My website is dedicated to teaching people - both men and women - how to construct vestments and linens for their own churches. I'm not only seeking good stewardship; I'm also offering an opportunity to place our creativenss upon the altar of our Lord and Savior, Jesus, who is the Christ. An extraordinary undertaking.
But, I have many people who are attracted to the idea of the website because they recognize the depth of creativity that simply cannot be found in commercially produced vestments that come off the shelf. While they are, themselves, unable to sew, they, none-the-less, want to be part of this level of creativity. Hence this section of my website.
This section contains information about two women: Nancy Marie Marquette and Elizabeth Smith.
Both of these women began as customers. After working through their first project, they went through a metamorphosis! Each one discovered that they were very good at making vestments and, equally important, they loved making vestments!
Let me tell you a story that will explain to you what happened with both of these women: During the years that I served as the Diocesan Directress, I got a call from a parish about a project they wanted help with. Their priest had recently retired and they wanted to go through their entire sacristy and replace all the old vestments and linens. Big project! And, because they were within reasonable driving distance from me, we decided to meet every Monday morning. I was working with seven women. It took us a full year to get everything complete. And, we had an awfully good time! The last Monday that we met was both exciting and satisfying and................... sorrowful! They came to me and explained that they'd had such a good time working on the vestments and linens that ................ they didn't want to stop! And yet, there was nothing left to do! "Isn't there another parish that needs vestments that we could start working on?"
That's what happened with Nancy Marie and Elizabeth. They love vestment making. They're really good at it. And, they know that their own parishes don't have enough room for all the vestments they want to make! So, they've begun making vestments for the rest of the world. (This may be a slight exaggeration.)
Patterns for Orthodox Vestments and For the Tridentine or Latin Mass
In the past year I have entered into an 'association' with Nancy Marie Marquette and Elizabeth Smith. We're friends and, while we each have our own areas of specialty, we're not in business together - we just work together and enjoy one another.
Nancy Marie specializes in vestments and paraments used in the Latin Mass liturgies. I'm giving you a couple of examples of her work below. There are other pictures of Nancy Marie's work in her area of this site listed under 'The Latin Mass'. She has the patterns for these vestments and paraments available for you. Her email address is NMarquette@comcast.net . Nancy Marie's website is www.feedmysheepvestments.com
Elizabeth Smith specializes in remarkable machine embroidery. There's a picture below and you can see others in her area of this website titled 'Ecclesiastical Embroidery.
Elizabeth made a 'field trip' a couple of months ago - 'pilgrimage' is probably a better term. She spent several days with Sister Patricia at the New Skeet Convent in Cambridge, New York. Sister Patricia has been constructing the most lovely Orthodox vestments for many years. She was kind enough to share her patterns and techniques with Elizabeth.
Elizabeth is (even as we speak in April, '10) opening her new workroom - they've just moved to a new house. It will be a month or so before she's moved into it and sorted it out. Once that happens, Elizabeth will begin developing the Orthodox patterns given to her by Sister Patricia. These patterns will be available soon! For more information, go to Elizabeth's section of this website titled 'Orthodox Vestments'. You may also reach her at her email address ElizabethSmithVestments@yahoo.com
Both Nancy Marie's and Elizabeth's sections of this website are still in the building process. Keep checking back!
Each one has a specialty. Nancy Marie specializes in vestments designed to be used in the Latin or Tridentine Mass. When you go to her page, you will see a wonderful black set. That was the first set Nancy Marie made - just a little over a year ago!
Elizabeth came to me as a member of a parish with a new church that needed almost all new vestments and hangings. Beginning in October, she constructed both Advent and Christmas vestments - including a full frontal with pulpit fall, five dalmatics, a couple of chasubles and the stoles to go with each. This represented a monumental accomplishment within a very, very short space of time! At Easter, she constructed a Latin Mass vestment set for her priest, two sets of deacons' dalmatic and stole and a 23 foot high dossal curtain with side riddels (curtains) spanning a distance of 50 feet for the parish's Lady Chapel. Based on her design, her husband and friends constructed the altar area of the chapel's graduated marble floor with crosses for the five wounds of Christ. Whew!!! Elizabeth is an excellent designer and expert seamstress. Her specialty is custom-design and custom-construction of vestments and paraments for both Western and Orthodox Churches.
I've offered Elizabeth and Nancy Marie pages on my web site because so many of my customers want what they're good at.
Last year, I worked with six women, helping them with large Latin Mass projects. And, as I'm an Episcopalian, I don't have the background to be as helpful as I would like to be. I needed someone with the expertise that comes naturally to Nancy Marie - a Roman Catholic lady. I'm delighted to be able to offer her to you!
And, over the years, I have often been asked if I take custom work. Sometimes I have. Usually, I do not simply because, while I sew for my own parish, I haven't the time. So, when Elizabeth asked if there might be some custom work for her, I jumped at the chance to be able to offer her to you too!
An additional benefit to you is that, because we work together, we can buy smarter; we can take advantage of purchasing opportunities that we couldn't think about if we were working individually. As well, we can trade and barter back and forth (Elizabeth! That red Lurex Aragon??? I'm going to need about 2/3 yard of that back!)
The three of us have just come together in the past twelve months. The time just seemed right to take this step - for all of us. While I use the term 'my web site', I don't really think of it that way. It's yours; what you need is what drives this web site.
By the way (as long as we're on the subject), we need a supplier of handsome deacon's stole pins. You know, to fasten deacon's stoles at the side? While I like the look of a deacon's stole tied in a half-knot at the waist or hip, I also like the look of the deacon's stole pinned with a handsome liturgical pin. Years ago, I could purchase pins of this type through the museum stores for about $25 - the Metropolitan had several that were very nice. But, they're not offering that kind of thing any more and I haven't been able to find another suppler. The National Cathedral offers a large and lovely collection of religious pendant necklaces. I've repeatedly suggested that they offer deacon's pins too. (I mean, how much does it take to change a pendant into a pin?) But, my requests fall on deaf ears. Any ideas out there???
So, keep an eye on this 'Of Special Interest' section. There's no telling what's going to turn up next!