Evangelist Collection of Embroidery Designs for Church Vestments

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Evangelist Collection of Embroidery Designs for Church Vestments

Our Evangelist Collection of Embroidery Designs for Church Vestments: I love vintage embroidery designs – looking at them and admiring the hand embroidery worked in stitches of silk and gold threads. I love researching and seeking out vintage embroidery designs, too. That is how Ecclesiastical Sewing came to be.

On occasion, a collection of vintage embroidery designs grabs my imagination and it won’t let go. It is as if the set is waiting – begging – for a chance to be brought back to life for a new generation to enjoy, for a new generation to use in worship, to use as a means to fill the eyes and mind with beauty.

Such was the case with Ecclesiastical Sewing’s most recent collection of Church Vestments that we have named “The Evangelists.

Evangelist Collection of Embroidery Designs for Church Vestments

The Evangelist Collection

The Evangelist Collection which we originally called “The Gospels” comes from a vintage book in my library that dates back to the late 1800s. There is one thing unusual about the set, though. It only had two of the Four Evangelists as part of the design. Two of the Evangelists were missing!

I knew that to bring this collection to light again, I would need to recreate the missing designs, and accomplishing this would be no small task. It would take the skill of an artist to capture the look and feel of the original set and talent beyond measure to create the missing pieces so that is looked at once again as the entire original set must have looked back in time.

At Ecclesiastical Sewing, we have been blessed to work with several talented artists from the beginning. Yet there was only one person that I felt comfortable entrusting this project with. I had made the decision and now it was a matter of timing – waiting and wondering if the artist would consider the undertaking.

Collaborating with Edward Riojas

When I first approached Edward Riojas about “The Gospel Project,” I gave him the background of the designs, and what my vision was for the missing pieces. I usually do not have to fill in too many details. Edward has the talent and ability to grab hold of an idea and see what is needed, and he usually has a concept back to me before I have a moment to catch my breath. When a project is based on something solid, beautiful, and firmly rooted in the Gospel and our faith, Edward never hesitates to take on a challenge.

Yet this project was unique. It was branching into a new area for both of us. This set has a historical look which must be captured and correctly interpreted with the new designs. There can be nothing about the new images that would create the impression that they were modern interpretations added to a vintage set.

The Importance of Color in the Design Process

The concept drawings came back from Edward in what seemed to be a few hours. I knew then that we were onto something with that first set of line drawings. They were good – looking almost as if they were missing pages from the original book. Looking at the drawings with a critical eye, we decided that a few changes were needed to create consistency between the designs. Those changes were talked through, and more drawings were forthcoming. Yes! The second round of images looked like real possibilities. And now, on the next challenge. It was time to add color and bring the designs to life. Color is a very important step in the design process. It is what determines how the machine will stitch. And what stitches are needed to create a look and to add texture to a design.

From Sketch to Stitch

Adding color is the point where a design is taken out of my hands. It is where the artistic eye, style, and talent of Edward take over. It is a time of waiting and anticipation on my part. Thankfully there are usually a thousand other things vying for my time during the waiting process and I become fully absorbed in them, which takes my mind off what may be coming in the next email.

When an email comes through with the final designs there is always a sense of anticipation and excitement. It is the moment when designs come to life! There is color, line, texture, detail, flow, movement, depth, and richness – it is all there in the final design. It often takes a few days or even weeks for a new collection of designs to sink in.

And finally, the most difficult part of my task begins. The digitizer must interpret the final artwork into stitches, understanding and translating the ideas, thoughts, emotions, textures, colors, and life of the design to achieve the desired result.

Embroidery Design Result

It has been a steep learning curve both for the digitizer and myself. The digitizer’s usual task is to create a corporate logo or a similar type of image in as little time as possible, using a limited palette of stitches. Not so with our designs. They require exacting detail. Positioning, accuracy, and placement of stitches must be precise. Some designs have a few thousand stitches and 3 to 5 colors. Other designs have 30 or more color changes and hundreds of thousands of stitches. Several designs require 8 to 12 hours of machine time for a stitch out. There is no room for errors or problems with these enormous undertakings.

As with all things, it has taken a long time to foster the relationship with my digitizer and it has paid off. He understands the level of work we are doing, and he continues to excel with the quality of the designs he produces for us.

The Evangelist Collection

We are pleased and honored to have so many people help us bring “The Gospels” which have now been renamed, “The Evangelist Collection” to life. Thank you to Edward Riojas, Travis who makes the magic happen with the machine, our digitizer, our seamstresses Stacy, Ellie, Karla, and Rebecca, and to those special few who fell in love with the collection before it began – Jim and Kevin.  We thank you all for your support and dedication in our mission and life together as we serve our Lord and Saviour in this calling.

Clergy Stoles, Priest stoles, pastor stoles

And now for a final question – Which of the two designs were original, and which were recreated by Edward? Can you tell? Have your say!

Soli Deo Gloria

Please visit our website at www.ecclesiasticalsewing.com to see our complete line of liturgical fabrics and church vestments. You may also contact us through the online webpage to inquire about custom orders or vestments.

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