Black Evesham Church Vestment Fabric Orphrey
Over the past several weeks, we have been working through matching patterns on the Red Lichfield Liturgical Church Vestment Fabric. I have really enjoyed working with Lichfield. I feel very blessed every time I work with lovely liturgical church vestment fabrics, yet working with Lichfield on the current project has a blessing. For starters, the pattern repeat on Lichfield is a “user-friendly” pattern repeat. The scale of the design motifs are neither too small, nor too large, making it a nice choice for altar frontal, pulpit falls, and chalice veils, as well as for stoles, chasubles, and other vestment items. And if that were not enough, there is the color: RED. Red is such a striking color, and the church uses red for days that call for impact, those mainly being Pentecost, and in reformed churches such as many branches of the Lutheran Church, red is the color used to celebrate the Protestant Reformation.
For those who might be new to Ecclesiastical Sewing, or joining us for the first time, you will find the blog posts are written my myself (Carrie), and my lovely and talented daughter Ashley. Ashley will be writing more about the Reformation in the coming weeks, so I will leave that with her as that is her area of expertise. So while we await more information on the Reformation, let us explore the options available to make this lovely red liturgical fabric into a Reformation Church Vestment Set.
Red is a strong color, and in the church, red is used on festival days, such as Pentecost, and in some churches, Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, and to mark certain saint days. Red is also the color used to celebrate the Reformation within Protestant Churches. Most churches only have one set of red church vestments to mark the celebration of these various church holidays. The most common color of red would be a bright Pentecost red. Budget is certainly a concern, and many churches simple can not afford to have more that one set of red vestments for use on each holiday where red is used, and that is a shame, because the Holy Days which call for the use of red are very different in their celebrations. But what if a different set of vestments could be used on Sundays where the celebrations mark such important events in the life of the church? Imaging the aid to teaching and understanding that could come with the careful and thoughtful use and making of unique church vestments and altar hangings with symbols designed for the specific festival? Can specific designs be created for a major celebrations to aid the work of the Pastor or Priest as they work to shepherd and teach their flocks? This has been something that I have pondered for quite some time. I have visited with many of my dear friends who are ministers within the church for suggestions and ideas, and now those ideas are ready to take shape and form.
All ideas must have a starting point as the come to life. The idea begins with Lichfield, in the red. It could stand on its own, but what if it were paired with something else? Let us begin by finding a companion for use with the Red Lichfield Fabric? Red has certain colors that it pairs well with, and the Reformation was begun be strong leaders, so this design will also call for something that will convey that thought. I chose a strong and bold color: black. Black and red capture attention. And it is my hope that the finished vestments in the Reformation Church Vestment Set will do the same.
The fabric above is Evesham, but this time it is a silk damask, and not the metallic Evesham which is always a favorite. Evesham, which is made from silk fibers, comes in two different pattern scales: a large size pattern, and a asmall pattern. With two sizes of scales of patterns to select from, a tough decision had to be made as to which to use. The answer is: both. This project will combine the use of both the large and small pattern of Evesham. And I hope it will work.
This photo shows the large Evesham being marked for cutting into wide column orphrey bank, and it is a large pattern. The smaller scale Evesham will be used for the machine embroidery designs that will later be applied to the larger Evesham orphrey. It will also be used for orphrey bands on smaller vestments such as the pastoral stole.
Once the orphrey band is cut, the centers are matched and it is basted to the base fabric using long stitches, or tailor basting. Some may ask why tailor baste instead of using a fast technique such as spray adhesive, or fusible web. The answer lies in the quality and type of fabric being used for making the vestments. There are times when using fusible web or spray adhesive works well when putting layers of fabrics together. I frequently use those techniques for many church vestment projects.
But the Black Evesham fabric is a silk damask, and the thought of spraying adhesive on an expensive silk fabric is well, unthinkable. Expensive fabrics deserve special treatment, and these garments are, after all, being used for the highest of purposes within the church. So, are they not worth the little extra care and attention that hand basting gives?
Starting in the chasuble center front (or center back), match up the orphrey band’s center line with the chasuble center. Pin the orphrey band in place. Then, using a long strand of thread, make rows of tailor’s basting along the center line. Continue, working the tailor basting in rows toward the edges. Once the orphrey is in position, the gallon or trim can be added. Another alternative is to apply the galloon or trim to the orphrey first, and then tailor baste everything in position. The reason for basting the orphrey in position is to keep the fabric from shifting or shrinking up when the layers are stitched together. The rule of thumb is to “ease” the orphrey to the base fabric. This is a lesson which I have learned the hard way. When making a frontal years ago, I “stretched the orphrey band to the base fabrics, and then stitched. Think about that for a moment an upper layer was stretched to fit the lower layer. Once the orphrey band relaxed, it “pulled” the base fabric in with it, causing it too to relax. Everything puckered! It was a disaster!
Now, if I had an embroidery machine, I would work the embroidery design on orphrey band prior to beginning this entire process. But at the moment I do not own an embroidery machine. But, there are always around such things. The Luther Rose embroidery design was stitched to the small Evesham fabric, and then applied to the larger orphrey. It was couched in place with a gold twist thread.
And this completes the front of the chasuble. Half done! and the other half to go. This chasuble is a test pattern which we hope to have in production as a finished pattern for those of you interested in making a chasuble for your own church, pastor, priest, or worship community. So, what are your thoughts on the embroidery design and fabric combinations? Have your say!
Soli Deo 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.