Sharing Grandpa's tallit

When a beloved grandfather is no longer alive having a bit of his presence at a grandchild's bar-mitzvah can be a really important thing.As I mentioned in my last post, there is one grandfather and nice grandchildren.
My clients suggested that I make kippot for the rest of the grandchildren out of the tallit.

If you go to a synagogue there are usually baskets of kippot at the door. many people when they plan a bar mitzvah will also get kippot made.those kippot usually cost a couple of bucks. I knew that if I made kippot out of Grandpa's tallit  I couldn't just charge a couple of bucks. I don't have a factory set up. Each piece would need to be not stamped out by machine, but hand cut and hand pieced together. I knew I had to charge an actual significant amount of money for each kippah.

 I found a place on line that will make kippot out of fabrics that you provide for a relatively small amount of money. I suggested that my client call and see if they could make the kippot out of this tallit.  My client called but they basically hung up on him when they found out how few kippot he wanted. 

We decided that I would make the kippot. First I pulled apart a nice bar-mitzvah kippah so I could use it to create a pattern.
 I noticed that the hem is reinforced with a strip of cardboard for a bit of extra stability.I also noticed that while the kippah was made out of six segments, the lining is made of four segments. 

I pressed and starched the wazoo out of a segment of both the outside and the lining of the kippah and cut a pattern for each out of cardstock. Before I cut into actual precious tallit fabric I cut out paper pattern pieces to see how many kippot I could get out of Grandpa's tallit.

I traced around the card stock pattern and began cutting out kippah segments. As I cut I realized that If I were making just one kippah I would be sure  to match the stripes on the kippah.

I was however making ten kippot for ten grandchildren. Most of the tallit is white. Clearly the best part of the tallit are the stripes and I will have to distribute the good stuff so that none of the grandchildren feels slighted.

For my own sanity I decided to give myself permission a little bit playful with the lining and the trimming. I had tried to make a summer dress for myself out of this fabric with it's design of Hmong applique work. I was very fond of the fabric and was sad that the dress was a disaster. The fabric will line some of the kippot.

I have been making kippot for years but it took me until this batch of kippot to realize that the lining needs to be bigger than the outside fabric. You align the kippah at the hem and then magically, the too big lining and the smaller outside fabric line up perfectly and make for a well fitting kippah.

Four kippot are completed, but still need threads clipped.

Each is trimmed just a bit differently.(They may get buttons at the top, just like a nice old fashioned kippah)

I was a little bit worried about how the unmatched striped would look. I realize that the fact that each kippah is made out of various parts of the tallit underlines that these kippot were all a part of something else, something bigger.

I am nearly half way there on this project.


  1. I am loving your problem solving lately!

  2. Thank you Sandy! Sometimes it makes my head hurt until I figure it out.


Post a Comment

Popular Posts