Ecclesiastical Sewing: Reading for a Summer Road Trip
Summer road trips. It is that time of year for the long-awaited and greatly anticipated family road trip. The destination: Glacier National Park, with a few side trips along the way. With a ten-day trip and miles of roads between Minnesota and Montana, a little light reading was needed along the way. The problem with owning an ever-expanding Church Vestment library is which book(s) should be the selected to come along? Space is limited, so something compact would be a great option. Something related to current projects would also be helpful.
Bouncing along mountain roads and knowing there would be the frequent urge to take in the scenery – well, something light, and not to heavy or involved would help. After all, even the best of books that normally hold ones interest in Minnesota will fail to be interesting when the beauty of the Park beckons.
A first run through narrowed the list of Ecclesiastical Sewing and Ecclesiastical Embroidery books down to 20 or 30 books as possible companions for the journey. In the end, the final selection was this group.
These little gems were the winners selected to ride along in my computer case. They are a collection of books suitable to the topic of Sewing Church Altar Linens. Since I have been shrinking, pressing and cutting yards and yards of linens, and have been busily creating hand embroidery designs for altar linens, I thought it might be enjoyable to revisit many of these old favorites on the topic of making small church linens. The titles date from the late 1800’s through the 1980’s. They include familiar titles such as Altar Guilds by Lucy Vaughn Hayden Mackrille and Altar Linens by the Embroiderer’s Guild. Unfortunately, many of these titles are long out of print.
One thing that is interesting to note after reading the books over several times over the years, is that the sizes of small altar linens as well as the size of hems used on the linens, varies between authors and the time the books were written.
Of course, today, with many churches now having large square altars, the sizes of small altar linens must change to be proportional to the altar they serve. Other things vary as well. For instance, some sources say to never hemstitch small altar linens, and others encourage the use of hem stitching. So who is right and who is wrong? It all depends on your source of information.
For those who may be unfamiliar with altar linens, it might be helpful to review the pieces used during the Service of the Holy Communion, or the Eucharist. They are the Fair Linen, the Linen Corporal, the Pall, the Purificators, the Lavabo Towels, and for some churches, the Credence Cloth. The Chalice Veil is often made for silk or other fabrics to match altar hangings while a Post Communion Chalice Veil is made from a lighter weight linen such as linen lawn. Additional items for an altar include a Cere Cloth and a Protector or Dust Cover. And where a pastor or priest makes calls to shut-ins, a Sick Call Linen Set or a Private Linen Set is appropriate.
In the next few days, we will delve deeper into the topic of altar linens, reviewing descriptions of the various items. For now, the mountains are calling, as is a special side visit to a Grand Cathedral. So the books will have to wait patiently to see if there is a rainy day for some reading. For those of you traveling this 4th of July Holiday Weekend, I wish you all a safe and pleasant journey. Godspeed.
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 designs, church 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.