Whitework Ecclesiastical Embroidery Pattern

This past week I had the honor of helping a friend do some hand work on some very special linen pieces.  I’ll be sure to share the information about the project in a few days.  The project is steeped in history, and was a great deal of fun. And it happened just by chance…or perhaps it was meant to be.  But more on that later.

The fun part about Ecclesiastical Sewing is that the field is vast. There is a never-ending variety to the list of projects.  Whitework on linen makes up a large portion of the variety when it comes to sewing for the church. Yet it often gets overshadowed and neglected in the glitter and shine of gold and silk shading used in hand Ecclesiastical Hand Embroidery.

IHC Ecclesiastical Embroidery Pattern
IHC Ecclesiastical Embroidery Pattern

One of the challenges with doing whitework Ecclesiastical Embroidery is a lack of design variety.  The other challenge is knowing which hand embroidery stitches work well for whitework.

I have recently acquired a nice assortment of vintage Ecclesiastical Hand Embroidery Designs. Many of the patterns are over 130 years old. The designs are wonderful, but the image quality is very poor. Slowly over time, I hope to make some of these wonderful designs available for others to use for Ecclesiastical Embroidery.  The process is very long and time consuming to take the vintage patterns and clean them up in a computer program for use as a pattern hand embroidery pattern. When the topic of whitework came up and this design appeared from among the treasures of old this weekend, it moved to the top of the pile to get updated so it could be shared with others. It took the better part of the afternoon, but the end results are nice.

The above design is actually three vintage Ecclesiastical Embroidery Designs combined into one.  The lines are simple, and the design is suitable for whitework, but could also be used for gold and silk Ecclesiastical Embroidery.  Suitable embroidery stitches for whitework would include stem stitch, outline stitch, padded satin stitch for the letters, or outline stitch with seed stitch fill. Chainstitch is another commonly used stitch for whitework in Ecclesiastical Embroidery.

For those wishing to try the IHC design with gold and silk threads, the border could be worked with Japan Gold. The IHC letters could be padded in the center and worked with purl-pearl, bullion, or check thread cut to length. Once the center of the letters was complete, they could be outlined with gold twist #3 or a similar thread. The flowers could be satin stitched in colors and the dots at the ends could be tiny spangles.

The design is a vector drawing, so it should be easy to adjust the size up or down. This would be suitable for use on a pall, or other linens. For vestments, it could be used on a stole, burse or as a Bible marker  for a few ideas.  The IHC could be replaced with an Alpha Omega, Chi Rho, Mariam symbol, or Cross.  But please remember, this is a Vintage Design. That means, with many designs from ages past, there are imperfections.  The designs are not always as perfectly symmetrical as are the modern designs. These were all drawn by hand. There were variations; and yet despite the lack of perfect symmetry, the designs are still lovely and would stitch up perfectly fine. Just be sure to understand the differences, discrepancies, and consider that part of the beauty.

I hope you enjoy this  hand embroidery design: 0001 IHC in Diamond Frame.

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. Sing 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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