30 Amish Seamstresses Help Power This Women’s Clothing Company

Farmhouse Frocks is a Millersburg, Ohio clothing company run by an Amish-raised woman named Lena Schlabach and her daughters. Though Lena is no longer Amish herself, Amish women are key to this business, which makes plus-sized garments and other clothing. From Root and Vine News (hat tip to DBK):

From the beginning, Farmhouse Frocks has partnered with Amish seamstresses to design and make the clothes sold in their shop. Amish are committed to living a simple life removed from the distractions and temptations of the world. Amish women are traditionally homemakers and often don’t have a job outside of the house; the relationship with Farmhouse Frocks empowers Amish women to do work they are proud of and bring home a paycheck to help supplement their family’s income.

Photo by Lena Schlabach

Lena’s business has a heavy Amish presence, including her sister, who is Amish herself:

The partnership between Amish seamstresses and the store is very relational. Lena grew up Amish and speaks Dutch, the primary language spoken in the large Amish community in and surrounding Millersburg. Lena’s sister, who is Amish herself, is the store’s pattern designer. Each week, the store places their new orders with the 30 Amish seamstresses employed by Farmhouse Frocks. Later in the week, since the Amish don’t drive, the company car goes around to pick up clothes. As a result, there’s an intimate and familiar bond formed between the employees at the store and the seamstresses.

Lena’s comments reveal that not all Amish women are that fond of sewing, as some might think. That’s important to who she hires:

“I love the quality of their work,” Lena says. “Their work is really trustworthy.” It isn’t just about the quality of the work, though. Many Amish women can sew, but do they actually like to sew? That important question influences Lena’s hiring process. Pairing people’s passion with their strengths is a key element to Lena’s overall business operations. If a team member is hired for a role that isn’t actually their strength, Lena and her daughters strive to find the right spot for that person to be able to do what they’ re good at and what they love.

Farmhouse Frocks also helped produce a lot of masks this year, partnering with 14 local Amish upholstery and woodworking shops to make over 100,000 of them (update: apparently the business has closed as of 2023).

Get the Amish in your inbox

Join 15,000 email subscribers. No spam. 100% free

    Similar Posts

    Leave a Reply to Leslie Harris Cancel reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    8 Comments

    1. Label

      Love the label and ‘care’ instructions – that is beautiful and reflects the author and giver of life, Who enables these women to contribute to a wonderful product – just wish I lived somewhat closer – half a world away makes for huge postage costs 🙂
      Stay safe
      Blessings
      Maxine

    2. Leslie Harris

      30 Amish Seamstresses Help Power This Women’s Clothing Company

      Nice story. 🙂

      What struck me as interesting is a group of Amish women (and an Amish sibling) working with someone who was Amish, but isn’t any longer. Maybe their group doesn’t practice shunning? Just wondering…

      1. Lydia Good

        Shunning

        Leslie, it may be that the sibling that isn’t Amish never joined the Amish church. In that case, they are not shunned, unless the district is very strict about shunning. It also depends on the family. Many Amish families have children who never joined the church and are always welcome in the homes of the family, including their parents. My dad couldn’t wait until I got my drivers license when I left the Amish. Then he had a personal chauffeur for the rest of his life.

        1. Lydia your comment made me smile 🙂 Leslie that is probably the case – I read it that she had never joined the church. But even if she had and were excommunicated, Amish in some communities (including a good chunk of Holmes County where this story is based) practice a milder form where the discipline part is revoked under certain conditions (eg, after a certain amount of time, and the person joins a similarly minded church). Some just have a milder approach to the practice.

          But again, since the text said Lena “grew up Amish”, I tend to understand that as the person had an Amish childhood and youth but never was baptized. That’s not necessarily the case, but had it read that she “left the Amish church”, I would probably interpret that differently.

    3. Lydia Good

      Wonderful idea

      I have no doubt in my mind that my dear Amish mother would have bought her dresses at this store if there had been one in Lancaster County in her day. Just like when she discovered the laundry in Lancaster sometime in the 1950’s. We would take the bus from New Holland to Lancaster and drop off her bags of white shirts that my 4 brothers and dad wore on Sunday. The next week we would pick them up, all clean and white and starched. And the shirts were ironed so lovely. I HATED ironing all those white shirts. It wasn’t quite as large a chore after she bought one of those newfangled gas irons.

    4. Aj

      Hopefully, the Pittsburgh Gazette doesn’t learn about this business. They’ll claim it’s another example of abuse among the Amish and a form of slavery.

    5. Can I get a bra made?

      I don’t like spending a lot of money on bras thet are all made in China and made with rayon. I want new bras made in cotton. How can I get in touch with an Amish or prior Amish seamstress? You have my email. Thank you, I live reading your articles.
      Most Sincerely,

      Patty Moore pattymoore1211@gmail.com

    6. Wool or alpaca fabric purchase robe

      Will you help me find & purchase this wool alpaca or sheep material in this color pattern combination & find an Amish seamstress to make my robe garment ? Send me an email so I can attach pics of what I require.

      Thank you
      Kristholtz7885@gmail.com