Vintage Church Vestment Surprise

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Vintage Church Vestment Surprise

Vintage Church Vestment Surprise: Last week I had the pleasure of taking a short Holiday in Florida. The trip combined a bit of Ecclesiastical Sewing Business with a bit of pleasure and relaxation. A friend had kindly suggested I take a tour of the St. Leo Monastery located north of the Tampa area, and it was a delightful place to visit. Two copes were must-see for the visit, and we will get to those in time. But there were also a few other church vestment treasures that caught my eye.

Burse and Maniple

Treasures from the Past

The monastery has a small reception or waiting room off to the side of the chapel which had several display cases with assorted altar serving items and vestments. Naturally, the textiles drew my immediate attention. I noticed the lower shelf had an older maniple and framed burse. I’m taking a guess that the framed item is a burse. It is a square item, and it has the center cross with the gallon edging, but I could be wrong.

There were no markings regarding this item as to date or when they were in use at the monastery. One could guess the age as being from the early part of the last century or earlier, or there might be an archive that tells when the monastery may have received them. Fair to say, they are treasures from past days. The items have bullion fringe, which was heavily used on vestments of long ago.

Maniple with bullion fringe

I must apologize for the image quality of the photos. The items were in a glass case, and there was a window that had the full radiance of the sun streaming in, making it nearly impossible to get a few good shots. In looking at the above photo one can see the beauty of the galloon trim with the dots used for the floral center. As I look closer at this fabric, there is something familiar about it – even in this tiny corner shot.

Cross motif from galloon Vintage Church Vestment

Gallon Trim Cross Designs

Many vestments from days gone by (and some still made today) featured a cross made from galloon trim placed at the end of stoles, maniples, or other vintage church vestments. There were many ways of creating these gallon crosses, with this being one of the simple designs. Other cross designs had diagonal folded corners at the center that all matched up. This maniple has the galloon trim applied across the lower edge and along the sides. Do you see what I see yet about this lovely little antique vestment? If not, let’s keep looking. You’ll get it!

The lighting that day captured the fabric as black and gold in the photographs, but it is not really a black fabric. Unfortunately, I can’t tell you its true color because I was too busy battling the bright sunshine and feeling frustrated that I could not capture the real color. So, yes, I need to go back and review that section under lighting on capturing color correctly.

Cross motif from galloon, Vintage Church Vestment

Ecclesiastical Fabric

Does this fabric look familiar to you yet? If not, here is a clue – look at the arrow at the top of the photo which is pointing to a distinctively tell-tale motif. For those of you who adore Ecclesiastical Fabrics, this might be looking a bit familiar  – maybe. It is a favorite of mine, and I have used it many times in the past.  Should we give another clue?

Cross motif from galloon, Vintage Church Vestment

How about this? Does it look familiar?  That’s right! Wakefield is the liturgical fabric used in the antique vestments from St. Leo’s Monastery. As one compares the two fabrics, there are some very slight differences in the way the pattern was set up for each. But nonetheless, it is Wakefield.  So, now it would be even more interesting to have a date for the piece and to trace it back to see if the fabric was woven at M. Perkins and Sons long ago.

Wakefield Liturgical Fabric, Vintage Church Vestment

Vintage Vestment

One other item of interest to note is that the motif is not centered on the maniple. The fabric pattern is slightly off-center, but the overall impression of the piece is important, rather than the one small detail. One can see vestments from a distance, and unless someone is looking closely, it would never be noticeable from 4 or 5 rows back, and certainly not from the back of the sanctuary. I admit I would find it difficult to cut a vestment off-center with the fabric pattern, but if I were running short of either fabric or money in the vestment budget, this would be an option.

While my focus has been vestments from St. Leo’s Monastery, there are also other items to be enjoyed, such as the chalice and missal stand. There are also some lovely croziers available for viewing.

I hope you are enjoying this travel adventure with Ecclesiastical Sewing. Thanks for reading along.

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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