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!

Monday, September 19, 2016

Sacred Heart Restoration Project

A friend of mine asked me if I could do anything with this old statue she'd found at the back of her elderly Mum's wardrobe. She had someone in mind to give it to, so I said I'd have "a go" at it.

It was pretty much the worse for wear, and had a few burn marks and splodges of glue where the head had been stuck back on in the past.

I had hoped that with some of my cleaning solvents I could have given it a good clean, but nothing could improve the discolouration of the paint and gilding, so I realised it would need a thorough re-painting.

Here are a few more before and after photos.

I'm sure with the next owner the statue will regain a patina from much loving prayers being said before it.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Of Mantillas and Models

I have been searching for a suitable model for my mantillas for a while -  I do love people sending me photos of the ones they wear and cherish, but sometimes, since I create all my mantillas myself, when I have a new one made I don't have one of my friends to hand to model for me (most of them being hard-working full time mothers!)

But, the other day, this little treasure fell in to my open arms:-

Admittedly, she was in a pretty bad way, and in need of something to revive her, so as I had some statue restoring to do, I got my paints out, and gave her a spot of make-up, so now I have a sweet model to hand, whenever I can't get hold of a real - life one!

And here she is modelling some of my latest creations -

A beautiful and unusual soft champagne coloured lace
with a lovely cutwork design, and a scalloped edge.
This is quite a time-consuming veil to make, 
I have one in stock,
but I can make more on request.


Black corded lace, very luxurious fabric, with
a delicate cotton lace edging.


A striking blue, suitable for Marian feasts!
Very pretty soft lace.
Last one available!


Gorgeous high cotton content lace, lovely feel.
With a scalloped border.


There we are, she's not too scary, is she?

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Of Mice and Milk!

A wee while ago I was ̶r̶o̶p̶e̶d̶ ̶i̶n̶t̶o̶  politely requested to help out with a girls' Summer Camp being run by our FSSP seminarians.  I was merely asked to do one afternoon of sewing...with 21 girls! Not being a teacher, (I really don't think home-educating one boy counts!) and realising that there would not be any sewing machine facilities for all of them (even if I brought my collection of 6 machines along!) I was rather daunted by the prospect. After all, I can thread a needle, and do a bit of hand-stitching when   ̶a̶b̶s̶o̶l̶u̶t̶e̶l̶y̶  necessary, but to spend a whole afternoon teaching girls to hand sew was going to be well outside of my comfort zone. Nonetheless, after googling some simple hand sewing ideas, and madly trying them out myself, to make sure they were achievable in the time allotted to us, I ventured forth, and I have to say, an enjoyable time was had by all.

I chose three main projects, a zip and ribbon purse, which mainly involved a lot of straight stitching, to hold the ribbon to the zip, but with a bit of clever going round the corners, which made it into a purse once the zip was done up:-
Of course, nearly all the teenagers wanted to do this one, but they had to be competent stitchers if they were to get through the amount of sewing needed to finish the project, and fortunately most of them did manage to do so.

The simplest task was to make a ring pin-cushion as this only needed one line of gathering stitches to pull the circle of fabric up to make (once it was stuffed) a little ball that could be glued into the "ring" made from a bottle cap and elastic.

This shows one of the girls very seriously studying her pin-cushion ring! whilst the lassie behind
is furiously finishing off the nose on her mouse!

 And the third project was to make a mouse pin cushion. I had cut out all the pieces necessary so the girls just had to sew and stuff them, and finish off the eyes tails and nose. I was pleased that the girls all seemed quite keen to achieve something, even the ones who had obviously never done any sewing before, and I was glad that I stayed overnight, as many who hadn't quite managed to finish in the afternoon were still requesting my help the next day. For those who wanted simpler tasks there were bookmarks and little purses or stuffed shapes to make too.

When we came down to breakfast, Father was blaming the mice who had been sitting on the mantelpiece for the fact that the milk supplies were rather low! (But I'm sure they were innocent!)

All in all, it was quite a good learning experience for me, (hand sewing isn't so bad, after all!) and I do hope it inspired a few girls to take sewing further.

And especial thanks goes to the helpers who were with me that day, as I know I couldn't have managed such a big class all alone.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Bespoke Cotton Lace Mantilla

Here is one of my latest efforts, a navy blue cotton lace mantilla, made to  a specific size by request.  The lady who ordered it wanted it to have a scalloped edge, so I had to digitize an edging lace for my machine which would finish the mantilla in scallops. 

There was a slight gap between the scallops at the two corners, so I filled those with roses!

A discreet label in black was attached.  I like to design labels to suit the object or garment they will be sewn in to.

The new owner seemed very pleased with it, and I managed, even with all the Summer breaks to get it to her in time for the Feast of the Assumption.