Tuesday, June 21, 2011


There are some words in the Amish language that I really have no clue how to translate. Mondli is one of them.

Rosy and Sunbeam were poking around in the attic yesterday and found my doll's mondli and wondered what it was. This is the explanation I had for them:

A mondli is something little girls in the more conservative Amish churches wear from the time of birth to six or seven years old when ever they go to church if it is cold or chilly. It's an awkward contraption. Basically a floor length sleeveless coat with a big cape type collar and buttons down the front from the collar all the way to your ankles.

Not only is it awkward, it's somewhat dangerous as well since your arms are trapped inside if you happen to stumble you couldn't regain your balance or put out your hands to protect yourself from the fall. Some of the nastiest tumbles I ever took involved wearing a mondli.

Rosy couldn't remember ever wearing her mondli since she was only two when we moved to an Amish community where little girls were free to wear coats. They were both glad to have been spared wearing them and I can't say that I blame them.


  1. We were in a store in Shipshewana Indiana and the girl was so polite and helpful to us. It was a knitting/quilting shop. She was in her late teens early 20's I imagine and wore a little black handkerchief on her head. It had a tiny black lace edging around it. Do you know? Was she Amish? We take one day trips there often. My daughter and I are a more quiet people and enjoy our one day trips there so much. It is our vacation week and we may even go back again to this wonderful town to enjoy watching the horse and buggies and having a treat at a place called The Bread Box.

  2. That sounds terribly dangerous. Thank God you moved! Blessings, Joanne

  3. Well, that's not very practical!

  4. That almost makes claustrophobic by thinking of having to wear something like that!

  5. I can imagine why they are happy they don't have to wear that.
    That is very dangerous for kids, if it involves a lot of falling down while wearing it !!
    Have a great day.

  6. The description of your mondli sounds like what the "English" would call a child's cape or poncho but,usually these are made with small holes at the sides for hands to pass through...and wouldn't be floor length...making them safer than the mondli....thanks for sharing ....I think its sweet that you have kept it.

  7. Hi there,
    I've been poking through your blog (and Following along) for about a week now, popping in whenever I can.

    I can't tell you how much I am enjoying it. I love your little stories and memories. :)

    Just thought that I would say hi.


  8. I am curious to see what a Mondli looks like - I tried googleing it but had no luck. Would you be ok with posting a photo of one? As always, your blog is one of my first stops in the morning. :)

  9. I think the closest translation or closest garment would be mantle. I've heard them called a mandlie growing up (around an Amish community) so it may have just been a distortion of the language. I plan to make some for my girls this winter, but they will only be to knee length, and with arm holes and a second elbow length "cape" to cover the arm holes and keep the breeze out.

    Here is a link to the style I'm going to make. The pattern website also calls it a Mandlie.


  10. What an odd thing for a child..

    I have really been enjoying your blog. I have a question and I am sorry if you already answered this or if it is too personal;

    What kind of fellowship do you and your family partake now? Obviously you still follow the Lord, I am interested because many times I read stories of former Amish, they choose vastly contrasted churches.

  11. I'm not surprised they're relieved not to have to wear them. I wouldn't want to wear one either!

  12. This would explain why I never saw little Martha's arms in the winter time! Scary thought, though for Martha was hearing and vision impaired and allowed to attend the public school where we had a class for these children. The poor little thing...I thought it was just a cape! When she got older, she wore a longer coat with sleeves. She was allowed to stay in school an extra year which was a surprise to us, but her parents respected and adored her teacher and was given special permission.

  13. Goodness, some of the things females are required to wear sound just plain mean to me! Pins? No arms? I wonder what the real basis of some of these traditions are.


Thank you so much for taking time to comment. I love hearing your thoughts.