Saturday, February 4, 2017

It's Starting Again!

The orders usually start coming in around now for First Holy Communion dresses, in plenty of time for May and June, however, I had to get my skates on with this one, since the family who are in the USA had only just found out they would be moving State and their daughter would therefore be making her First Communion at the beginning of March. I said I could make it in a week, and get it in the post, which I duly did, but it was a close call!! I'm hoping that there will be no customs hitches and that it will arrive in plenty of time! (The length of time customs takes in the US seems so variable - Usually the package takes about two weeks, but it has taken up to 3 and a half weeks before, the quickest being just under a week - to Los Angeles, the place furthest away from here!!)
Now time to go and hoover up all those bits of white thread and chiffon...

 This dress is made from a pure cotton with a polyester chiffon overlay, and broderie anglaise trim.

Unfortunately, there is no chiffon fabric left (I have just cut out the last chiffon dress), so as I can not find nice embroidered chiffon for love nor money, any future orders will have to be in cotton voile, or broderie anglaise! 

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Winter Confirmation Dress in the Snow

I'm afraid the last time I saw the young lady for whom this dress was destined, she was a very leetle person, and it just makes me realise how time do fly!

A Confirmation dress for the middle of winter - what better fabric to use than some lovely pure wool and cashmere suiting

I got this several years ago, and have had it saved for the right person, at the right time. God in His providence made me buy it! - I was asked at rather short notice, just before Christmas when I would never have had time to go searching for an appropriate fabric, if I could make the dress for the beginning of January. Because I already had this fabric I was able to, Deo Gratias!

There's a lovely a matching coloured silk velvet and guipure lace, for the collar cuffs and trim.

Just got it finished in time for it to be photographed in our first snow of the winter!

Which, of course, never lasts very long in these parts!

Friday, November 11, 2016

Junior Priests!

I was saying a few prayers after Mass, last Sunday, when one of the young lads rushed past me, into the sacristy.  He came out bearing a cassock, and as he whizzed past me again said, "I'm going to be a Priest!" I smiled at him, and as he disappeared into the hall where the teas and coffees are served, I wondered to myself, "how strange that he feels so certain of his vocation, and for him to come up and tell me about it." "Has one of the Priests said something to him in the Sacristy?" I mused, and then, "of all the boys in the parish, I would not have thought of Thomas as having a vocation, but of course, one never can tell..." As I made my way into the hall, it dawned on me, the children were going to have an All Saints parade, and he and his younger brother were dressing up as Priest Saints, I'm glad I hadn't attempted to reply to him! I then saw his younger brother, and he was dressed in a costume that brought back memories, it was my son's Priest costume which we'd passed on to the boys.. Good to see it still going strong!

It got me to thinking I'd like to have another go at some mini Chasubles, and since I have plenty of Chasuble type fabric lying around,  I've started to make a few more, in case anyone would like to give a young lad a nice Roman Chasuble for Christmas!



These have proved rather popular, so they are now all sold. Please contact me if you would like a similar one made.  Priced at £40 to £50 for the Chasuble, stole and maniple, (depending on fabrics used) and an extra £18 to £25 for the Alb depending on whether you want lace or not.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

First Holy Communion Dresses being worn in my Parish

This year I had the honour to make two dresses for two of the little girls in my parish who received Our Blessed Lord for the first time. Even though they were the nearest of all it has taken me rather a long time to get some pictures of them!

Miss H being chauffeur driven to the Church
(the family usually walk for 40 minutes to get there, that would have been a bit much in her finery!)


The mantilla veil was a kind gift from a parishioner,
And her Godmother ordered a matching bag to go with the dress.

Miss E's dress was made from a beautiful cotton lace, with a cotton under layer.
It should last as she has (so far) two younger sisters to come after her!

A Happy Day!

It was lovely to be able to see my handiwork being worn for the first time ever!

Friday, October 7, 2016

Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary

How about having a pillow case made to celebrate the victory of Don Juan of Austria over the Moslems at the Battle of Lepanto!

White founts falling in the courts of the sun,
And the Soldan of Byzantium is smiling as they run;
There is laughter like the fountains in that face of all men feared,
It stirs the forest darkness, the darkness of his beard,
It curls the blood-red crescent, the crescent of his lips,
For the inmost sea of all the earth is shaken with his ships.

Our Lady of the Rosary, ora pro nobis.

(Actually, this pillow case was made as a gift for someone's God daughter!)

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Liturgical Vestments

I have been working on a set of vestments for a Priest lately.  He acquired it from seminary - I think it was in the "to be chucked unless anyone wants to save it" bin. It is a bit old and worn, but the silk is quite lovely, and certainly wasn't beyond repair. He likes it as a light travelling set, too. There were two stoles for some reason, but no maniple or burse; so the request was made to supply the missing items, and repair the chasuble from any fabric which could be gleaned from the spare stole.

This shows the spare stole (folded over on itself) and a spare burse
from which I took a pattern for the new one

The silk was shredding in places, mostly at the shoulders where the previous users had frequently handled it presumably whilst trying to position it correctly

It was also bad on the front where it got frequently rubbed, in the same sections on either side of the central panel. Below shows the left side, with the metallic trim unpicked and turned back. The colours of the silks had not faded much as can be seen from the fabric under the trim not being much different.

This was a blessing, because it meant that all the silk of the spare stole, even under the trim, could be used for the repairs and new items, since there wasn't a great deal of it to work with!

After spending some time working out how best to divide up the stole, I eventually managed to cut out the silk as in the above photo, which shows the pieces (including interlining and lining) for the small maniple, and the piece which will be used for the burse-cover (which is constructed from the two widest parts of the stole.) This also left two longish matching strips for the chasuble repair - not seen here.

By gently extracting threads from the fraying edges of the worn silk on the chasuble that were to be covered by the new panels from the stole, I then had matching silk thread that could be used for the repairs.

The threads had to be gently teased out until ones that were
long enough to sew with could be found.

Here are the two side panels with sections of new silk inserted, and the edging tape sewn back down.

Here are some photos of the finished chasuble and maniple, there's still work to be done on the burse and the Chalice veil which needed re-lining too.

It was pleasing to be able to get fabric patches that matched
the line of the patterning right across the Chasuble.

The metal edging tape was a bit too wide to make
a cross for this space, so a small cross was
machine-embroidered instead. 

A piece of the tape was cut into a cross-shape for the top
of the maniple, and satin-stitched into place.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

A P P Party!

I was asked to make a Wendy outfit for a little girl who's going to a Peter Pan party. Googling Wendy night gown (since I haven't read the book for rather a long time, I had no idea what she wore) came up mostly with images of a rather revolting empire line blue number, obviously inspired by some Disney production.  Apparently, J M Barrie does not describe it in detail, but empire line, and blue? hardly sounds Edwardian. Since it is to be a useful nightie, and not just a dressing up costume, the Mum and I decided between us that it would be in ivory Winceyette, with just a hint of lace, and a Peter Pan collar. As her older brother is going to be wearing a somewhat Piratical costume (not sure which character he is) I rooted out my son's old tricorn hat I made rather a long time ago - nice to see it being put to good use again!

One of the first things I ever sewed (at school) was a winceyette nightie. It's rather nice stuff, I might just make myself one!