RP offers physical description of current temple garments.

Nov 11, 1981
News (traditional)
Ronald Priddis

Ronald Priddis, "The Development of the Garment." Seventh East Press 1 (November 11, 1981), 5

Seventh East Press
Renee Thackeray, Ronald Priddis, Beehive Clothing Mills, J. Willard Marriott, Heber J. Grant
BYU students

The original garment was composed of two pieces, according to a BYU religion professor who has done research on the subject. lt consisted of an undershirt with a collar, and “drawers.” The collar was removed during the administration of Heber J. Grant. When knit, one-piece underwear became popular, the garment also became one-piece. According to a Church employee involved in the decision-making process, the Church has returned to a two-piece garment, not because of fashion trends, but due to considerations of modesty and taste. The back-side flap, which was a necessary part of the one-piece garment, was neither attractive nor effective in covering the back side of the body. With thread-bare pants or an unintentionally sheer dress, the problem became accentuated. First aid considerations did not weigh heavily in making the decision.

Another recent development is the availability of a mesh garment. The fabric used in making this style of garment was first developed in Brazil where the warm weather makes this fabric attractive. Beehive Clothing Mills, which manufactures the LDS garment, obtains this fabric from Winkler Knit in New York. The president of the company, Bro. Guilde, was converted to the Church by J. Willard Marriott. Beehive Clothing Mills works closely with a number of major clothing manufacturers in the United States, including Keystone Nature Textiles (Vanity Fair), Munsingwear, Stedmann, and Chaunson. The first garment panty for women manufactured by Beehive Clothing is based on a Vanity Fair pattern, with extended legs.

Representatives from Beehive Clothing meet often with designers to consult about new fabrics and designs. The designers are shown examples of current garment fashions and asked for suggestions. Beehive Clothing also has a very professional research laboratory. “We are always looking for new and better ways to make the garment more comfortable,” says a Church executive.

When a new fabric or design is invented, it is taken to the Presiding Bishop’s Office and then to the First Presidency for approval. Members of the Church hierarchy wear proposed garments before making a decision as to their acceptance. At one time, there was a committee that aided in making these decisions. The committee was made up of General Authorities, the Church Relief Society President, a representative from the Temple Committee, an executive from Beehive Clothing, a retail merchant, and educational advisors. The committee was disbanded in order to expedite the decision-making process. An occasional ad hoc committee is formed when special problems arise.

Members of the Clothing and Textiles Department at BYU are helpful in providing Beehive Clothing with data. Renee Thackeray has been involved in measuring body sizes in Guatemala for garment patterns. “The people there tend to be high-busted and flat-fannied,” said Thackeray.

Beehive Clothing is responsive to retail sales. They would reportedly like to phase out the Bemberg fabric, which is imported from Japan. But they won’t as long as it remains a popular fabric. The mill guarantees garments against shrinking, loose seams, and other flaws. The company is said to have an excellent quality control lab. The production hall itself exhibits the latest in clothing manufacturing equipment, including computerized pattern- makers and cutters. They will soon be making their own elastic. Pre-arranged group tours are given with no prohibition against non- members.

A representative of Beehive Clothing says that periodically members will design and sew a prototype garment they consider an improvement on the design. The mill welcomes this and any other suggestions members may have.

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