Crown of Glory: Ecclesiastical Church Embroidery Design Part 1
If you are new to Ecclesiastical Sewing or have been following along for a time, you will hear us talk about church vestments, church architecture, furnishings, and many items that are beautiful, as befitting use in the church. Our approach to design, color, style and the making of church vestments is to honor the standards of time and tradition, combining new technology where possible, as well as methods that have endured for centuries. Historically, the traditions of time have been to use the best materials, design, and workmanship when making items for use within the church.
We honor that tradition at Ecclesiastical Sewing, offering a nice range of assorted fabrics in a wide range of price points for use in making church vestments and altar hangings. Our liturgical Brocade, Damask, Lurex brocades, and Tapestry Church vestment fabrics are imported from the United Kingdom. The designs and patterns used in the fabrics come from a wide range of sources, which include historical paintings, fabrics, and Frescoes. Other fabric designs are patterns that were created by well knows church designers in the 19th and 20th century.
One such fabric that takes its design inspiration from the past is Evesham Liturgical Brocade which combines the liturgical colors of ivory, red, green, violet, blue, and gold with gold metallic fibers to create a rich and lustrous church vestment fabric. The beauty of Evesham comes from the use of the 15th and 16th-century design in the Florentine Style. It features design motifs of the pine cone and ogee. Woven in a smaller scale, Evesham is perfect to use as the base fabric for church vestments and altar hangings, as well as for accents on other ecclesiastical fabrics or for use as orphrey trim. It is also one of the few liturgical fabrics available in a Gold on Gold color combination. There are several reasons for Evesham church vestment fabric being a favorite. One has to do with the size and scale of the design motifs. I always prefer working with liturgical church vestment fabrics that have a wide range of possibilities. This fabric can easily be cut into orphrey bands that are narrow or wide. It is a bonus if the design motifs can be cut for use as stole orphrey bands. Evesham is a delight because of the drape and hand of the fabric. Evesham has body but also falls into lovely soft folds without stiffness. And if these attributes were not enough, Evesham in the metallic finish is available at a very affordable price for a liturgical fabric.
Another favorite fabric is the Ivory and Lurex St. Margaret Liturgical Fabric. This church vestment fabric enables the viewer to step back in time. St. Margaret is a design featuring the Rose and Crown which became popular during the Tudor Period. The Rose, which was an early Christian symbol, became popular during the 15th century as a result of the adaptation by the adherents of the Houses of York and Lancaster.
Both fabrics are lovely, and can stand on their own, but what happens if the fabrics are combined? Will two gold metallic fabrics work together? That was a question I recently contemplated, and decide to take up as a design option.
As one can see the St. Margaret Ivory Lurex looks lovely with the Gold/Gold Evesham. And there is a little surprise in the middle of the photo. It is a vintage embroidery design that is suitable for high festival celebrations as well as for more ordinary occasions. The design will be available for use on a variety of vestments and altar hangings.
So the next step in the process is to mark the orphrey band for the chasuble.
The area with the crown motif on the fabric will be the “waste” of the fabrics. But when cutting on the lines above, the section in the photo with the crown will be the “waste” area for this church vestment project. The chasuble will have a column orphrey which features the lovely Tudor Rose emblem found in St. Margaret. But never fear. The “waste” area is never wasted. It is wide enough to use on a chasuble with a “Y” shaped orphrey. It could also be used to edge a banner, or a pulpit fall, dalmatic, or tunic. It could be the orphrey on a chalice veil, It could also be used as a cope orphrey. But rest assured. “Waste” Ecclesiastical fabric is never wasted.
Now it often, (or rather I should say, most often) happens that I fail to have my camera out and at the ready for the next part, which is making a decision on the type of trim to use on the orphrey band. I did try several trims, and there were some great options such as the gold/gold St. Benet narrow braid, or the Oak Leaf Braid. Both would have been stunning. But I wanted something a little more “subtle” for this chasuble. And so the decision was made to use the ivory dice braid.
If you look closely at the photo above, you can notice the orphrey band has been basted in place with a long zig-zag stitch, or “tailor basting” stitch. This stitch is used for holding two or more layers together until a final permanent stitching can take place.
The same style of basting is used to hold the dice trim in place. Frequently, I apply the trim to the orphrey band prior to stitching the band to the liturgical fabric. And sometimes, (when I am in a hurry and fail to apply the trim prior to basting the orphrey in place, the trim needs to be basted in place prior to sewing. When this little blunder occurs, there is another step that needs to happen to keep the layers in place and to prevent unsightly “bubbles” and “ripples” in the finished garment.
When pinning the narrow braid in place, there is the tiniest amount of ease in the braid. This little bit of ease prevents the braid from drawing up when stitched, and better yet, prevents puckers. The rule of thumb, keep base fabric taunt, and ease orphrey bands and trims to the base fabric.
Notice how the tailor basting is worked over the center portion of the dice braid, leaving the edges free for machine stitching? And since everything is in place, it is now a good idea to say good evening, and head over to the sewing machine and finish this stitching.
The fabrics and trims are available for purchase through our online storefront.
Until next time, happy sewing.
Soli Deo Gloria