how much you want to fold in on each side for the hem. Measure and mark where you're going to fold.
- Pick a side. Fold in and pin, then sew. Repeat on all four sides.
- Repeat outside hem procedure on head hole.
- Cut four holes, one at each corner, and whip stitch each.
- Tie strings according to Jewish law.
You may be wondering about the legalities of making one of these. The only rule for the clothing part is that it has to be a fabric one would wear. I generally assume Wal-Mart quilting fabric is close enough. The strings have to be wool or the same material as the clothing piece; since I don't know exactly what I'm working with for the clothing piece, I buy wool strings. At the moment I forget where I get them, but wherever it is, I can get a complete set of 16 strings for four dollars plus shipping--ten dollars shipped--a phenomenal price.
To tie a corner (I have never described this process on the blog before, I don't think), one slips four strings--one long and three short--through a hole and evens up seven ends. (The eighth will do the winding.) One ties a double knot up near the garment, takes the long string, winds it around the others seven times, and ties a double knot. Then eight times, and a double knot; eleven, and a double knot; thirteen, and a final double knot.
That's all there is to it! There's nothing so hard about it. I get great satisfaction out of making my own. And, here are pictures from this one.
I'm sorry to say it didn't occur to me to document this until I was well into the process, but I did what I could. This is the cloth body part; you can see the shoulder seams and the hem at one end.
These are all the tools I'm using in this project! (OK, my cell phone's in the picture too, just randomly.) You can see a pair of scissors, a ruler, a pin cushion, and five colors--that's right, five colors--of thread. Why five colors of thread? The darker purple is to hem the outside edge and the head hole. Each of the other four matches an elephant color; I want to whip stitch the holes with them.