Ecclesiastical Fabric Pattern Repeats

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Ecclesiastical Fabric Pattern Repeats

Perhaps you have thought about Ecclesiastical Sewing, or about making an Ecclesiastical Vestment or Altar Hanging, or even a chasuble.  You have done a little reading and searching online, and think, “Yes, I can do this.” Everything is moving along nicely until you get to the point of ordering the special Ecclesiastical Fabric. It is then you notice something called “Pattern Repeats.”  You hesitate a moment and read timidly on.  One fabric has a 3″ pattern repeat. Which does not sound too bad. The next fabric has a 17 1/2″ pattern repeat.

Things are starting to get a little scary here.  Scrolling down the page, a stunningly beautiful fabric catches your eye and it says 27″ Pattern Repeat. You stop dead in your tracks. The immediate response is, “Nope. I can’t do this.”  These two little words “Pattern Repeat” followed by a big number can often put the brakes on any plans for Ecclesiastical Sewing and Vestment making

The fear of the unknown sinks in. Questions start filling the mind such as,  “How could I ever figure out the yardage needed for a 27″ pattern repeat, and if I could, how would I ever figure out how to cut everything out without making a mistake?” Questions of the unknowns multiply until……..The project dies a short, quick, disappointingly painful death. The desire is there, but the fear of not completely knowing or understanding how to deal with pattern repeats overwhelms and wins out.

Rose Florence Ecclesiastical Brocade from UK, Fabric Pattern Repeats
Rose Florence Ecclesiastical Brocade from the UK

Understanding the Pattern Repeat

Let’s take a few moments to demystify the pattern repeat of an Ecclesiastical Fabric. Let’s start with a beautiful fabric that is a little bit complicated, but not difficult. This lovely Ecclesiastical Brocade comes from the UK. The pattern name is Florence and the color is Rose.  This fabric is designed for Ecclesiastical Sewing. Is NICE. It hangs well, has the correct weight, it cuts well with the pattern repeat.  It is made to last for many years, provided care is taken when designing, sewing, using, and storing the Ecclesiastical Vestment pieces. 

This is a favorite Ecclesiastical Brocade Fabric. It comes in a nice range of traditional Ecclesiastical Colors to work within the Church year. This is also one of the few Ecclesiastical brocade fabrics available in the Rose Color which is used on Gaudete and Laetare Sundays during the seasons of Advent and Lent. Notice in the above photo there are two motifs.

Fabric Motif

Florence Brocade Star Motif, Fabric Pattern Repeats
Florence Brocade Star Motif

This motif is like a 4-pointed floral star with a stylized flower in the center.

Stylized Floral Motif, Fabric Pattern Repeats
Stylized Floral Motif

The motif above that has a central 4 petal flower with flowers on the four sides and leaf variations on the diagonal corners.

Florence Brocade Pattern Repeat
Florence Brocade Pattern Repeat

In the above photo, the same floral motifs are visible as before, but there is one additional floral motif.

Tiny Floral Motif with Eight Petals
Tiny Floral Motif with Eight Petals

This is the Octagon floral motif which is surrounded by 4 tiny motifs that almost look like Fleur-De-Lis. The other notable design detail is the two large leaves which have a beautiful curve at one end and a flower with 5 fanned petals at the opposite end. There are four of these large floral and leaf motifs which surround the other three smaller design elements.

Measuring Pattern Repeat
Measuring Pattern Repeat

Design Placement and Cutting

To determine the pattern repeat, select a point on a motif and follow along until you come to the very same point on the next identical motif.  From the starting point of one motif to the exact same point on the next motif is one pattern repeat. In the case of the Florence Brocade, the pattern repeat is 14 1/2″ for the lengthwise pattern repeat.  The beauty of the Florence Brocade is that it has the exact same 14 1/2″ pattern repeat across the width of the fabric. This makes the fabric “easy” to deal with in terms of the pattern repeat. It is a large repeat, but not too large. The repeat does not become complicated by differing on the cross grain. This repeat also makes this fabric a dream when it comes to centering design motifs, cutting, and seaming.

Later on, we will look at a more complicated pattern repeated on an Ecclesiastical Tapestry Fabric.

It’s time I was off and working with this lovely Rose Ecclesiastical Brocade Fabric, planning which motif will be in the center focal point of the altar frontal.  Best wishes on working with you Ecclesiastical Fabrics.

Solo Dei Gloria

Be sure to visit our online store front Ecclesiastical Sewing where you may shop for Liturgical Fabrics, altar linen fabrics, church vestment-making patterns, liturgical machine embroidery designschurch vestment trims and notions and so much more. You may also find us on  Ecclesiastical Sewing on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Sign up for our mailing list at the bottom of the page on our online store front and receive a free copy of our Small Linens Booklet as our way of saying thank you for following along.

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