by Elizabeth Morgan (that’s me!)
When I was starting out, there was one author writing about the construction of linens and vestments. Her name was Dame Beryl Dean. So, of course, I purchased her book, expecting to learn everything I needed to know about making linens. Her instructions were pretty much ‘Turn up and stitch the hem’. I’ve found again and again that while ‘the experts’ may know a lot, they’re not real good teachers because they’ve forgotten what it’s like to be a beginner. I haven’t forgotten.
I’ve tried to include in this book EVERYTHING you need to know in order to construct church linens. It’s written for beginners. By that, I mean, I take nothing for granted! I presume that you are as much in the woods as I was when I began this lovely craft.
In this book, I re-introduce a hemming technique called ‘Convent Hemming’ that allows us to construct the very small stitches we associate with our communion linens.
This was the first instruction booklet I wrote. It’s professionally published. The bad thing about professionally published information is that it’s written in stone; you can’t add and correct (which is why all my other instruction booklets are printed from my computer – I’m constantly adding and correcting). Please see ‘Rolled Hems‘. This bit of information should be in Sewing Church Linens but, I can’t get it in there until and unless my publisher decides to do a 3rd edition. You can order it separately.
This is an historic book. It’s a copy of a catalog published in about 1885 by a British company that manufactured iron-on ecclesiastical embroidery patterns for white work, gold work and satin work. While we can no longer purchase the iron-on patterns, we can use copiers to enlarge or reduce the designs and then trace them or transfer them onto our linens and vestments. There are 150 pages in this catalog with, literally, thousands of designs – many old, very traditional favorites that we have all seen many times before. (Also good for parish secretaries to use for clip art in bulletins and newsletters.) For easy use the pages are not bound. You can put them in a notebook. I keep mine in a hanging file. This is a remarkable resource. When you open it, I’ll be able to hear you squeak all the way to upstate New York! This catalog is also known as ‘The Brown Catalog’.
For those of you who have embroidery machines, go to www.windstarembroidery.com. Look especially at her ‘Vintage’ patterns – Susie and I have a LARGE library of them! They’re excellent! They’re taken from this old catalog.
The line embroidery stitches – chain, stem and back stitch – produce embroidery every bit has handsome as the fill-in stitches such as satin stitch (which few of us can do anymore!). Both the IHS and the star and rose design on this page were worked with chain stitch.
If you don’t feel real sure about your embroidery skills and need a bit of support, here are some tips on working the line stitches – how to start, which direction they are worked and how to construct points and turn sharp corners. I also give you several handsome line designs.
Another ‘fill in’ stitch is called ‘seeding’ which consists of many, many tiny stitches laid close to one another and at varying angles to each other – sort of like random dots. I’ve never been good at seeding (mostly because I’m not good at ‘random’ – my mind wants things in neat rows). I also had not – until recently – realized that each ‘seed’ contains two stitches. How did I miss that?
You know how it is when you’ve known of a technique or method for years and you suddenly realize that it has a whole new application? That’s what happened with rolled hems. I only thought of rolled hems as being very narrow. I never realized that you can turn very neat-looking ¼ inch hems on purificators using the rolled hem method. And, is it ever quick and efficient! (Fun too! I love rolled hems!) This booklet contains lots of pictures – color pictures. To make it into a printed booklet would be quite expensive so, I’m not going to do that. Instead, I send it to you by email. No postage! You print it out – if you want to.
I’ve gathered this collection of ecclesiastical lace patterns from a number of crochet pattern books dating from 1906. It’s unusual to see so many collected together in one place. I’m glad that I have it to offer.