Chalice Veil Cross Applique

All sewing is a series of steps, worked in a certain order, with the goal of obtaining a finished project. For the past few posts on Ecclesiastical Sewing, we have been going through the steps of making a chalice veil.  This can be one of the most simple items to make when sewing for the church, but as in all sewing, much depends upon finely executed details. The basic parts to a chalice veil are the face fabric, and the lining.

Chalice Veil
Chalice Veil

Most often a cross is needed for the front, placed in the center of the lower third of the fabric.

 

Pre-made cross appliques in rayon and metallic
Pre-made cross appliques in rayon and metallic

One simple way to handle adding the cross to the chalice veil is to purchase a ready-made cross applique. There are many resources available for purchasing a cross applique.  The trick to having the pre-made applique look nice when attached is “in the details.” One could simple stitch the cross applique in place, and hope for the best. Or one could take a tip from the pages of a vestment maker and “couch” the applique in place.

Cross Applique and Gold Twist Thread
Cross Applique and Gold Twist Thread

The process of “couching” an applique in place requires a few special items.  The thread in the above photo is a #3 Gold twist. This is a “very nice” gold twist with a Gilt finish. The Gilt finish means there is a tiny amount of real gold in the threads.  That small amount of gold adds a depth of shimmer and shine that metallic thread can not match.  There are many sizes and types of twist available from various resources such as Hedgehog Handworks and Tanja Berlin.

Gold Twist and Applique
Gold Twist and Applique

The twist has to be in proportion to the size of the applique. If the twist is too small, it will end up looking out-of-place, or getting lost and not showing up at all.

Couching Gold Cross in place with Gold Twist
Couching Gold Cross in place with Gold Twist

The gold twist is placed at the edge of the applique, and a stitch in taken to hold the twist next to the applique. Come up at an angle just to the outside of the twist, go across the twist, and take a tiny stitch into the edge of the applique. As the thread is being pulled to the back side.

Tyre silk, Krienik Japan Thread size 1, Soie 100/3 color 241: threads used for couching goldwork
Tyre silk, Krienik Japan Thread size 1, Soie 100/3 color 241: threads used for couching goldwork

There is a wide variety of thread that will work for the couching stitches. One could even use a contrasting thread in a black, red,  or other color to offer a little variety.

Metallic Gold Cross and Gold Twist Thread for Couching
Metallic Gold Cross and Gold Twist Thread for Couching

Continue working your way around the applique.  Before starting to couch the applique in place, think about how you might start and stop the couching stitches. Is it possible to tuck the ends neatly under the edge of the applique? Or will you need to over cast and end and butt two ends together?

Couching Gold Cross in place with Gold Twist
Couching Gold Cross in place with Gold Twist

Take extra care when working around corners to ensure the couching threads fit and molds to the corner angles.

Finished Example of Metallic Gold Cross Stitched in Place with Couching Stitches
Finished Example of Metallic Gold Cross Stitched in Place with Couching Stitches

Here is the finished cross couched in place.  The couching creates a little extra detail at the edge of the applique, and fills that bit of space where the applique might sit up a little higher on the fabric and leave a gap at the edge.

The same techniques of couching can be used with machine embroidered emblems and goldwork appliques.  The cross appliques are available in a variety of sizes and colors, from tiny for use at the neckline of a stole, to medium sizes.

So for those who might be more of a seamstress or tailor, and less of an embroiderer; or when time will not allow for a hand embroidered cross, this creates a nice way to add detail to a Chalice Veil or other Ecclesiastical Vestment without embarking on a major embroidery project.

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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