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.


  1. Wow! After seeing this prior to your repairs/reconstruction, I'm amazed you were able to not just salvage it but make it look great!

  2. What a labour of love. What beautiful vestments - gorgeous for Marian feastdays, I'd have thought!

  3. Wow! You are a whizz-kid with a scissors and needle!

    1. At times, (there are plenty of occasions when the needle goes where it will, ie into my fingers and thumbs!) but only by God's grace!

  4. I was excited to see your work, as I have also made and repaired vestments. A few years ago a special priest friend looked very sad one Sunday, and when I asked him why, he explained that this would be the last time he would be able to wear his lovely old green stole which had been an ordination gift from an elderly (now deceased priest) from his own collection. I asked him if I would be able to try to fix it, and happily succeeded! He was delighted. Every time I see it, I am reminded of how blessed I am to be able to do this work. No other needle work I do seems half as rewarding!

    1. Dear Glitter Girl, that is a lovely comment. Yes, it is rewarding to be able to use one's skills to repair vestments. When one thinks of the use they have been put to, it seems a shame when they can no longer be used. Apparently, there is a prayer one can say whilst doing such work (as long as it is not being done for financial gain - then I suppose the reward is in this life!)I will see if I can find it, and will post it sometime.