Helpful Church Vestment Books

As time goes on, my library of Church Vestment books has grown, or rather multiplied.  When I get asked a question, I often know I have read something about a topic, but it can be a challenge to find the exact book or resource for the information on basic vestment making details or definition and descriptions of liturgical vestments.

As the years go on, there are a few books that have become special, and are often the authority on Ecclesiastical Vestments.  The resource which I select depends to a great extent on the information needed.  If I am in need of a definition or description on an obscure vestment or liturgical item, Augustus W. Pugin’s book Glossary of Ecclesiastical Ornament and Costume  is often the first resource selected.  There are a few other obscure titles that might fill in the missing gaps if information can not be found in Augustus Pugin’s book.

When it comes to vestment making details, the list of resources is a bit broader.  Some frequently used books for instructions on vestment making include several titles from Beryl Dean, Hinda Hands, and Lucy Vaughan Hayden Mackrille. The books written by these authors are some of my favorite Church Vestment Making resources.  The books contain a great deal of information, but also assume a “level of knowledge.”  Sadly what they were able to assume was common knowledge from the era in which the wrote has now been lost.  When looking for information within these books, one sometimes has to look about all of them.  Each may have a tiny portion of knowledge, that when everything is pieces together, it makes a sightly more detailed picture of the process.

There is one additional set of resources that often gets overlooked, and should be pulled off the shelves more regularly. The books consist of a set of six titles published by the Embroiderer’s Guild back in the 1950’s and 1960’s and following. Each book in the series covers a set of topics such as  Canvas Work, Vestments, and so on. The books are small, but contain useful information.  They are easy to use, as their size limits extraneous  details.  So when I know I have a specific Vestment and I need to know the details of construction, these are some of my most favorite titles to use for reference.

So, how about you? Do you have any favorite titles on the subject of Vestments or Vestment Making?

Solo Dei Gloria

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  1. Have none of these books, but love to read your blog-Elizabeth Morgan recommended you.Please, when making a superfrontal, silk/viscose and 10 oz. canvas for interfacing, do you sew these and lining together and turn, or insert canvas? Yours in pics hang so taut and true. I have made Anglican vestments for a year or so now, and have designed a new group of brightly coloured, embroidered clergy shirts for women. these are my first altar sets. Any helpful suggestions appreciated. Thanks, Angela.


    • Hi Angela,
      If you have the instructions for Elizabeth’s Pulpit falls, I follow the construction techniques from that to a certain extent. But I have a few tricks that I now use to ensure the frontals are flat and smooth. Some vestment makers I know use a spray adhesive. It might work for some, but I prefer a bit more hand work. I do not follow any of the tradition methods of sewing where things are stitched and turned. I am in the process of trying to write instructions for making a frontal, and have some upcoming travels that will prevent the completion of the instructions for a while. I will try to do a few posts in the next few weeks to give a brief understanding of the process, and continue to work on the final draft. A big issue has been poor lighting for the photography.

      I will try to get a few posts up over the next few weeks to give a brief overview of the process, and I will try to complete the frontal book soon.


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