Inspiration for a Lazy Sunday Afternoon: Small Altar Linens

Sundays are the most special day of the week. They always start with church followed by Bible Study. That usually ties up the day until around noon. Since yesterday was the Super Bowl Sunday, the kids were off in different directions with friends and we were home alone with the two Border Collies. Their plan was to spend most of the day outside with Mom throwing balls and sticks, and they happily return the toys to continue the game. Then they wanted a long walk and a bit of obedience training. After all, the day was sunny and bright looking. But a brief 15 minutes outside had Mom headed back in much to the pups’ dismay. There was a bitter wind blowing that made conditions a bit chilly for my taste. Yes, I readily admit I do not like cold weather.

Tea and planning for future church vestment projects

It was time to head in for a cup of tea and a bit of reading and planning for future projects. (Daydreaming and a Sunday afternoon nap were other options for a lazy Sunday afternoon). The fingers were a bit sore from the project on Saturday afternoon, and so a day of rest seemed in order.



While the tea was brewing, I did a bit of wandering around, and finally, I pulled out a lovely group of hand embroidered linens. I am very pleased to announce that the work of two lovely ladies who do exquisite hand embroidery will soon be available at Ecclesiastical Sewing. Every time I pull the linens out to look at them it is a wonder. How are they able to do work to such a level of perfection? The hems on these linens must be seen to be believed, and it takes quiet time to look, and enjoy fine workmanship.  Each hand-crafted small altar linen received the utmost care, starting with careful pre-shrinking of the linen. This is followed by careful pressing. Linen is pressed while in a slightly damp state. If it is stretched or pulled in any direction without being careful to watch the grainline, the linen can be distorted.

Once the linen is pressed, the marking and cutting process begins. Linen is cut by the thread to ensure that one edge is straight. The rest of the linen piece is measured and cut from the straight edge. Hemming is next. The hem folds are basted on a thread to ensure they are straight when finished. Hems are folded, corners are mitered and basted in place. The hem is then stitched in place. The stitching is done with a very fine thread. Careful and accurate placement of each and every thread in the hand hemming process created a finished altar linen with a hem that is almost visible to the naked eye. And no, it is not age that is unable to see the stitches. They are truly that small, even, and carefully pressed so as to become as close to invisible as possible. Hem corners are carefully mitered. The final result is straight hems that are even.

The linens are hand embroidered with a small cross using a contrasting embroidery thread. White on white embroidery on linens will always be my favorite. I admit that over the past few months, I have become accustomed to the colored thread embroidery, and am enjoying this alternative option. The embroidery is carefully worked to a high level of craftsmanship. The simple cross is worked in a not so simple trailing stitch. It takes a great deal of skill to execute multiple rows of even trailing stitch in one design.

Workmanship to this level on altar linens is a joy to behold. If you are someone who loves fine hand work, you are certain to love these small altar linens. Thank you, Nancy and Jan, for your fine work!

We hope to have photos up on the Ecclesiastical Sewing website soon for these lovely altar linens. The fine quality of work is an inspiration to get started on a project of my own!  How about you?  If you need ideas or tips on working with small altar linens, be sure to sign up for our email list. As a way of saying thank you, you will receive a download copy of our eBook:

Small Altar Linens
Sewing Altar Linens


Happy linen making!

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. 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.











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