Shimmering Fabrics and How to Use Them

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Shimmering Fabrics and How to Use Them

Shimmering Fabrics and How to Use Them:

Church Vestment Fabric Bramfield Silk Damask
Bramfield Liturgical Silk Damask

Shimmering Fabrics

There is nothing that grabs our attention more than something shiny. That glint and glimmer are sure to catch our glance, make us stop, and take a look. Sometimes shiny objects can be a distraction, and sometimes they can make us pause and wonder what is going on.  Shining objects are always guaranteed to capture our attention.

Gold Evesham Brocatelle Fabric
Evesham in soft lighting

Gold Brocatelle Fabrics that shimmer

Today I spent some time looking at shiny objects. To be more specific, shiny, glimmering liturgical fabrics for used in making church vestments. I have a special event coming up over the Holidays, and now is the time to start thinking about the project. The project is intended for use during the Christmas Season.  The ideas are in the beginning stages.  My first thoughts are of colors: white and gold.  Christmas is a Festival time, so the use of white is a must, and combining gold is perfectly fine. Thankfully that is settled.  The next thought is budget.  The options are a silk base fabric with gold orphrey trim or an ivory/gold metallic fabric. At this point, either will work for the budget.

After the budget, the next thoughts are on the design. It is Christmas, and Nativity comes to mind.

Nativity Ecclesiastical Embroidery Design byJohn D. Sedding 1874
Nativity Ecclesiastical Embroidery Design by John D. Sedding 1874

Christmas Embroidery Designs

I have a lovely Nativity Design that has a prick-and-pounce pattern ready to go. I like this and it might be an option, but there is no time, even with starting now, to hand embroider an altar frontal for Christmas. There may be time to have a design digitized for machine embroidery, so that option will have to be explored.  While this design, or a variation thereof, might work for the altar frontal, other designs will be needed to coordinate with this for the super frontal, pulpit fall and matching stole. Looks like it is time to get out a sketch pad, or get a design into the computer to modify. Somehow, angels might have a part in this set as well. A few are hovering around the sewing room these days (that is in books).

The design, or rather, how the design works out, will be the big deciding factor for everything else going forward on this project. Time is the other issue. The design has to be workable in a “fast” way. Thankfully, another design was created last spring, that will work well as a part of this set.  As I move through the design process, I will try to keep you updated on where the project is at.  Thankfully, there are four months, and I will need every one of them to complete this on time.

Solo Dei Gloria

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St. Hubert Liturgical Fabrics

White and Gold for Easter and Christmas

Creating Orphrey Bands for Church Vestments

Red and Gold Liturgical Brocade Fabrics

Liturgical Fabrics – Red Wakefield Brocatelle

The Christmas Rose

Liturgical Fabrics


  1. So where did you find this amazing and ancient architectural drawing from 1874? That’s amazing, especially with the paint daubs, which were obviously used to determine what colors to use. Is this original in your keeping? Wow!

    • Hi Shannon,
      Yes, I do have this original, as well as several others by the same architect, John D. Sedding, in my possession at the moment. They were a rare find that I happened to stumble upon. The designs were from a monastery that had an art needlework department that eventually closed. Some of the designs in the collection are quite large.

      The little daubs of color are actually little samples of embroidery floss glued to the design, intended for color direction. Beside each swatch of embroidery floss is a notation of where and how to incorporate the colors. That was the beauty of the architects from the mid to late 1800’s. They provided specific instructions for everything. It would be really fun to come across a vintage piece of embroidery from one of the designs some day.

      Best regards,