Thursday, December 27, 2007

Looking for a Hidden Treasure

Quoted from “Created to be His Help Meet” by Debi Pearl. Copyright © 2004. Used with permission.

Dear Mr. Pearl,

I am a 24-year-old male and looking for a wife. It is not as easy as it seems to find a decent girl. I want one who not only says she is decent, but LOOKS as though she is.

A friend of mine married one of the girls of the church. She wasn’t the most chaste dresser, but he was sure that once they were married she would sober up. She says she does not feel convicted about how she dresses, and he can only push her so far to change her.

I avoid him since he married, because I got aroused the whole time I was around them due to the way his wife dresses. It leaves me disgusted, frustrated and angry that a stupid, silly girl can cause so much trouble. Sometimes I feel my own body betrays me, but I know I am a normal male with a normal need, and the problem lies with females dressing so godless. Talk about dishonoring a man, all the rest of the younger females in church dress as bad or worse.

I had rather not get married than end up with a silly wife like her. Seeing Jacob embarrassed by his wife scared the rest of us unmarried men, because, as much as we want to get married, we sure do not want to end up being dishonored as he has been.

I want a girl who has not encouraged a thousand other guys to commit sight adultery with her by how she dresses. I want a woman I can be proud to call MY OWN little hidden treasure. How could a man ever trust a woman who, before she got married, “let it all hang out” for everyone to see?

I guess the big question for me is, how do we single men find chaste girls to marry, girls who are not interested in how sexy they can dress?

James G.

Dear James,

The Bible asks, “Who can find a virtuous woman?” The question implies, “Not an easy find.” It will be worth the search to find a chaste, virtuous girl. Until then, here is your letter advertising your concerns. I pray that the married ladies and mamas raising girls who read your letter will know and care how you godly men are thinking. I wish I had room to print 25 more letters like this, but one will have to do.

She who has ears…LET her hear!


Thursday, December 20, 2007

Shirt Portfolio 1

A reader introduced me to Annie Lantz, a classy Australian women's label. Finding their website and these pictures felt like discovering a treasure trove. Aren't they gorgeous? The regular price is beyond most people, but their sales give hugely reduced discounts, so I'll be very happy when their website is completed -- it's currently under construction. You can view the pictures there but the prices (possibly the stock as well) aren't current.

Have these pictures inspired you? Perhaps they've given you ideas for shirts you can create for yourself or others? That's what a portfolio is for. Why not start your own?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Petrel Satin Skirt and Blouse

I found this blouse at Farmers Department Store for an end-of-season discount. (EziBuy* is offering the same style this season in black and magenta.) It comes with a tie belt at the waist. I jettisoned this, and readjusted the sleeve buttons so the sleeves didn’t gape. I also unpicked a portion of the hem so I could realign the side seams for a better fit over my hips. My being “hipless” means overblouses poke out at strange, empty angles from me where most women have fill. These small tailoring details can make a big difference to the neatness of your outfit.

This skirt is not, contrary to appearance, in existence yet. What you see is just a classy drape pinned on a mannequin. I am still working on the pattern to create that classy drape. However, once it’s been cut and stitched, you can be sure I’ll post a photo of the completed article and how I did it. The fabric is a heavy satin jacquard used for upholstery. I’ve set the grain on the cross which allows the fabric to catch the light, bringing the leafy design into relief.

* or

Blue Trouser Suit with Fringed Shawl

This suit will be for sale once it is photographically recorded. I intended the tunic to be size 10 but the KwikSew sizing and crinkle cotton (which I neglected to pre-wash) disagreed with me about this, so it's really a size 8. There is a white cotton shift to go underneath the tunic. The low-waisted, loose-fitting pants are women's size 10, but the waistband can be easily let out to size 12 or could be taken in to size 8. The shawl is hand-fringed with pearl beading.

You'll see these details and more when I get my camera team, and I’ll measure the garments properly to confirm the sizes for international ratings.

Click on the images to enlarge.

Floral Cotton Dress with Criss-Cross Side Ties

This floral Indian cotton has served me faithfully for years, a practical, pretty, multi-season outfit. When new it was probably twice the colour intensity you see here. I had to retire the dress this past winter so I could get a photograph of it before it disintegrated entirely.

I saw the style on a girl at a student convention, determined to make myself one like it, and went hunting for the pattern. She had contrasting side ties, but I doubt she had the trouble I had in making them. I used a chunky cord, which was not a wise choice. Flat, self-fabric ties would have been far easier to insert into the small width of the darts that form the only shaping feature of the dress. Even with careful tacking, it took multiple tries before I got the ties and the tie loops all at the same angle within the dart.

However, I like this side-tie feature very much (and would make it again) because it allowed me to adjust the dress to the most comfortable shape each time I put it on. If you are prone to gaining or losing weight suddenly, you like extra room after you've eaten, or you’re pregnant, this is an ideal design for you.

Click on the picture to enlarge.

Please be aware that pattern styles move through the stores as speedily as garments do, so while Simplicity may not stock this number any more, you may be able to find something similar by browsing their website or any of the other brands at

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Creating Your Own Picture Portfolio

The concept has acquired the inelegant title of Scrapbooking. I prefer to create notebooks, albums, and portfolios.

In case you're wondering what an odd-looking shelf this is, I've tipped the photo sideways so you can read the labels without getting a crick in your neck. (Click on photo to enlarge.)

I started my first picture album when I was 10. It began with a Gemtime catalogue posted in our letterbox. I loved the glowing colours of the rings, my introduction to rubies, emeralds, and sapphires. It would have been a travesty to throw those pretty pictures in the fire. I cut and glued into a lined exercise book whose initial pages told the tale of “Daddy’s Birthday Card”.

The next chapter in this notebook (after the tale of Lancelot Panther the Rascal, co-authored by my brother) was thanks to a pattern book discarded by the local fabric shop once the winter season was over. My mother bought this heavy tome for cut and paste projects. I began to explore this mammoth and my scissors were attracted to a section offering wardrobe options for Cabbage Patch dolls. I didn’t like the dolls, but I sure was interested in their sweet little costumes, some of which had matching garments for the girlish owner.

Before I dipped again into this ocean of interesting pictures, I was in the fabric shop with Mum and found a pile of give-away pamphlets on the counter – a McCalls advertisement titled “A Wedding Album”. The pamphlet was filled with photographs of the most gorgeous dresses I’d ever seen, bridal whites and maiden pastels in pink, blue, and apricot. I carried one home in a daze of joy and wonder. Thus was born my fascination with picture hoarding and dress dreaming.

I still have that notebook, and have created many more like it, finding that I didn’t have to hope for cheap paper gleanings from ‘junk mail’ or that some kind lady would discard her EziBuy catalogue at my home. I found out how to get my own EziBuy picture books and that the public library stocked bridal magazines from which I could photocopy significant pages at home or even get colour copies made at the stationery store. Out of respect for these beautiful images, I moved from exercise books to clear-file folders, 10 pages, 20 pages… These rapidly filled and overflowed, so it was on to 40 pages, then 100-page boxed albums.

Until recently I felt slightly guilty about this hobby. It seemed pointless and a waste of time, money, and shelf space. I remember telling God this, asking Him why I had such a passion when there was no earthly (or heavenly) use for it except my personal enjoyment.

But in 2006 when I worked with a designer to create a modest concert gown for me to perform in, the Lord began to show me a reason for my interest. Further light dawned at the birth of Boutique Narelle.

Studying is a means by which we learn. I have studied pictures of female clothing and appearance since I was a child. I have albums full of dress style examples and can quickly flick through the pages when I need an idea or an illustration. It has helped me define what I like (or don’t like!), to discover what looks good and what doesn’t.

And as I did with my wedding album to help a betrothed couple decide what approach they wanted for their wedding photography, I know these clothing portfolios will help me in creating my own and others’ wardrobe requirements. I have a store of knowledge from which I can serve nutritious meals to style-hungry girls. = )

I have a hairstyle portfolio, too. This portion of my picture passion proved useful when I went to the hairdresser this year, two printed pictures in hand, photographs I’d found on a red-carpet celebrity website. These pictures enabled my hairdresser to render a look I was entirely satisfied with, a process that would have been far more difficult and perhaps impossible without those pictures. It’s not very often that you get a client with descriptive verbal skills (that’s certainly not me) combined with an auditory learner who can recreate your images in her head or on her drawing board.

So I recommend that you begin your own picture portfolio. Collect pictures of clothing you like (or any other aspect of a girl’s appearance). You will then be able to show a seamstress the sort of thing you’re looking for, or create in one garment a compilation of designs you like.

When browsing the internet, if you see a picture you like, right click on it and save it to your picture folder.

Website/s to help you get started: – the original online store for all of the latest sewing patterns from your favorite brands. They offer the widest selection anywhere from the most popular pattern makers. If you don’t live in the USA, your nearest fabric store will probably offer you a better price, but by browsing online for the styles you like, noting the pattern numbers, and ordering them at the fabric store, you will save yourself the inconvenience and discomfort that comes with browsing the pattern books in-store. Some pattern information is not available online, but even so I find this website greatly valuable.

Also see other Boutique Narelle Portfolio posts.

Swimwear SALE!

Oyez! Oyez! has an end-of-season sale with 25 to 30% discounts!

Of course, in the southern hemisphere this provides us with modest beachwear to start our summer with! There's 4 styles to choose from, in a range of colours and sizes. Jump in while the water's warm, girls! = )

And to help with your shopping, here's a currency calculator:

Friday, November 30, 2007

Rash Vests

This is a rash vest, also known as a rashie or Rashguard. They were designed to protect the surfer’s skin from board rash, wetsuit irritation, and exposure to sun and wind.

Mrs Katrina Peake says, “I strongly encourage, no matter what style of swimwear gals decide is appropriate for them, that they have at least lined if not inbuilt support. There’s nothing like a slight chill to cause bumps in the fabric, which can be rather obvious no matter how "modest" the rest of the garment!!! Either that or keep your arms crossed or a towel handy at ALL TIMES! =)

“I bought my rashie off, brand new, normally NZ$80 but I got it for $23 + postage – I think it was $28.50... It covers me, is slimming (just what a young mum needs!) but "fashionable", and combined with board shorts and a black maternity bra – my baby Scott and I are ready for a day at the beach!!!! =)

"Rashies are probably a good thought for pregnant ladies still keen to swim (it's very good for you and baby). I haven't actually tried it, but the only thing available for pregnant togs – as far as I'm aware – is 2 piece outfits that have tiny pants and floating tops; not what most dictionaries would define as "modest"! I got a $10 suit from the Warehouse at end of season, and streeeeetched it a little, so next time will try stretching my rashie, I think!” is an online auction site open to Australians and New Zealanders. America’s primary auction site is This company has an Australian branch, Search for rash vest, rash, and rashie – I got different results for each. Set up an automatic daily search and you could find yourself a shirt for just a few dollars.

If you are not yet a member of the auction site you visit, be aware that it could take a week to process your membership. You cannot buy or sell until you are an authenticated member. TradeMe requires a security deposit of NZ$10 to open your account. This is to cover costs of listing items for sale. If you are just buying, your deposit remains untouched.

Stores selling rash vests on

TradeMe trader "cmpleteoutdoors" sells the Adrenalin brand and claims it has a lifetime warranty. “Each size is generously cut to allow for a comfortable dry fit and has extra length to prevent ride up. It is robustly constructed to last season after season.” Their NZ website is found at

TradeMe trader "higheta" sells Australian brand Radicool, which has elbow length sleeves (see illustration) and a loose fit. I googled for Radicool’s home store and found which has an exciting range of rash vests including one with full length sleeves (prices listed in US$). They also stock knee length sport shorts.

Online Stores:

C Wear Australia, Australian-made swimwear found at They have a New Zealand freephone number. Their USA store is found at

If you’re researching overseas products, an extremely useful site to have on your browser tool bar is this currency calculator:
It gives you an instant translation at the current rate for whatever currencies you choose.

Swimwear in Stores

This is a muscle-back tank top I purchased from the Warehouse. I advise against swimming in white -- it becomes transparent when wet! I've used white here because a black one would have been hard to see on the mannequin. The white-on-black also shows the shelfbra support/bust lining which is not normally visible.

Stores in Australia and New Zealand:

The Warehouse (affectionately known as The Red Shed)

The Warehouse offers a wonderfully low-priced brand called "Active Intent". The useful sporting items include:

  • a shelf-bra muscle-back tank top that covers the hips -- make sure it's the type without the plunging neckline;
  • a sport short similar to boy-leg pants but with a much longer leg;
  • several types of t-shirt, some with shelf-bra support and some without;
  • and of course the colourful and varied board short.

Board shorts are fairly easy to come by in other stores, such as EziBuy, but tend to be much more expensive. I recommend you go for the dome-fastening board short -- avoid the lace-up version, as they're frustratingly tedious to get in and out of! and feature store locations, brand listings, and online viewing of catalogues/mailers. They are not online stores.

EziBuy and

Check the various women’s labels for swimwear sections. I didn’t get any joy out of typing ‘swimwear’ in the search feature.

My mannequin is wearing a rash vest on top of a muscle-back tank top. The bottom hem is elasticated to help prevent ride-up.

The Warehouse rarely stocks women’s rash vests, and I’ve never seen them at EziBuy. See the Rash Vest post for further ideas on where to get these.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Where to Find Modest Swimwear

Here are some options for where to purchase modest swimwear. If you have additional information, please do email us at BoutiqueNarelle(at) If you purchase any of the following items, drop us a line and tell us what you think of it!

USA websites:

Sew your own & adapt to your tastes:

We know that purchasing from overseas can be difficult/expensive. We are certainly working to find viable options for you. Here are some local ideas.

Australian websites:
Check out this Sue Rice Poly-Chloroban swim jacket.

OzResort’s Sun Protection section offers a zipped swim jacket with elbow-length sleeves, and a long sport short. They also have a range of kaftans, wraps, and board shorts, including full length trousers (resort wear).

New Zealand websites:

Blude Dude Swimwear Mecca is a store in Auckland that offers its catalogue online and takes phone or fax orders.

The end of Blue Dude's One Piece Swimwear section includes some wetsuit-like outfits with sleeves and legs, for both women and children. Something to be wary of when purchasing this type of suit is how the suit is sewn in the crotch. If there is a center back seam, it is likely to cling between your buttocks and be both revealing and uncomfortable. If the crotch does not have a complete gusset like regular underpants do (many suits are made with a small triangular gusset), it is likely to cause the same problems at the front.

Blue Dude's clothing section includes board shorts, kurtas, wraps, and jandals (thongs/flip-flops).


The Warehouse (affectionately known as The Red Shed)

The Warehouse offers a wonderfully low-priced brand called "Active Intent". The useful sporting items include a shelf-bra muscle-back tank top that covers the hips -- make sure it's the type without the plunging neckline; a sport short similar to boy-leg pants but with a much longer leg; and several types of t-shirt, some with shelf-bra support and some without; and of course the colourful and varied board short. Board shorts are fairly easy to come by in other stores, such as EziBuy, but tend to be much more expensive. I recommend you go for the dome-fastening board short -- avoid the lace-up version, as they're frustratingly tedious to get in and out of! and feature store locations, brand listings, and online viewing of sale catalogues/mailers. They are not online stores.

EziBuy and

Check the various women’s labels for swimwear sections. I didn’t get any joy out of typing ‘swimwear’ in the search feature.

The Warehouse rarely stocks women’s rash vests, and I’ve never seen them at EziBuy. See the Rash Vest post for further ideas on where to get these.

Swimwear Rules at Public Pools

On a recent field trip, my parents took a school group to the Taupo A.C. Baths, an outdoor pool complex we have visited many times over the years. An awkward situation developped when the pool attendant called several girls over and explained the pool had a new use-less-chlorine policy which required that only basic swimsuits be worn (fabric absorbs chlorine at a hungry rate). Therefore the girls wearing board shorts and rash vests either had to remove them and swim in the small togs they had on underneath or they could not swim at all and their entrance fee would be refunded.

My mother had not seen any notice of this rule in the dressing room nor at the entrance. They had no warning and were four hours' drive from home. To miss out on the swim would have been hugely disappointing.

If you like to swim in public pools, I recommend that you phone ahead to inquire about their swimwear rules. The new options in modest swimwear may not be permitted in your local pool.

Board shorts and rash vests are commonly accepted as regular swimwear these days, but I remember a time before the invention of these useful garments when certain outdoor pools required me to remove my t-shirt, which at that stage of my youth was worn for sun protection.

Don't get caught out! Be prepared! The world doesn't think in terms of modesty and is usually taken aback and unhelpful at any mention that it is important to you, so you have to be proactive in making life comfortable.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007


Pardon this dropping
Of a wail of despair,
For I did go shopping
But there was nothing there
That covered and enhanced me.
Hitched to here and plunged to there,
Stretching tight most everywhere.
I like to think it's not just pink
That flatters curves and straights of mine
And proves in truth I'm feminine.
I can be pretty, I can be smart,
When I learn the ancient, gentle art
Of beauty, elegance, and charm,
A woman's strength, a woman's balm,
The Gilead river that flows supine
From the modest lassy's Christ-owned heart.
So I'll start on a separate, sweeter line,
A clothing quest for a modesty nest
To inspire, equip, and beautify.
Let's make a start to mine the Art —
Boutique Narelle has much to impart!

What is Boutique Narelle?

Modest femininity doesn’t mean you have to dress like a frump, hiding all your curves. The curves are part of your femininity. Our Creator doesn’t require a burqa mentality in order to glorify Him with your body.

Recognizing this, Narelle Worboys set out to construct a wardrobe for herself that was elegant and simple, with flowing lines and pleasing form that wouldn’t date. In her journey toward modest elegance, she learned secrets that have made her clothes more attractive whilst retaining the comfort factor. Realizing that she could shorten this journey for others, the concept of Boutique Narelle was born.

Discovering Boutique Narelle to be a vision with wonderful scope, Genevieve Smith and B’Ethel Williams formed a founding committee with Narelle. We hope you will be as excited as we are at the possibilities. These include:

  • A reference resource of web links, books, and articles on topics such as modesty, sewing, and fashion.
  • NewCreations: a regionally indexed list of seamstresses and others with fashion skills whose services are available for hire. Advertising through Boutique Narelle will draw a 5% commission from your sales which will go toward funding the website. If you have fashion skills and would like to operate a business from home but maybe don’t have the technical expertise or finances to create your own website, here’s your chance to get started. Boutique Narelle aims to encourage entrepreneurs with a desire to clothe women appropriate to their faith and figure.
  • Sewing Tips: illustrated articles on garment construction and reconstruction.
  • Closet Tips: articles and photographs providing ideas for your wardrobe appropriate to your figure.
  • Shopping Tips: seasonal fashion review and store assessment.
  • Social Tips: articles exploring what it means to be modest and feminine, dressing to blend in whilst glorifying God, being stylish rather than trendy or modish.
  • Mirror Stop: a personal elegance checklist.
  • Seasonal Secrets: summer or winter, drip or dry, there are ways to improve the comfort, practicality, and elegance of your clothing.
  • Encouraging production of modest swimwear and bridal and maternity clothing.
  • Art of Appearance: networking people who can help; girls with skills in clothing and other aspects of a girl’s appearance (i.e. figure, hairstyles, makeup) who are willing to share their knowledge on a one-to-one basis or in a group situation.
  • Catalyst for group activities such as mall or savemart shopping ventures, fashion-to-figure wardrobe planning parties, design competitions and model makeover shoots (with rewards donated by stores who support our project), workshops in pattern drafting, sewing, and hair and makeup,seminars on modesty and deportment…

There are a number of excellent American websites that cater for parts of this vision, but we believe a centralized bureau with a focus on making these services accessible to Australians and New Zealanders will be of particular benefit.

We will not endeavour on this website to set out rules of must-do’s and shalt-not’s, but rather to stimulate your awareness of how your appearance gives either a negative or positive testimony to the Lord Jesus Christ and to assist you in modelling modesty in every situation of your daily life, allowing you, no matter what religious slant you hold, to find something at Boutique Narelle which you can use to enhance your dressing experience.

If you would like to be part of the NewCreations index or Art of Appearance network, send your details to KyriellePublishing(at)

We believe a foundation of prayer will be advantageous as we embark on this innovative project. If you’re excited about the Boutique Narelle concept and want to see it succeed, why don’t you place it on your prayer list?

If you have any comments or suggestions, please do email us at KyriellePublishing(at)

Monday, November 5, 2007

Who is Narelle?

Narelle (pronounced nah-REL) was born to David and Isabel Worboys in 1976 and lives with them in Dannevirke, New Zealand. The only child remaining at home, Narelle is the second of six who were all educated using the Accelerated Christian Education program. The family began homeschooling when Narelle was eight. Her father David founded and directed New Zealand Christian Academy, a homeschooling branch of A.C.E., for twenty years, recently retiring from education and devoting his time to multiple community service endeavours.

Narelle has had a chronic illness since she was nineteen, a condition which severely limits her physical activity and social life. Despite this, Narelle is amazed at what the Lord has done in and through her. She has continued to educate herself in a variety of subjects, including music, creative writing, film media, and how a needle, thread, scissors, two hands, and an active mind can work together productively. Fascinated by fashion and design, she loves playing with colour, shape, and texture, often worked out in little things like drawing detailed floral vignettes with coloured pencils and creating beautiful greeting cards from paper and ribbon.

She is a published novelist, playwright, poet, and photographer. In 2006 she founded Script Haven, a library of scripts and tips for students and parents/teachers preparing for A.C.E. Student Conventions. Also in 2006, she participated in “The Way of the Master” eight-week training course and discovered the ease and excitement of witnessing to non-believers the way Jesus did.

Separated for a number of years from her singing siblings, in 2007 she achieved her dream to sing again, making her public debut as a soloist at the Dannevirke Town Hall. She’s eager for opportunities to minister with her music. Between July and October she accompanied her father to local churches and clubs giving presentations about Operation Christmas Child, a mission she has embraced with a passion.

Her teddy bear’s name is Charlie (he attached himself to her in a store, after which, naturally, she had to bring him home). Her daily encouragement is a star-gazing polar bear named Oscar hanging on her wall. Her Mum is the woman she most admires in the world, her sisters are her best friends, she likes to sing very loud when there’s nobody to be disturbed ;), and chocolate ├ęclairs (with real chocolate) are her favourite celebration food. She loves telling stories, she recently discovered she can Cook, and she gets a big kick out of making people laugh. She knows a lot about waiting, having a heart full of big dreams accompanied by the knowledge that if these are entrusted to the Creator’s hands, they will come to pass in a way more beautiful than she could ever engineer.

Her prayer since the age of eighteen has been that the Lord will use her to transform young lives, that He would make her humble that she might communicate the quality of life that is consistent with the work of the Holy Spirit.

For more details about Narelle’s projects visit

Click on the picture to see it in a larger size. Other family pictures available at
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