From time to time we have discussed the two shades of our liturgical red: One is the brilliant, clear red of Pentecost. The other is the deep, heavy burgundy of Holy Week. Two distinctly different shades of red for two distinctly different seasons. Yet, two separate sets of red vestments stretches the vestment budget. I have a solution!
Your enthusiasm for the M. Perkins fabrics has made Church Linens a good customer for this excellent supplier. I get opportunities to make unusual purchases for you. These two fabrics are such:
Cloister – Pentecost red – Usually $40/yard, now $25/yard.
Lichfield – Holy Week red – Usually $60/yard, now $35/yard.
Both are first quality – these are not seconds. The good price on the Cloister is due to an inadvertent over-stock. The good price on the Lichfield is due to a weaver’s error: Correct warp yarn of the wrong color. These things happen. It’s a mercy when some benefit comes of it – thank you, Holy Spirit!
I will put up pictures as soon as my computer will allow it (it’s been feeling cranky for a few days). While we all know that computers and the Internet do not transmit shades of colors well, I think you’ll be able to see the degree of difference between these two reds; there’s sufficient difference between them as to nearly constitute separate colors.
Sidelight – A priest friend – and great liturgist – speaking of the Palm Sunday service, remarked that the Palm Sunday service is so liturgically complex as to warrant two sets of vestments. Jesus enters Jerusalem hailed a King. At the end of the service, He faces His betrayal and His Cross and we move into Holy Week. While brilliant vestments are appropriate at the beginning of the service, at the end, we’re stepping into Holy Week and Good Friday. The removal of the brilliant red vestments and the taking on of the Holy Week vestments would be an eloquent liturgical statement.
I’m suggesting the discipline of the design and construction of these two vestment sets, now as we look toward an early Ash Wednesday.
If this project appeals to you, here’s a good way to figure yardage: Get hold of your priest and get them to show you their favorite chasuble – you’ll use it for your pattern. Measuring from the shoulder seam, measure the length of the front and the length of the back; add these two numbers together and add 4 seam allowances. Add the length of an additional repeat for matching or coordinating the pattern at the shoulders. This is the amount you need to order from me for the chasuble.
For the stole: I will cut stole lengths from both these fabrics. You will not have to order an additional 60 inches to cut the stole. You can purchase the stole length from me for $10. If you also want to order interfacing, the cost is $5.
If you want to order lining, I have deep red Dupioni silk lining for the Lichfield and gold lining for the Cloister. Fringe, galloon and orphrey fabric in a wide variety of prices available also. I recommend the red/gold Evesham for the Cloister and either a wine velvet or the wonderful deep gold of Venezia for the Lichfield.
As always, Sue Newman is available for embroidery decoration.
I was recently informed that there are TWO shades of liturgical rose! There’s the soft and delicate shade of rose (with which I’ve been familiar for years), called ‘American rose’. There’s also a wonderfully bold ‘English rose’. I have many samples of both rose shades. Send me your address and I’ll send you both samples.
Let me repeat:
For this reason, I offer fabrics that span the price spectrum – from $17/yard to $145/yard. All are of excellent quality; ‘inexpensive’ is NOT the same thing as ‘cheap’! While I do ‘inexpensive’ very well; I don’t do ‘cheap’. We do not put cheap stuff in our churches! If you want ‘cheap’, you’ll have to go somewhere else to get it. (And, goodness knows, there’s lots of it out there!)
Purchasing fabrics from our local fabric stores is certainly an option – most of us do, from time to time. Our local fabric stores stock the ‘fashion colors’. I offer fabrics in the full range of the liturgical colors used in our churches. They’re not necessarily the same thing.
I offer two types of fabrics: Patterned and un-patterned. The patterned fabrics are the damasks, brocades and tapestries – which we’ll get to further down on this page.
I have two un-patterned fabrics: Polyester and Dupioni silk. My un-patterned fabrics are useful to us because they play two roles; they serve very well as the main fabric and they serve very well as ‘support’ fabrics. Both of these fabrics make handsome vestments and paraments. I offer these fabrics in many shades of all our liturgical colors.
When used in combination with the damasks, brocades and tapestries, these two inexpensive fabrics help us make inexpensive vestments that are wonderfully handsome. If you look at the websites of any of our ready-made vestment supply houses, you will see many examples of this combination of simple, inexpensive fabric with a ‘fancy’ fabric.
Of course, it goes without saying that your own lovely handwork can decorate your vestments also – both hand and machine embroidery, applique, hand painting and the Simple + Beautiful technique of fusing. Your own creativity is without limit here.
POLYESTER: 60 inches wide @ $17/yard. This good fabric has a very slight ‘linen look’ pattern woven into it; the surface is smooth. I think of it as my ‘workhorse’ fabric because it works up well and does what I want it to do. The liturgical colors are solid and true. It’s an excellent fabric choice for your first set of vestments. (There’s no sense scaring yourself half to death using expensive fabric for your first vestment set – as happened to me 30 years ago. My priest presented me with a bolt of 100% silk damask that cost $100/yard and told me: “Make a new set of white vestments for the church.” I have a customer whose priest – regularly – presents her with fabric chosen by himself and the Vestry Chairperson – fabric she’s never seen before and knows nothing about. That’s not nice!) As well, this polyester is an excellent fabric choice when budget is a consideration. Like the little black dress, you can dress it up or dress it down. Here is the medium green. The cross in the top picture is fused gold lame’ – the Simple + Beautiful technique.
Both vestments utilize the green/gold Evesham orphreys. These paraments were easy and inexpensive to make – even with the gold gallooning, probably under $100. I think there is an Evesham stole with this set also. (See Evesham below)
Here’s another ‘little black dress’ example: The blue polyester ($17/yard) with blue/gold St. Hubert ($130/yard) and dice braid!
This polyester – my ‘work horse’ fabric – takes machine embroidery well. It’s also excellent for cassock-albs in either the white/white or the off-white or choir robes in blue, red or deep green. I’ve kept this fabric in inventory for almost 30 years and it’s served us well.
The colors are: White, cream, red, deep green, medium green, violet, Roman purple, deep blue and a nice, true liturgical rose (not Pepto Bismol pink!)
*Important Note: There are two liturgical purples – a ‘blue-purple’ and a ‘red-purple’. We call the blue-purple, ‘VIOLET’. We call the red-purple, ‘ROMAN PURPLE’. Roman Catholics tend to use the Roman purple for Lent and the violet for Advent. We Episcopalians tend to reserve Roman purple for use by our Bishops. We use violet for both Lent and Advent (although we’re using blue now for Advent). Note that St. Aiden comes in BOTH shades of purple – very helpful.
This is VIOLET
This is ROMAN PURPLE
There are also two liturgical reds: The bright, Pentecost/Christmas red and the deep burgundy penitential shade of red that we use during Holy Week. I’ll show you those in a minute.
DUPIONI SILK: 54 inches wide @ $25/yard. Being somewhat slubby, the Dupioni silk is more textural than the polyester. Dupioni is silk – it has a lovely soft sheen or ‘glow’ to it – it’s not shiny. Dupioni takes machine embroidery well. Dupioni silk is a responsive fabric and does not fray excessively.
Dupioni is also extremely useful. (I’m a big fan of ‘useful’ fabrics; fabrics that do several jobs well.) Dupioni is second to none for making copes. Dupioni is the very best lining for chasubles because, unlike that wretched gold satin we see so often, Dupioni doesn’t sag all out of shape so you have to keep putting the hem up! As chasuble lining, the Dupioni colors give a wonderful contrasting flash of color.
The Dupioni colors and shades are luscious: Soft-white, ivory, Pentecost red, Holy Week red, deep green, medium green, moss green, violet, Roman purple, medium blue and a slightly lighter blue, liturgical rose, black, silver, wedding ring gold, old gold, honey gold. (Both the medium green and the rose are available only in 45 inch width and cost $20/yard.)
Many of the Dupionis are woven with warp and weft threads of different colors. This produces an interesting effect: When viewed from different angles, the fabric appears to be two entirely different shades. Look at the stole with this terra cotta chasuble (this is NOT the liturgical rose!):
The lighter ‘stripes’ of the stole are the same fabric – but, they’re turned 90 degrees. While the center orphrey of the chasuble is a damask, it could have been of the same silk but, turned 90 degrees. (That stole is the Warham Guild pattern – narrow with a small spade shape at the bottom.)
Recommendation: I prefer the Dupioni for stoles because it is so responsive to turning readily into the straight, clean stole edge folds – simply steaming and finger-pressing will do it. The polyester makes good stoles too but, being polyester it resists wrinkles and, therefore, the folding process.
I offer both the polyester and the dupioni silk as yardage. I have these fabrics available all the time. I also offer both in pre-cut stole lengths. Purchasing stole lengths means you can buy enough for one stole without having the remnant left.
I send samples of both the polyesters and the silks on request – no charge.
I offer the great liturgical damasks, brocades and tapestries designed and manufactured by M. Perkins & Son in England.
While I give you a great deal of information about the wonderful M. Perkins fabrics, I want you to see their website also. Go to: www.mperkins.com.co.uk This is M. Perkins’ brand new website! Additional information is being added. I hope you enjoy it – I think it’s gorgeous!
I’m going to address this topic here at some length. I have a lot of information to give you – which makes this a very long page.
Seeing pretty pictures simply isn’t enough. You really need hard information in order to plan design and determine your yardage – and M. Perkins knows this; I know this:
As long as I’ve started the topic of matching the pattern across a seam, I might as well finish it. The usual way to match the pattern is with right sides together – which is awfully fussy. There’s another way:
We’re going to match the crown across a seam.
Carefully and precisely fold the edge along the center of the crown pattern (the line of the white thread). Steam and finger-press.
Pin precisely – easier because you’re working from the top! You can see what you’re doing! What a concept!
Top stitch close to the edge.
The seam is no more visible than if it had been stitched right sides together.
The seam allowances may be left to one side or they may be pressed open.
This method is especially helpful when matching across a diagonal seam.
For centering – for instance a stole pattern:
As we begin talking about the M. Perkins fabrics, you need to know that the terms I use – damasks, brocades and tapestries are not exact terms. I’m not able to understand the precise terminology – even fabric experts disagree with each other about the exact definitions. And yet, you and I need to be able to speak to each other and understand our terminology. Here are my own simple definitions:
– Damasks are all one color with the pattern woven in (see the green chasuble below).
– Brocades are the same thing except the pattern is embellished with metallic threading (see the green/gold St. Margaret above).
– Tapestries are multi-colored – the pattern is woven in, not printed on.
I’m offering you these terms so we can talk together and understand each other. These terms work for me – and they won’t cause you any harm.
SHIPPING: I cannot afford to carry an entire Perkins inventory (we’d be talking about an investment of $30,000 – minimum). Instead of carrying an inventory, I import your individual orders. Of course, the shipping costs from England to the United States (or Australia or Canada) add to the cost of the fabric. I am often able to mitigate this shipping cost by combining several orders and bringing them all over at once.
Even with the shipping cost, I think you’ll find my prices are competitive.
Here are two chasubles:
Both of these chasubles are handsome. Both are beautifully designed and made (by Sue Newman); they fall gracefully, the curved edges are smooth, the neck openings are nicely finished, the central orphrey on the green damask chasuble is absolutely straight with no puckering. One chasuble is a simple plain weave and one is a damask.
The effect of the plain weave is simple, bold and straight-forward – what is thought of as ‘contemporary’.
The effect of the damask is more complex and subtle – what is thought of as ‘traditional’.
Neither is ‘better’ than the other; they’re just different. Both are handsome.
The choice is yours to make.
If you’re reading this, you’re probably interested in designing vestments. Buying liturgical fabrics for the first time is scary! You’re in unfamiliar territory – even if you’re an expert. The use of the great liturgical damasks, brocades and tapestries in your designs requires some basic information so you can feel confident. M. Perkins knows this and I know it.
It’s my job – my ministry – to make sure you have the information you need so you can feel confident and be successful.
When I was just starting out in this ministry, I didn’t know how to do this. When a parish called me in to discuss a new set of vestments, I would pack up samples of every fabric I had and go there. Big mistake! Facing these poor people with 35 entirely different fabrics in 7 different liturgical colors, all priced entirely differently was a nightmare!
Now, I am not a stupid woman! It didn’t take me long to realize that this plan was foolishness! I was giving these poor people so many choices and they had so little experience with liturgical fabrics that I was creating chaos! No possible way they could make a decision faced with so many choices! If I wanted to be helpful, I had to find a way to organize the process.
To my great surprise, selecting just the right liturgical fabric turned out to be more a process of elimination than a process of choice. It took me the longest time to figure this out!
Let’s look at that green chasuble again:
What you may not realize is that the lush visual effect you see here is not a factor of the pattern; it’s a factor of the of the damask. When you looked at this picture, you noticed the rich, all-over look of the damask.
The pattern of this green chasuble is Winchester. Winchester contains lovely motifs – roses and fleur-de-lys. But, that wasn’t what you noticed in this picture, was it? You didn’t say to yourself, “Gosh! Those are beautiful roses and fleur-de-lys!” What you noticed was the ‘look’ of the damask.
What does this mean to our decision-making process? It means that the pattern is not as important as you might think! In fact, pattern choice is the last design element to be considered! That’s an important piece of information!
Most people go into fabric choice having already decided: “I like the Fairford pattern best!” And, they’re very surprised to find that, in the end, they choose one of the other patterns. I can’t stress strongly enough that – especially when considering the damasks – the specific pattern is the last design decision we make.
There’s a good reason for this: Vestments are designed to be seen from a distance – the middle pew. You don’t choose vestment fabric from a bunch of samples sitting on your kitchen table. Unless you intend to utilize a bold and distinct pattern, the pattern is only seen close up. Once made up into vestments, the pattern – especially with the damasks – becomes part of the whole rather than a discreet and independent element. (This is true of galloons also; they’re not nearly as important as we presume.)
The first three design decisions are made before you see any fabric at all. These three decisions will serve you well because they organize your project; they’re the foundation upon which your project is built. And, because they are so basic, they’re quickly made:
1. Budget. How much do you want to spend on this project?
2. Color. If your plan is to make violet vestments for Lent, there’s not a lot of sense to looking at green fabrics!
3. Scale. While large patterns can readily be adapted for small vestments, small patterns will make large vestments look busy.
I’m going to take a bit of time here to discuss scale more thoroughly.
Fabrics intended for liturgical use are designed to contain elements that will function on items of various sizes – larger frontals, chasubles and dalmatics and smaller burses and stoles. Liturgical fabric designers build into their patterns both large and small motif elements – a variety of motifs that offer a variety of scales. This built-in adaptability of liturgical fabrics is usually lacking in domestic fabrics designed to be used on sofas and chairs.
I think of liturgical fabrics that contain several pattern scales as being ‘useful’ – the more pattern scales it contains, the more widely useful the pattern is to me when I’m designing. I also think of this facet of liturgical fabric design as ‘cut up-ability’ – ‘How many ways can I cut this fabric up?’ As you look at pictures of fabrics, be looking for this variety! You need to be seeing, not just the whole pattern but also the patterns within the pattern. Of course, this useful design of liturgical fabrics also reduces your cost by making each fabric pattern more adaptable.
Let’s keep on looking at that green Winchester – it’s a perfect example of what I’m saying. The 14 inch Winchester repeat that works so well on that chasuble also has two smaller elements built into it – one larger than the other – the roses and the fleur-de-lys. This is the stole that goes with the green Winchester chasuble. The fleur de lys are 3 1/2 inches wide (same size as the Tudor Rose, Ely, Normandy and Agnus Dei motifs); they fit perfectly within a stole width:
Here’s another example of a smaller motif built into a larger pattern: This is the portion of Fairford that I use for stoles – the row of twining leaves that lies between the rows of pomegranates and pineapples (notice how nice the silver embroidery looks on that damask background) –
This usefulness and cut up-ability has a practical drawback! The M. Perkins pattern designs are so rich and offer such variety that it takes me FOREVER to choose which portion(s) of a pattern I want to use! (I’m NOT complaining!)
I’m going on and on here about scale. It’s important! Here’s some more:
– Probably the most familiar vestment fabric patterns are Agnus Dei, Ely Crown, Normandy and Tudor Rose. They’re all great patterns – very traditional and, every single one of us have seen them a hundred times. You can see pictures of them any day of the week in the catalogs of our great commercial ready-made vestment makers. Over time and with familiarity, our eyes have come to accept these four patterns as The ‘Standard’ Liturgical Fabrics.
And, guess what! The motifs are all the same size! These fabrics are all the same scale! The individual motifs are 3 – 4 inches (the same size as the Winchester fleur de lys!).
Now, there’s nothing wrong with a 3 – 4 inch scale!
What bothers me is the fact is that we’ve become so accustomed to seeing them used that we’ve not only come to accept them as ‘standard’, we’ve come to accept that scale as ‘standard’.
Go back to what I said about ‘lush over-all effect that damask gives’. What is the over-all effect of a 3 – 4 inch pattern? Seen from the middle pew, a chasuble made from a small-scale pattern shows as a checker board of small squares or circles. That’s not what you see when you look at the green Winchester chasuble that has a larger scale pattern.
I had a priest years ago who ordered a ready-made frontal for our 12 foot altar. It was made entirely of white Agnus Dei – pure silk and very expensive. The individual Agnus Dei motifs are less than 3 inches. That frontal was sooooo busy that it made me cross-eyed to look at it! That altar needed the visually solid and stable Florence pattern that has a 14 inch lengthwise repeat – a repeat to balance the size of that altar. Agnus Dei was the wrong scale for that large altar.
The cost of our acceptance of a ‘standard look’ is the loss of our own design flexibility and adaptability – a general loss of a portion of our own creativity. Which is a heavy price to pay!
– Scale size has another factor to watch for: One would think that we could tell the scale of a pattern from the length of the repeat. One would think that an 11 inch repeat would indicate a larger scale than a 4 inch repeat. Not necessarily!
When you look at pictures of liturgical patterns, notice whether the individual motifs are ‘in line’ or ‘staggered’. (This is really important!) Do you see the difference between these two patterns?
The pattern of the Ely on the left is linear. The pattern of the Tudor Rose on the right is staggered. By my ruler, the Ely crowns are 3 1/2 inches and those Tudor roses are 4 inches in diameter. The size of their patterns is virtually the same. And yet, the Ely repeat is 6 inches and the Tudor Rose repeat is 10 inches. Their repeat sizes would indicate that the scale of the Tudor Rose is nearly twice that of the Ely. Each Tudor Rose motif is half the repeat length because the pattern is staggered. The Ely pattern is ‘in line’. Photographs cannot make this clear – you have to know it (or have some nice person explain it to you).
As I said about three pages ago, “Purchasing fabric on the Internet is difficult. Seeing pretty pictures simply isn’t enough. You really need hard information in order to plan your yardage – and M. Perkins knows this”. I know it too. Understanding the relationship between repeat and scale is important information.
The first three fabric decisions can be made without having seen fabric samples:
The last two decisions – shade and pattern – require samples (now we’re getting to the exciting part!)
4. Shade of the color – Every one of our liturgical colors come in a nearly infinite variety of shades.
One of the things you’ll notice when you have samples from M. Perkins is the wide variation in shades for you to choose from. ‘White’ is not ‘white’! ‘Red’ is not ‘red’. Look at the difference here between these two reds – Ely on the bottom and St. Margaret on top:
This effect is seen in all the M. Perkins liturgical colors. In one sample group, you’ll be seeing 8 – 10 different shades of the same color – a huge design resource. While not in this instance, this shade variation encourages the tone-on-tone color design that is so effective.
Seeing the variety of shades of the color can also be of practical help if you need to clear your design through a committee or your clergy. Laying out the fabrics on a shade continuum is a very effective and helpful organization tool. The visual organization is clarifying. Your committee or clergy will comprehend their choices immediately. Color shades should be appropriate for the church they serve. Take the samples into the church. View the samples from a distance rather than right up close.
5. Pattern – And, finally (last but not least!), we get to choose the pattern we like the best! Having decided upon our budget price, the seasonal color of the project, the preferred scale of the pattern and the shade of the color that works best in our church, we find that this orderly process of decision-making has worked for us! Our decisions have narrowed down the number of pattern choices to 3 or 4 patterns – possibly fewer. It’s as though the fabric is choosing us rather than the other way around.
If you utilize this orderly, 5 step process, choosing just the right liturgical fabric becomes not difficult but exciting – fascinating!
There are many ways to decorate our vestments. While the combination of orprheys and galloons is frequently see, there is no rule that says you must decorate vestments with orphreys.
Orphreys are the bands with which we decorate our vestments. The green Winchester chasuble has a deep green velvet orphrey. This single central orphrey is called a ‘pillar’ orphrey. Often a Y orphrey is used.
Galloons are the decorative trims we stitch along the outside edges of orphreys. The deep green velvet orphreys are trimmed with a 3/4 inch wide golden galloon.
While I personally prefer to make my own orphreys and I often use one of the brocades such as Evesham or St. Hubert or Venezia or Wakefield or one of the tapestries, you can purchase ready-made orphreys that either do not need galloons or have the galloons already attached. Pre-made orphreys are a great convenience. I still prefer to make them myself. Personal preference.
If your project design calls for orphreys, M. Perkins offers many to choose from. If your budget is limited so you are using either the polyester or the Dupioni silk, Evesham will serve beautifully as orphreys. The remnant will make a lovely second stole and burse and veil set and pulpit fall.
I also offer a good selection of galloons in a range of golds from festal to penitential, silvers and all the major colors and am happy to include samples along with your fabric samples. Most of my galloon samples include several different widths. Using several different widths of the same galloon in the same set of vestments is a rich design element. M. Perkins’ gold and silver Oakleaf galloon comes in SIX widths – which is unheard of and a wonderful resource!
So! How do we handle samples?
Because the damask, brocade and tapestry samples are expensive, I must have my samples back! And so, I request a $50 sample deposit. Your sample deposit is refunded to you when my samples come home to me.
After doing your preparatory design work in steps 1 – 3, having the actual samples in your hands is very exciting! Being able to lay them out in front of you is fascinating! Moving them around in various combinations is just plain fun! Seeing the variety of shades to choose from organizes your design mind.
As I sit here, writing this in the early morning hours, I know I’m running into trouble – this page is already very long (and I’m not through yet!). And, I worry about that. When I started out (30 years ago!), I didn’t have some nice person to give me what I now know is the simple, basic information I needed. And so, I made every mistake – at least twice. And, I swore to myself then that, if I could help it, NOBODY was going to have to go through what I went through. So, I’m trying hard to give you the simple, basic information I had to learn the hard way – through experience and trial and error (too many errors!). I have a lot to pass on to you.
Let me say one more thing about patterns: Fabric patterns are not copyright. Anybody can weave any pattern; all they need is the computer disk. What’s more, anybody can weave any pattern in any yarn they choose – no matter that the yarn is second rate. Just because you see a familiar pattern, does not mean that the fabric is any good. Be very careful about this! Get samples and examine the samples for stability. Will this fabric sag and droop all out of shape?
Please, please, please also keep in mind that, wonderful though the Internet is, it does not transmit color well – I should say, the Internet does not transmit the SHADES of color well. The Internet can tell us green is green and red is red but the Internet is extremely inaccurate about the shade of green and the shade of red. The colors you see on your monitor are very likely to be way, way off!!!! There is no way to fix this problem. As you look at the fabric pictures I’m showing you, don’t reject any because you don’t like the color you’re seeing on your screen. You can’t have any idea of the true color until you hold the fabric sample in your little hot hands. Here are three photographs of the same shade – the liturgical rose. None of them are accurate.
Blended Fabrics: What are the true miracle fabrics? Linen, silk, wool and cotton. There are those among us who hold strongly to 100% pure. Our quilters fall down in a faint at the mere suggestion of poly/cotton. Many people long for liturgical fabrics in pure silk. I feel the same way! However, as I work with liturgical fabrics, I find that while I hold strongly to the idea of 100% pure, my practical nature, my working experience and what I see right in front of me, causes me to appreciate blended fabrics – as long as the blending has been done properly with a purpose in mind.
Be aware that there are a lot of 100% silk liturgical fabrics out there; many contain silk yarns that are barely able to support themselves. I recently built two maniples that were missing from a set. I used a white 100% silk purchased from a highly reputable supplier. That fabric was dreadful! It frayed spontaneously. At this time, I know of only two companies offering 100% silk liturgical fabrics that are worth the cost – Perkins is one of them.
We see a great many 100% rayon fabrics. Frequently they have the very shiny finish that many people associate with liturgical fabrics. While rayon is a wonderful yarn, I – personally – don’t prefer the shiny finish and look for rayon as part of a blend.
I guess I’m saying that, over the years, I’ve come to have a strong appreciation for good fabrics and M. Perkins blends well.
Project lay-outs to determine yardage needed: There’s a trick to this determining yardage: In order to determine yardage needed, you don’t consider yardage needed. Instead, you consider the number of repeats needed.
Using gridded paper (2 squares = 1 inch), I lay out the pieces my project requires using fabric repeat lengths. (You can get this gridded paper from Staples; or, email me and I’ll send you some.)
Working with the largest vestment pieces first, I sketch out each vestment piece starting at the top of a repeat. When I begin working with the smaller pieces, I mark lines for the lengthwise centers of each pattern so I can visualize centering each piece on the pattern.
When I’ve finished my lay-out, I do not know the yardage but I DO know how many repeats I’ll need. It’s a simple bit of math to change repeat length to total inches and then to total yards.
In addition to telling me the yardage I need, this method also gives me a clear idea of my working layout and how each piece will be centered. I may do 4 or 5 layouts before I’m satisfied. Be sure to add an extra repeat because you don’t know where the cut will fall.
Stole Lengths: (Gosh, I keep thinking of more stuff I need to tell you!) I offer pre-cut stole lengths in two sizes. My regular pre-cut stole lengths are 14 inches wide and 60 inches long – just the right size for my basic 4 inch stole pattern. My large stole lengths are 18 inches wide and 65 inches long – the right size for my V-Back stole pattern. I offer these stole lengths in both Dupioni silk and polyester AND in some damasks, brocades and tapestries.
Stole lengths are intended to make one stole – you don’t have a large expensive remnant left over.
I offer stole lengths in all the Dupioni colors and shades – with coordinating silk linings. I also have a selection of the M. Perkins damasks, brocades and tapestries available – email me.
OK. Here we go. Enough chit chat! Let’s get down to it and look at the fabrics! If you go onto the M. Perkins website – www.mperkins.co.uk – you will see that they group their fabrics into specific categories: Plainweave, Piece Dyed, Yarn Dyed Brocades, Yarn Dyed Damasks, Lurex Brocades, Brocatelles and Tapestries. I’m going to arrange the Perkins fabrics in a different format. I’m arranging the fabrics into three ‘Tiers’. Each Tier represents a different price range – because price is our first important decision.
Ely – 54 inches wide. Repeat length is 6 1/4 inches, 8 patterns across with the center falling in the rose motif. Ely is a reversible pattern – its length and width repeats are the same.
52% poly/48% cotton.
Colors: Ivory, a rich red in between the Pentecost and Holy Week reds, a true, rich emerald green and a deep violet. A special treat is that Ely comes in a wonderful GOLD.
Note: The green shown on my monitor is nothing like the true Ely green – a true emerald.
The crown motif is 3 1/2 inches wide – a perfect width for stoles that are 4 inches wide. One length will cut into 4 stoles. While the repeat size is small for use as a large frontal, Ely is a good choice for small items such as pulpit falls, burse and veil sets, Bible markers and super-frontals – and will work nicely for chasubles. Ely would be excellent cut as orphreys on one of the plain fabrics – either silk or polyester. Along with the pattern, Tudor Rose, Ely – first woven in 1890 – is one of our oldest and most traditional liturgical patterns. Ely is a useful, inexpensive, traditional damask with a soft, true-damask sheen. If you are ready to work with damasks, Ely is an excellent choice. Here it is in use:
Here is the white Ely with black/gold
St. Aiden – 55 inches wide. Repeat length is 8 inches. 8 patterns across with the center falling on the small flower between two roses.
67% viscose/33% cotton
Colors: Both white and deep cream and both violet and Roman purple*. Pentecost red, a soft rather than intense green, and a very nice clear, medium intensity blue. If you are looking for a good ‘Mary’ blue, this a good one.
The rose design is 3 ½ inches wide, making this a useful stole fabric. Four stoles may be cut across the width with the rose central. St. Aiden is a very nice, all-over, small-repeat design and a nice fabric to work with. Visually, St. Aiden is of a ‘light’ feel rather than formal.
Cloister – 55 inches wide. Repeat length is 6 1/2 inches. There are 8 patterns across and the center falls in the middle of the thistle motif.
67% Polyester/33% cotton
Colors: White, Pentecost red, a soft green, both violet and Roman purple and a strong gold.
This is another very nice, all-over, small-repeat design. The pattern is more defined than St. Aiden. The motif combines the English rose and the Scottish thistle and was especially popular around 1900.
Evesham – 55 1/2 inches wide. Repeat length is 10 1/2 inches – staggered (the main pattern is 5 inches wide and 4 1/2 inches long). The patterns repeats 8 times across the width at 6 1/2 inches. The center falls in the middle of the main pattern. (The 6 1/2 inch pattern width is a little bit cramped for stole widths – but, it can be done.)
63% Polyester/27% Viscose/10% Metallic yarn
Colors: Gold/gold, ivory/gold, green/gold, red/gold, violet/gold and blue/gold. Great color choice!
The Evesham repeats are staggered. Each of those motifs are 6 ¼ inches tall and 4 ¾ inches wide – nice, useful size. While Evesham can be expected to ‘show’ clearly in a large space, it will also ‘work’ well as a contrasting fabric. For instance: as the super-frontal to set off a frontal or as orphreys on a chasuble. Please be aware that Evesham is a very useful fabric – we use it a lot.
Here is the gold/gold Evesham shown with two gold damasks (Winchester on the left and Fairford on the right).
Here is the gold/gold again used on the breast of a traditional Mass chasuble designed and made by Nancy Marie Marquette. The violet/gold galloon sets it off nicely.
Venezia – 56 inches wide. Repeat length is 18 1/2 inches. The pattern repeats 4 times across the width at 14 inches, centering between the urns.
46% Viscose/46% Polyester/8% Metallic yarn
Colors: White/gold, gold/gold and multi-colored tapestry.
Venezia brings the Coronation pattern home to the manufacturer who originally developed it. It comes to us this time in a new version – and several brilliant colorways – not just the white/gold but a gold/gold and the tapestry containing many colors.
And this, my Dears, is what is commonly known as a ‘SENSATIONAL’ fabric. Not only sensational but an outstanding price. Like any tapestry, Venezia makes wonderful hanging paraments – frontals and pulpit falls. Unlike the heavy tapestries, Venezia is light enough in weight to work well as a chasuble. All three colorways are very festal!
This is a big pattern! Used as a large piece, its effect is all-over. And yet, it cuts up readily into beautiful orphreys.
Venezia does it all.
M. Perkins has only come out recently with the golden Venezia and I don’t have pictures of it in use – yet. Can you tell that I love this fabric?
Note: The next two damasks in this Second Tier are very small repeats.
Romsey – 57 inches wide. Pattern repeat length 1 1/2 inches. The pattern repeats 48 times across the width.
55% cotton/45% Viscose
Colors: Ivory, red, green and violet. The red is toward the penitential red of Holy Week rather than Pentecost. The green is toward the spring green of Fairford – that goes so well with the Verona tapestry. The violet is deep and rich.
Romsey is one of two patterns that are very small – York, just below, is the other. The effect of small-patterned fabrics is textural rather than decorative in themselves. So small a pattern feels unusual to us – and, is! Small patterns give the lush, over-all damask look but without the insistent patterns of Ely or the larger repeating shapes of Winchester or even Cloister. Romsey lends itself well to both simple, understated vestments that are lightly decorated and to serving as a background for dominant decoration such as major embroidery or dominant orphreys. Romsey is a fabric we should be using more often.
York – 57 inches wide. Repeat length is 1 1/4 inch. The pattern repeats 84 times across the width. With its small repeat, York is an alternative to Romsey. York comes only in ivory and ivory/gold.
55% Viscose/45% Cotton
Colors: Ivory and ivory/gold
Again – like Romsey above – a very small pattern. Unlike Romsey, however, is the feel and hand of the fabric. If you want a creamy white or softly golden fabric, this is one to give serious consideration. Unusual and useful.
Glastonbury – 57 inches wide. Repeat length is 7 inches. 8 patterns across the width with the center falling in the middle of the cross design.
55% cotton, 45% viscose
Colors: Ivory, red, green, both violet and Roman purple and gold. The white is toward the golden side and so pairs well with golds. The red is toward the Holy Week red rather than Pentecost red, a good medium green.
Note: Glastonbury comes in a very nice shade of gold – non-metallic. Our Cathedral seamstress, Martha, has used the gold Glastonbury paired with the green Ely for a set of 6 chasubles to be used for Diocesan Conventions. Useful! (On my monitor the Ely green is showing much lighter than it really is. The embroidery was done by Sue Newman.)
Glastonbury is one of the patterns designed by William Perkins around 1890; showing the rose and quatrefoils containing the crown of thorns; a clearly liturgical fabric. The pattern is sized nicely for smaller projects like stoles and burse/veil sets. And yet, the pattern also works well on larger pieces. Glastonbury is a very useful fabric.
Here it is in violet. Note the use of gold piping rather than galloon!
These are the violet Winchester (top) and the Roman purple Winchester (bottom) – the two liturgical purples.
Here’s the red Winchester:
And, the white Winchester – tone on tone:
and an excellent gold!
9/28/16 – I just received this picture from Kris. It’s her FIRST chasuble! This is the golden Winchester in action. The orphreys are also Winchester – that lovely deep red. The galloon is a dice braid. You can see that she hasn’t finished the neck stitching yet. Handsome!!!! (Parenthetically, please note the shade difference between the sample above and this chasuble! Wonderful though the Internet may be, it does not transmit shades well. The gold of the chasuble is accurate. The gold of the sample is too orange – at least, on my monitor.)
Here’s the banner that goes with the chasuble:
And, the laudian frontal – she’s still at the fitting stage here; the red/gold fringe hasn’t been added yet so, of course, it hasn’t had its final pressing. Wonderful!
Winchester – 57 inches wide. Repeat length is 14 1/2 inches – 8 patterns across with the center in the middle of the fluer-de-lys motif.
55% cotton/45% viscose
Colors: Ivory, Holy Week red, a very nice emerald green, both a rich violet and a good Roman purple, the liturgical rose and a good gold.
Winchester is ‘ecclesiastical’ in appearance – traditional and dignified. It’s useful as a main fabric and it cuts up well. The 5 inch Winchester roses are a good width for orphreys and the 4 inch fleur-de-lys are excellent for stoles. The scale is medium sized and shows well. It’s not my favorite as the main fabric for frontals.
The ivory is two toned – giving a real ivory effect. The red is toward the Holy Week red rather than Pentecost red. The green is a deep, solid forest green. Winchester comes in both a deep blue-violet and a clear Roman purple, an excellent gold and a lovely true liturgical rose. Good, solid colors. A handsome, useful damask.
The First Tier gives you ten good, useful fabrics – at or under $60/yard: Ely, St. Aiden, Cloister, Evesham and Venezia, Romney, York, Glastonbury and Winchester. Seven good damasks and two good brocades – and a tapestry. Excellent quality. Good choices! The full range of liturgical colors – including the liturgical rose.
Before we go on to the Second Tier, let’s talk a bit more about cutting stoles. Some patterns have motifs that fit well on the width of a stole – Ely, for instance. We simply cut the Ely Crown pattern so the dominant motif is centered; the two sides of the stole match. Easy.
Other patterns don’t have an easily centered dominant motif – Florence, for instance. In this case, we cut the major motif up the center producing stole ends that do NOT match but are ‘mirror image’. Here’s Florence as a mirror image stole:
Now let me throw you a curve: This is a lovely antique stole; do you see the worn edges where the stole was caught into the cincture? The two sides of the stole don’t match at all! And, it looks just fine!
I would note here that M. Perkins does our liturgical shade of rose very well. Clergy often ask if the Perkins rose is really ROSE (as opposed to Pepto-Bismol pink). Yes, Virginia, the M. Perkins rose is the really, truly liturgical ROSE! Two of the three Perkins’ fabrics available in the liturgical rose are in this Second Tier group: Winchester and Florence; the third is St. Nicholas in the Third Tier. If any of the rose fabrics appear ‘pink’ to you, your monitor is giving you the wrong shade! They’re NOT pink!
A note here: The group of four: Florence, St. Margaret, Fairford and I would included Winchester here too. All of these fabrics have a similar hand; they work up and behave the same way. If you enjoy working with one (which you will!), you’ll enjoy working with the other three also. However, utilized to build chasuble/stole sets, their appearance will be different. Both Winchester and Fairford contain pattern motifs that show well within the draping of the chasuble and in the width of the stole. Florence is an ‘all over pattern’ – those wonderful ‘feather’ motifs give a rich all-over damask effect. The St. Margaret pattern is both bold and large – so large that individual motifs do not show as they do in the Winchester and the Fairford. I’ve put a picture of this effect with the St. Margaret blurb.
Florence – 57 inches wide. Repeat length is 14 1/2 inches. 4 full patterns across with the center falling in the middle of the main motif.
60% cotton, 40% viscose
Florence is ELEGANT!! The Florence pattern shows wonderfully on large pieces; it’s excellent for frontals. It also works well for chasubles. Remember the Florence stole I showed you? Mirror image:
Florence appeals to me strongly for its balance. While the scale is the same as Winchester, Florence lends itself to large spaces better than Winchester does because the entire Florence pattern is of equal visual weight – there is no individual pattern motif that is visually dominant. Over large areas the Florence pattern functions as a visual whole.
Florence offers a good color range. Three whites! Bridal, ivory and deep cream. The red is toward the Holy Week red rather than Pentecost. A good green. Violet. And! The lovely liturgical rose – on my monitor, the shade is coming up pretty accurately.
Let me draw your attention back to the fact that Florence comes in three shades of white. Go to this excellent website www.holyroodguild.com and look at their lovely chasuble called ‘Cana’. This subtle tone-on-tone treatment works so well! Nicely done. This is what Florence’s three shades of white are so good for! The ivory combined with the deep cream will give that subtle tone-on-tone effect.
The next two fabrics – St. Margaret and Fairford – are of the same composition and hand as Florence. St Margaret and Fairford offer the additional design benefit in coming in BOTH a damask AND a matching brocade. While the two color ways are each effective used separately, used together they provide a simple and striking design element. (While the photograph make them appear to be different scales, they’re exactly the same scale.)
St. Margaret – 57 inches wide. Repeat length – 19 1/4 inches. 4 patterns across the width so the center falls in the middle of the crown motif.
60% cotton, 40% viscose
Colors: White, white/gold, red, red/gold, green, green/gold, blue, blue/gold, black, black/gold, violet AND ivory/Lurex – which is a lovely, lovely fabric! If you’re going to be working with white, be sure and see a sample of the ivory/Lurex St. Margaret.
The St. Margaret roses are 7 inches in diameter. This is a prominent/dominant pattern! It’s remarkable on large, flat surfaces. A stunning frontal consists of the damask for the body of the frontal and then the row of the brocade roses as the super-frontal. Used for a matching chasuble/stole set, the effect is also beautiful – but different from the effect of Florence, Winchester and Fairford.
Here’s a picture: This is an antique French fabric. While it is NOT St. Margaret, it’s similar and the effect is the same –
The graceful folds of the chasuble conceal the pattern as individual motifs. The bold damask effect is clear and extraordinarily handsome! And, this was Cynthia’s FIRST attempt at making a chasuble! The girl has some very special experience to draw upon!
This is a large chasuble – there’s a lot of volume here!
Please pay special attention here – there’s some really good information to be had:
Note her use of an exterior facing within the arms of the Y orphrey – a wonderful way to finish the neck opening – even on lined chasubles. A very neat trick!
Also note the width of the pillar and arms of the Y orphrey – no more than 3 inches. A major mistake when building Y orphreys is to make them too wide. The issue is geometry: Anything wider than 3 inches will force the point at which the arms join the pillar too far down.
Also note that the arms of the Y join the shoulder seam outside the shoulder points of the wearer. There are two ways to construct the Y – wide or narrow: A narrow Y places the outer edges of the arms at the shoulder points. A wide Y places the inner edges of the arms at the shoulder points – or lower. A narrow Y may work better on smaller clergy. Larger clergy are able to carry a wider Y.
Here’s Fairford also showing the damask with its matching brocade:
Fairford – 57 inches wide. Length repeat – 21 1/2 inches. There are 4 patterns across with the center in the middle of the main design.
Note that Fairford is available in BLACK!!! And! Two matching brocades! Black/gold and black/silver!!!!
60% cotton, 40% viscose
Colors: White, gold/gold, ivory, ivory/gold, red, red/gold, violet, violet gold, blue, blue/gold, green, (no green/gold), black, black/gold AND black/silver,
Fairford is a Victorian Gothic pattern after the William Morris School, composed of two major motifs (the pineapples and the pomegranates) that are separated by a row of twining leaves. Fairford is one of my favorites – because it’s so widely useful. I appreciate ‘useful’. The rows of twining leaves make lovely stoles.
This is the Fairford red damask with the red brocade as orphreys.
The Fairford blue is strong and dimensional (If you want a soft blue, St. Aiden’s or St. Nicholas are the fabrics to see). Keep in mind that blue is a recessive color – it goes gray over any distance. We need a good, strong blue for large churches and strong lighting – and this is it! The Fairford blue will carry. It’s bright and intense – and beautiful!
Here’s the blue Fairford in use – Pulpit fall and two stoles: The blue Fairford has the damask emphasized by using two shades of the same color – nice! This is a beautiful set! The orphrey is the red-predominant Aragon.
Fairford blue is strong. Here’s a picture that shows the how the white Fairford functions in real life – the typical lush and subtle damask effect. The original photograph shows the pattern standing out just a little bit more – a perfectly balanced support for the graceful embroidery.
This white Fairford was undoubtedly purchased – many years ago – from Perkins. Perkins has been offering the Fairford pattern since, probably, the early decades of the last century. Classic!
The patterns used for the embroidery come right out of the Embroidery Pattern Catalog. Also, classic!
Here’s the black/silver Fairford on a black Fairford chasuble.
The 100% silk Evesham comes only in black and so, for obvious reasons, photographs are difficult! To see greater detail, go back to the Evesham brocade in the First Tier. However! This black silk Evesham comes in two sizes/scales – larger and smaller. An interesting and useful design element!
Evesham – 56 1/2 inches wide. 100% silk – Available in two repeat sizes: 19 inches and 9 inches. The smaller repeat gives 10 patterns across, the larger repeat, 5 patterns across. The motif combines the pine cone and Ogee.
The black silk Evesham would pair VERY well with the black/silver Fairford brocade, using the silver Dupioni silk as lining. A black Dupioni silk cope with Evesham as the front orphreys and the shield with the IHS in silver on the shield and M. Perkins silver Oakleaf galloons? Yes! Excellent!
Ludlow – 48 inches wide. Lengthwise repeat is 18 inches – the pattern is staggered. There are four patterns across with the center falling in the middle of the main repeat.
74% cotton, 14% viscose, 12% metallic yarn
Colors – Only the red/gold and ivory/gold are carried in stock. Ludlow in green/gold, blue/gold, violet/gold and black/gold are available as special orders,
Ludlow is an impressive fabric. The white/gold is radiant and festal. The red/gold is brilliant and festal. Whether for a full laudian frontal or used as orphreys. This is a magnificent fabric.
Perugia – 49 inches wide. Lengthwise repeat is 27 3/4 inches – staggered making the actual motif size about 14 inches. Four patterns across with the center falling in the middle of the main motif.
51% silk, 49% cotton
Like Ludlow, Perugia is another major pattern. The deep burgundy red of Perugia gives it an entirely different moment. Here’s a picture of Perugia used as orphreys on a cream Florence chasuble:
I like the back neck design on this chasuble very much. I also like the way Debbie has squared off the bottom of each orphrey rather than running the orphrey into the hem. The tau cross in the front is well worked. This is a perfect example of using smaller amounts of expensive fabric to good design effect. While I love it on this Florence, you might just as well use Ely – or, even the Dupioni or polyester. Perugia is expensive but, it works hard!
“An elegant Gothic Revival design. Based on Netherlandish textile designs of the fifteenth century, often depicted in the art of Jan Van Eyck.”
Perugia is a fascinating and handsome and useful fabric that gives a ‘one-of-a-kind’ effect. I like it a lot. It comes only in red/gold. The red is the deep, oxblood red of martyrs and Holy Week. An outstanding fabric.
St. Hubert – 50 inches wide. Lengthwise repeat of 3 1/4 inches.
67% polyester/33% cotton
Colors: White/gold, red/gold, blue/gold, black/gold and gold/gold
Here’s the blue/gold in use as a very special miter AND!! I want to explain beforehand about this picture! When we make vestments for our own parishes, we don’t always have access to the priest for fitting. And so, we use whatever other human being is closer to hand – teenagers and husbands are frequent prey. Here we have the husband (in his white T shirt). I very much hope you’re not shocked by this! It’s a good picture of the blue/gold St. Hubert on a very nice mitre (the body of the mitre is the St. Margaret in the Lurex gold):
St. Hubert is a very effective and useful fabric.
Wakefield – 48 inches wide. Lengthwise repeat is 17 inches. There are 4 patterns across with the center falling in the middle of the smaller motif.
42% cotton, 31% silk, 27% metallic yarns
Colors: All colors are combined with gold: white, red, green, violet, light blue, royal blue, black and gold.
With a 17 inch repeat, Wakefield is a fairly large pattern – but beautifully designed so that it has smaller minor motifs too. Wakefield functions readily as both a medium repeat and large repeat fabric. Very useful; very flexible.
As well! Wakefield is back to front reversible! Both sides are beautiful. These are pictures I took on my worktable so the lighting isn’t the best but, I think you can see how different the sides look from each other. The first and third pictures are the ‘right’ sides, the second and fourth pictures are the ‘wrong’ sides. The ‘right sides are bright and definite and clear. The ‘wrong’ sides are soft and muted. It’s almost like having the St. Margaret and Fairford damask/brocade combinations all in one fabric!
Our Cathedral seamstress, Martha, built a full set of violet vestments several years ago. Here is the high altar showing the frontal. It’s the violet Winchester and the violet/gold Wakefield.
There is a chasuble, two dalmatics, stoles, pulpit fall, burse and veil and a cope to go with this frontal. The altar is 12 feet long and 42 inches high. This was Martha’s first set of vestments!!!
Tudor Rose – 56 inches wide. Lengthwise repeat is 10 inches (and staggered).
58% viscose, 42% silk
Colors: Red and white only.
Along with Ely Crown, Tudor Rose is probably our most familiar liturgical pattern. Because the roses are staggered, the motif is actually half the repeat, making it a perfect pattern for especially lovely stoles. The subtlety of the pattern makes it a soft background for all vestments. It comes in only two colors: a creamy white and Christmas/Pentecost red.
Chelmsford – 56 inches wide. Lengthwise repeat is 7 ½ inches (staggered, like the Tudor Rose). There are 10 patterns across with the center falling in the middle of a ‘Chelm’. The ‘Chelms’ are 4 1/2 inches wide and 4 3/4 inches long. Chelmsford, like Ely, is reversible.
58% viscose, 42% silk
Colors – Ivory, violet and both a deep red and a deep green.
Chelmsford has been a standard pattern in the M.Perkins line since the 1920s.
58% Viscose, 42% Silk
Colors – A wide and wonderful color range! Ivory, red, green and violet AND ALSO rose, blue, black and gold!
St. Nicholas is absolutely my most favorite fabric. The repeat is so large that it is especially relevant for large altars. I wish this picture were clearer. This frontal has seven of the great shells across its width. I’ve done St. Nicholas frontals with more – always lovely.
St. Nicholas is also the perfect example of a liturgical pattern designed to address both large and small vestments. Here are two stoles done with St. Nicholas – each using a different portion of the design – to good effect!:
Here’s the chasuble from that set:
St. Nicholas is a very old, very traditional design; it was often used by the Warham Guild with tapestry orphreys as seen here.
The shades of the St. Nicholas colors are (in my opinion!) especially lovely: The rose is, of course, the perfect liturgical rose. The blue is the perfect soft and a bit dusty ‘Mary’ blue. The gold is LUSCIOUS! And, the black is………. Black!.
I mentioned before that, when I started out making vestment in 1985, I had no nice person to tell me how to do it. Additionally, I didn’t begin at my parish level; I started right out working with the 120 parishes in my diocese. Because the pressure and confusion of needing to learn so much so quickly was so intense, I didn’t realize at the time how much the Holy Spirit was reaching out to me by giving me seamstresses who were soundly grounded in their sewing skills – skills I did not have. Being in my late 40s, I had the energy and drive; they had the skills. Together, we were an unbeatable combination! Thank you, Holy Spirit!
I remember coming up against the issue of the tapestries. Tapestries give us a sure-fire method for creating classic vestments with practically no design work! (Tapestries are expensive but, cut up into orphreys, a little tapestry goes a long way.)
You choose a base fabric that will coordinate with a tapestry, cut out the vestments, cut the tapestry into 6 inch wide orphreys and apply them using the ‘standard’ dice braid galloon. Instant classic vestments!
Note: This exceptionally wide Y orphrey works because the arms are set below the shoulder points.
Again: Below the shoulder points – this is Tudor Rose –
Verona with gold Dupioni silk
Winchester with Verona – I apologize for the poor quality of both these pictures. This is a handsome frontal!! You can see how differently the Verona works than the Aragon does.
Aragon with Dupioni silk (this picture was turned – the proportions are off – it appears to be longer and narrower than it really is)
Aragon with St. Margaret – under construction
Verona with green polyester and dice braid – inexpensive!
Aragon with violet polyester and dice braid – inexpensive!
Green predominant Aragon with Winchester (I think)
The difficulty presented by the tapestries is that there are three ‘standard’ tapestries. Which one to choose? Why would you choose one over one of the others? So, let’s talk about that.
The three tapestries are: Aragon, Verona and Portuguese. Here they are:
You’ve learned a lot by just seeing all three of them together in the same place. Each of these excellent tapestries respond differently to different situations – they meet different requirements. It’s going to be hard to talk about this because so much depends upon color and shade – and (as we know to our sorrow) the Internet does not transmit shades well.
A note about blue: You’re seeing a lot of blue strong blue in these tapestries, aren’t you? In fact, you’re not seeing a lot of blue; you’re seeing blue that is very strong – so you notice it more. There’s a reason for this: Blue is our recessive color; if it is not strongly emphasized, it will fade out into gray and disappear. Liturgical fabric designers know this and so they ‘punch up’ the blues so they can be seen from the middle pew.
I hope this gives you an idea of what you’re working with when you consider using the tapestries. Now let’s get more specific.
61% cotton/39% Viscose
Colors: Aragon comes in 4 different colorways: Both the red and the green preominant and ALSO each comes with touches of gold that both lifts the visual weight of the fabric and gives a nice festal feel.
You can see that this picture shows a full width and more than a full repeat. The pattern is staggered, giving us two ‘rows’ of those glorious poinsettias – a full 25 inches. On a tall altar – 40 inches – the poinsettias will be centered 7 inches from the top and 7 inches from the bottom. On a shorter altar – 36 inches – the centering will be 5 1/2 inches from top to bottom. As a year-round laudian frontal, Portuguese is outstanding! And, both traditional and unique.
Verona – 48 inches wide. Lengthwise repeat is 22 inches. There are two patterns across the width and staggered so the center falls in the middle of the main motif. The two pictures above show Verona in two different scales. The top picture shows a close-up in which you see only the motif. The bottom picture shows a large portion of the fabric so you can see how the pattern works. The effect of the Verona pattern is much more ‘all-over’ than the linear effect of Aragon.
Verona is not strongly linear – in either direction; it’s effect is ‘all-over’. Second, Verona’s color shades are muted rather than clear and bold; the effect s softer – especially in its golden colorway.
The top picture is of Verona woven in non-metallic yarns. The bottom picture is meant to show Verona woven with metallic yarns also; I think the picture shows the additional visual ‘lightness’ contributed by the golden threading.
I want to take a moment and talk about an an extraordinary fabric I’ve been experimenting with for a few months called ‘Roman Scroll’. Roman Scroll is a heavy metallic fabric that comes in three shades – gold, old gold and silver. Here is the gold worked as a stole for my Dean. Sue digitized and embroidered the Dean’s shield for me.
My primary concern about this fabric was whether it would be gaudy (you know how you can never tell until you have it made up?). The stole is nicely festal and NOT gaudy! It’s perfect! The Dean wore it for Christmas Eve services. (Which must mean that he likes it too?)
I’m just now cutting stoles in the old-gold and silver. When I have them done, I’ll put them up so you can see them.
The Roman Scroll fabric 54 inches wide and costs is $125/yard. I’m offering 13.5 inch widths that will cut 4 inch priest’s or deacon’s stoles for $65 each. For a V-Back stole, you’ll need a double width.
If you want to make a special stole, this fabric is something to give serious consideration. I like it – a lot!
This has been a very long page and I hope you’re still with me! Because I have some information for you that will be helpful – about galloons.
What’s a galloon? Galoons are sometimes called ‘trims’ or ‘braids’. But, you know how the church is!!! There’s a special name for EVERYTHING!
Many vestments and paraments utilize orphreys – like the tapestry orphreys on this chasuble:
(I want you to notice something here: This chasuble is not lined. Finishing the neck opening is tricky on an unlined chasuble because we can’t use facings. Do you see the handsome shape around the neck opening on this chasuble? This is an EXTERIOR FACING!!! Think about it! In addition to looking absolutely smashing, this neck shape also finishes the neck opening! Neat trick!)
This chasuble has very complex orphreys! There is the tapestry in the center, a band of deep blue on each side with a narrow golden galloon on the inside and a wider golden galloon on the outside. (The galloons are M. Perkins’ ‘Oakleaf’ – go here:
Debbie built these orphreys herself – and did a great job of it!
There is another kind of orphrey; these orprheys are ready-made, all finished and ready to stitch down. Much easier. Some people prefer to make their own orphreys; some people prefer the ready-made. Your choice. If you’re going to make your own orphreys, you will probably finish the raw edges by coveing them with a decorative galloon.
The issue here is deciding which galloon to use! This decision process is vastly complicated for us by the fact that there are 8 jillion galloons out there demanding your attention! How to make a choice???
It is my experience that we spend much too much time selecting ‘just the right galloon’. It’s as though the fact that there are so many of them out there makes us believe that the decision-making process is of vital importance! We lose track of what is really going on and wander off into other fields. Total waste of time, talent and energy!
Because your major design elements are your base fabric and the orphreys. The galloons are meant to play a support role. Galloons are NOT meant to play a starring role! I have seen too many wonderfully designed vestments cluttered up with dominant galloons!
You want galloons that complement and support your design – not take it over. The major design statement of the above chasuble is being made by those excellent orphreys (note that the creamy white base fabric is plain – it’s not a damask). The galloons are subservient to the orphreys; they act only as support – to bring that orphrey forward. Support is the proper function of galloons. Galloons should complement the colors and design elements.
How do you do that? Well, the first thing is – don’t get too fussy about it! Really!
If you need a golden galloon, make sure you have the right shade of gold. Gold shades run from nearly white (festal) through nearly brown (penitential).
If you’re going to use your galloon to bring in some supportive color, choose a galloon with that color.
Choose the right width – a width that will not be minuscule or skimpy – or of an overly heavy width.
It’s my experience that many of my customers have difficulty choosing galloons. And so, I’ve put together groups of galloon samples. I’m familiar with ALL the 8 jillion galloons out there! Dear Blessed Lord, I’ve been working with them for 30 years! I’ve learned a thing or two! My samples offer you a reasonable number of good alternatives from which you can make a good choice. I have golds, silver, (both) reds, greens, (both) purples, white, blue and (two) rose.
Like my samples of the damasks, brocades and tapestries, I require a $50 deposit. If you’re ordering fabric samples, you can order the galloon samples at the same time – included in your deposit.
Now then: (My daughter just came home and I haven’t started dinner yet! More tomorrow!)