‘He Can Weave a Beautiful Life Tapestry Out of Our Sorrows and Brokenness’: An Interview with Jody Koh, Dressmaker

Dear Friends

Happy New Year!

Have you ever wondered about God’s plan and purpose for you at your workplace, or place in life now? How can we view our work through the lens of our faith?

After bidding farewell to 2023, the beginning of a brand new year is an opportunity for us to take stock of the places we are called to love and serve Christ and others in 2024.

As our Church theme this year focuses on the Workplace, we have put together a series of short Q&A interviews with ordinary Wesleyans, like you and me, to hear about how they live out their faith in their vocations. In the Everyday Christianity: Faith@Work series, our brothers and sisters in Christ will share about how their objectives, decision making and interactions at work can be shaped by the gospel.

Through this series, we pray that you might be given a glimpse on how you can see your work as a ministry and part of your discipleship journey, how He can use your work for His glory.

May you be encouraged to be a salt and light for Him, wherever you are, in whatever you do.

In Christ,

Wesley TIDINGS team

For more information on the Church theme this year, please go to:


Jody Koh is a trained couturier and an all-around sewing expert. Whenever Wesley Methodist Church needs help with sewing costumes for a performance, or a tablecloth for the altar, staff and volunteers know they could always count on finding a trusted tailor in Jody. We are always assured that we can have a skilled pair of hands to bring those tailoring projects to fruition, especially when the tailor is as experienced, resourceful and creative as Jody. Jody was an invaluable help when our Church held our Christmas service at the Suntec expo hall in 2014 and she had responded to the call to sew the costumes for the key performers. Jody is the proud owner of a three-decade-old tailoring shop on Orchard Road, working alongside four staff. We’re sharing some of her nuggets of wisdom with you in the first issue of Everyday Christianity: Faith@Work.

Tell us your story, Jody.

I am the third child in a family of seven kids. I have been worshipping in Wesley for more than 30 years. I first came to know the Lord when the pastor of Foochow Methodist Church shared the gospel with me when I was still a youth. I am a trained couturier or a dressmaker who can design and tailor high end apparels for over 30 years. I am also a single mother of a 30-year-old son currently pursuing his PhD in France under a scholarship. I have been running my tailoring business at the same place since I first started my tailoring and alteration business. Over the last three decades, I have built up a steady stream of customers, some of whom have become my good friends, and their children are now coming to me to alter their clothes.

How did you discover your calling to be a dressmaker?

After I finished my secondary school education, one of the jobs I took up was sales at a high-end fashion boutique. It was during that time that I discovered my love for fashion. I love to help people dress up and look good. After the stint at the boutique, I decided to pursue a 5-year course in dressmaking. Before that, I had never even picked up a needle to sew anything.  Dressmaking wasn’t as simple as it looked but I developed a passion for it. I fell in love with sewing and decided to pursue it as a career. I now feel blessed to be able to go to work and do something I love every day.

What spiritual lessons have you drawn from your years as a dressmaker?

I see tailoring as a process of creating something beautiful. We can sew bits and pieces of fabric into a beautiful tapestry. Something that looks unfinished, raw or crude can be turned into something beautiful. Just like the process of God moulding us as His children. In tailoring and altering clothes for my customers, I have to use different techniques including hemming, lengthening, expanding, embellishing, re-designing, sewing, ironing. I also need to source for the right fabric, buttons, thread and other materials. It reminds me that God can do so much with us, but it can also be a lot of work to shape me. God can use whatever the world considers broken and ugly and make it beautiful and complete.

What are some of the challenges you face in your workplace?

In my line of work, I meet with all kinds of customers, some who like to insist things to be done their own ways. I learn self-control and patience and ask God for wisdom every day to deal with the demanding and indecisive customers. Occasionally, I get customers who do not pay me despite my repeated reminders, and I make the decision to let those go. Thankfully, such incidents have been few and far between. Managing the business is also not easy as there are many fixed costs like rental and staff salaries. I do feel burnt out and find my work meaningless at times. But I remember I must have faith and claim His promises.

The lowest point in my career was during the recent pandemic. I almost thought the business could not make it through because no one could go out to tailor or alter their clothes during the pandemic. I was worried about my son’s school fees as I had no income then. But God is good, His word and promises reminded me not to just wallow in anxiety and self-pity but to trust Him with all my heart. He sent me help through customers and friends who helped me sell the masks I made from remnant fabric. I donated some proceeds from sales of these masks to charitable organisations.

To add on to my worries during the pandemic, I was also diagnosed with Bell’s Palsy during that time. It is a medical condition that includes weakness on one side of the face and a drooping eyelid or corner of the mouth. I was attending an online Zoom class one day when I suddenly felt that my vision was not clear, which led me to the medical check up and subsequent diagnosis. It was a trying period for me but I relied on God’s words to get me through the lowest point in my work life. Before I knew it, the pandemic was over, and my business is now back to where it was.

What were those Words from the Lord?

After I was diagnosed with Bell’s Palsy, I met my Bible study teacher and she prayed Joshua 1:9 over me: Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go’. I also leaned in to this promise given by the Lord in Psalm 46:1: God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.’

In what ways do you share your faith at work?  

I see myself as having an important mission at work, because I am God’s ambassador in a workplace where I am the only Christian. I resolve not to be a Sunday pew warmer and endeavour to live every day like it’s a Sunday, by constantly focusing on God, worshiping and praising Him. I live out my faith by trying my best to be patient with my co-workers and customers, expressing my appreciation towards them, and to be accommodating when dealing with the occasional difficult customer. This verse from James 1:19-20 helps me: ‘Let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God’. 

I learned not to plan and do things based on my strength, leaning not on my own understanding, but to trust with all my heart and in all my ways to acknowledge Him.

Do you keep a rhythm incorporating regular Sabbath once a week?

I make it a point to worship at Church every Sunday. I also try my best to set aside a day each week to attend a Bible study class, as I believe it is very important to have solid spiritual food to nourish my soul. When I am very stressed, I would also use the time to talk to a friend, or sit in solitude at the Lord’s feet and pour out my problems to Him.

How do you destress?

I de-stress by going for walks. I am in my 60s now and I have slowed down a lot. I try not to think about the negative things that might affect me.

What are some of the ways you are serving in Church ministry?

I joined a parent support group when my son was in ACS (Junior), ACS (Barker) and ACJC. From there, I got to know good friends, some of whom I am still in touch with today. In church, I am active in helping with the Wesley food fair. Whenever I hear of a need for sewing projects to be done, like costumes for performances or table linen for the Church, I would also volunteer to contribute. Years later, I discovered my son also served migrant workers in the Kampong Kapor area. I am thankful that my serving had an impact on my son.

How do you draw close to God?

I try to listen to sermons and lessons online, I have a community of faithful Christian friends, and I pray and claim God’s promises daily. Attending BSF (Bible Study Fellowship) helped me understand the nature of God and our relationship with Him as our heavenly Father. I completed my BSF 15 years ago.

How have you seen God work in your life so far?

Through the years, I have learned to release my anxieties, pains, puzzles of life, and plans to the Lord and let Him lead me to His purpose. I haven’t had an easy life. However, looking back, I am grateful God has been there with me all the time, especially during the bad times. Even though I was very busy juggling responsibilities as a business owner and single mother, God has helped me to complete my BSF, a 7-year course, years ago. He had even sent a friend to drive my son and me to BSF weekly then.

No matter where we are or how broken we are, God can bring His grace and love into our lives. He can weave a beautiful life tapestry out of our sorrows and brokenness. I know this first-hand because I have experienced it.

Read also: Directions 2024 – Discipleship in the Workplace; Working From A Place of Rest

Photos: Pixabay

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