Liturgical Brocades Used for Church Vestments and Historical Costumes
Liturgical Brocades, Damasks, Tapestry, and Brocatelle Fabrics used for Historical Period and Renaissance Costumes
Ecclesiastical Sewing carries a complete line of what might be described as luxurious textiles with pedigrees that are unmatched in terms of design, color, fiber content, and quality. Our Liturgical Brocade Fabrics have been designed and woven by the same company in the United Kingdom for over 140 years. The patterns used in many of the Liturgical Brocade and damask fabrics come from historic sources such as paintings, frescoes, or paintings of vintage textiles. The top designers of the late 1800’s , such as Sir Ninian Comper, created a number of the fabric patterns that are still in production today.
Over the past several years at Ecclesiastical Sewing, we have shared photos of church vestments made with fabrics such as Fairford Brocade and Silk Dupioni. The liturgical fabrics are made with fibers that are rich, with high thread counts. These fabrics are made, as were the traditional fabrics of bygone days, to withstand the rigors of hand embroidery as well as machine embroidery.
Brocades work well combined with complimentary fabrics, as well as with silk dupioni. The above photo features completed stoles which will soon be available for purchase through our online store. These wonderful liturgical church vestment fabrics are woven in deep rich colors with the intent that they be visible, even when a church may have dark woodwork or poor lighting. One way to aid visibility is to use strong contrasts of light and dark, or solid colors with gold accents.
Let us take a moment and look at the St. Margaret Brocade in the rich black/gold combination. St. Margaret features two main design elements: the Tudor Rose
and the Crown. These symbols have been used historically by the church and in heraldry. St. Margaret Liturgical Brocade is a religious church vestment fabric that is suitable for making entire vestments as well as for use as orphrey bands on stoles, chasubles, or even copes. It combines well with other fabrics.
For those who may prefer tone on tone instead of the two-toned black/gold, St. Margaret is also in the solid black version.
Great care is taken in creating these fabrics. Weaving designer careful determine the weave pattern for warp and weft to create texture and depth to the fabric. This special care taken when creating the weaving pattern results in very intricate details, creating a play of light and shadow, as the weave brings up the warp, or weft. The fabrics use both light and dark to create a contrast look which allows the design details to burst forth on the fabric. The crown in the above photo is surrounded by a woven band, leaves, and other design details. It is the combination of these features which make these fabrics suitable for use in a church, so that the pattern is visible from a distance.
We, the Ecclesiastical Sewing Team, and you our faithful reader, or new follower, know these fabrics might also have a secret life:
History reveals that through the ages, there have been links between the garments, fabrics, and styles that were once part of daily life and the styles used and worn by clergy as part of the historic church. For fun, I thought the history buffs among us might enjoy seeing our traditional Brocades being used to create stunning historical garments. The above garments are worn by the character Henry VIII in the BBC production of Wolf Hall. For those who have not seen the production, it uses a number of the liturgical fabrics such as the St. Hubert Brocetelle, and Fairford brocade.
There is a scene in the movie that shows an altar frontal made from one of the Liturgical Brocade Fabrics, too. Although the movie shows the Liturgical fabrics being used in a secular realm, it is still interesting to see how different fabrics are combined. It can be a way of seeing fabrics with new eyes, or putting fabrics together in combinations that one might not have thought possible.
The above photo shows the St. Margaret Brocade crown motif being used on the center front of Henry VIII’s garments. It is edged with the black and gold trim. Here is where some fun begins. If one were to use that same fabric design placement with a similar edging, but instead of thinking of the front of the garment, use this concept on a cope hood! Replicating this design concept for use on a cope would be a very nice use of design. The Tudor Rose motifs that are featured on the sleeves would look equally nice centered and featured on an orphrey band. The beauty is that design inspiration for church vestments can come from unusual sources, even from a historic period drama.
If you have not seen the production of Wolf Hall, or if you have an interest in creating Church Vestments or historic period clothing, you will be sure to enjoy the movie. Let us know which fabrics you spy in the movie, too! Be sure to visit our online store front and scroll through our complete line of Liturgical fabrics for making church vestments.
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.