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Teaching Stole Kits

Teaching Stole Kits are meant to TEACH you how to make unusually handsome stoles using a method that is entirely unique.  I expect that you will need to make one stole in order to learn this skill – that’s what the Teaching Kits are meant to do for you.  And, it only takes one! Teaching Stole Kits  include: a pattern (deacon’s or priests’s), the Constructing Stoles instruction booklet, interfacing, face fabric in the color of your choice and lining to match.  Your Teaching Stole Kit contains everything you need to learn how to make a nice stole EXCEPT thread and a spray can of Dritz temporary spray adhesive (which will save you over an hour of construction time – remember, you heard it here first!) Your pattern choices are: 4 inch priest’s, 5 inch priest’s, my new Warham Guild pattern or the narrower deacon’s stoles.

 The V-Back priest’s stole pattern and the wider deacon’s stole pattern are not available in a Teaching Stole Kit.

Finished priest’s stole length is about 54 inches.  

Finished deacon’s stole length is about 56 inches.  

Greater length for generously sized and tall deacons can be arranged.

Teaching Stole kits are guaranteed! If you mess up your stole beyond all redemption, send the fabrics back to me and I’ll send you all new fabrics so you can start again, fresh. (I cannot stand that my stole kit might end up in the ‘unfinished projects’ drawer! I cannot STAND it! I will go to any lengths to make sure you to be successful.)

Many of you want to give your first stole as a gift – and you can certainly do that.  I would suggest, however, that you plan on keeping your first stole in your workroom.  The stoles you make are so handsome that clergy will ask you to make one for them.  It’s helpful to have a stole available for length fitting.

If you want to learn how to make excellent stoles, the Teaching Stole Kits are the way to do it – by learning the set-back construction method. But, beware! Stole construction is wildly addictive! A high percentage of my customers end up going into business.

Let’s talk about stoles and their construction so you know what you’re getting into:

Once you know how to do it, stoles are easy to make and as close to being instant gratification is it’s possible to get – in this world.  However!  Stoles are deceptive!  You look at a stole and what do you see?  Long.  Slim. No darts or armholes or waist bands.  Nothing to fit but the length.  Your immediate thought will be, “Pillowcase method!”  Right?  Wrong!  You cannot push 110 inches of stole through a 3 inch wide tube without severely beating up the stole.

The set-back construction method allows you to finish the entire inside edge of the stole by machine.  After that, its a matter of turning in the outer face fabric neatly over the interfacing, smoothing the inner edge neatly into place and then folding in and pinning the outer edge of the lining into place.  Then the entire outer edge and the bottom hems are hand stitched.   That’s it in a nutshell.  I give you lots of helpful tricks – Stay-Pinning under a bit of tension, steaming and finger pressing rather than ironing, Pinning by centers.  Your stole should come out straight, smooth and a little plump – not squashed flat.

Every instruction booklet contains a ‘sample piece’ – face fabric, interfacing, lining.  I spend a lot of time cutting those pieces for you!  I’m hearing from my customers that they don’t use them!  What???  I pin those sample pieces to the page titled ‘Construct a Set-Back Stole Sample’.  I mean for you to work the sample!!!  You must cut the pieces to the sizes given in the ‘recipe’.  You work the sample piece BEFORE YOU EVEN CUT THE STOLE OUT.  Before you even begin, I give you the opportunity to work the set-back construction method through – so you can see where you’re going.

The set-back method is unique – that’s the best word I can think of.  The people who have the most trouble with it are the experts because they know so much that they expect the stole to go together according to the logic they have learned.  Stoles have their own, special way of going together.  Intermediate sewers (like myself) don’t know enough to be confused by ‘the way I’ve always done it’.  For instance, experts presume the set-back is somehow similar to how they make draperies.  It isn’t.  There’s an interfacing in there.


Here are your fabric choices and your color choices for your Teaching Stole Kit:

Dupioni silk: Dark green, medium green, olive green, soft white, creamy ivory, violet, Roman purple, Pentecost red, Holy Week red, medium blue, deeper blue, liturgical rose, old gold, wedding ring gold, honey gold, black or silver. Samples sent upon request – no charge.

Polyester: Dark green, medium green, bridal white, off-white, violet, Roman purple, Pentecost red, medium blue, liturgical rose. The polyester kit also comes with an additional little kit that I call ‘Simple + Beautiful’ that shows you a nifty decoration trick. Samples send upon request. No charge.

Other: At times I have other fabric choices.  Right now I have a lovely, simple white cotton/poly with all different styles of crosses in gold – it’s very nice.

NoteWe like polyester fabrics because they resist wrinkling.  For this reason, I’ve decided to recommend that you choose the Dupioni silk for your first stole.  So much of the set-back construction method involves turning in the stole edges smoothly over the edge of the interfacing that you want to use a fabric that is willing to take a fold.  The Dupioni silk is a very willing fabric.  Steaming and gentle finger pressing easily smooths it neatly into place.  Nice and straight.  The ‘Other’ fabrics will do pretty much the same thing.  The polyester fabric makes good stoles – it just takes a bit more effort.  I want your first, Teaching Stole, to be as easy and straight-forward for you as possible.

Here are your priest’s stole pattern choices:

My priest’s stole patterns have a curved neck/shoulder shape that comes together at a center-back seam. The shape of the seam and the careful curve of the neck/shoulder area produce a stole that fits smoothly. The stole ends hang straight down; there’s no toe-ing in or toe-ing out. The ends hang straight. The width at the center back neck is 3 ½ inches and flares gently to the width at the bottom seam. Stole length, of course, varies with the height and jacket size of the person – and with whether the stole is worn by itself or under a chasuble. My priest’s stole patterns finish at about 54 inches.

  1.  4 Inch Priest’s Stole Pattern: To my mind, this is the ‘basic’ priest’s stole pattern – exactly the way they should be. The width at the bottom hem is 4 inches, narrowing slightly to the center back neck seam. Fabric necessary to construct a 4 inch priest’s stole is 14 X 60.
  2. 5 inch Priest’s Stole Pattern: The additional inch of width at the bottom hem gives extra room to work a wider embroidery. The upper portion of this stole returns to the same width as the 4 inch stole, maintaining the good fit in the neck/shoulder area. The 5 inch priest’s stole may also be cut from 14 X 60 inch fabric – a little tight but it can be done.
  3. V-Back Priest’s Stole Pattern (not appropriate for Teaching Stole Kits): This pattern gives the very popular V-back appearance WITHOUT THE DRAWBACK OF IMPROPER FIT.  My V-Back priest’s stole pattern has a fitted inner edge – the inner edge is CURVED just like a person’s neck is!  (What a concept!)  The V-back stoles seen in catalogs do not fit well because the inner edge is constructed in a V also (a miter). I believe this is done for reasons of economy; you can cut 4 mitered V-back stoles from one fabric width but only 3 of my shaped V-Back stoles.  My V-Back pattern turns out a lovely stole – the V-Back is large enough for an embroidery.  The width at the bottom hem is 4 inches (which can easily be increased to 5 inches with a flare that stops just below the shoulder shaping curve).  The V-Back stole pattern requires fabric cut 18 X 62.  V-Back stoles are more expensive to make because they require more fabric.
  4. Father Limpert’s Warham Guild Stole Pattern:  9/14 – I’ve just brought this pattern into inventory and will be interested to see the response to it.  You might Google The Warham Guild – major vestment designers during the early part of the last century.  Father Limpert is a devout Warham Guild fan – as are many of our clergy.  I have a few Warham Guild vestment sets still in use here in my diocese.  I know clergy who make annual pilgrimages to visit these vestments!  I have in my storage room a small Warham Guild altar set of frontal, burse and veil in deep blue and silver.  It’s historic and I love it dearly.  Father Limpert gave me a beautifully framed Warham Guild label – just the tiny little label inside a beautiful frame! I treasure it!    This stole pattern is very Warham Guild – because it was taken directly from a one of their historic stoles.  Here’s a wonderful old photograph of a Warham Guild stole worn by a priest (taken from the 1963 edition of the Warham Guild Handbook – kindness of Anglicans Online) :



Notice the spatial placement of the orphreys – this is typical Warham Guild design- that spacial doubling.  The stole is quite narrow!  About 2 1/2 inches, flaring to the short ‘spade’ shape that is not quite 4 inches.  This pattern has no shaping at the neck – it’s completely straight.  The designers of this time were concerned with expense.  While they loved beautiful fabrics, they also appreciated best use of the fabric.  Because the pattern is straight, this stole was also readily used by deacons – as it was meant to be.  Here’s a picture of another Warham Guild stole worn by a deacon:



Notice that the stole is joined at the side with a simple half-knot.  Notice also the ‘band’ at the lower center-front of the deacon’s alb, two more at the cuffs and another at the back neck of his amice.  These ‘bands’ are called ‘apparals’ and were standard vestments – they match the stole.  Apparals are attached to the amice and alb by snaps; they are removed for laundering the amice and alb.

Notice also the much simpler orphrey arrangement on this Warham Guild stole – also very typical.

Here are your deacon’s stole pattern choices:

My Deacon’s stole patterns are straight – no miters. The stole is connected at the waist or hip by tying it in a half knot OR securing it with a handsome pin OR by adding a 3 inch connecting ‘tab’ – or chain. Below the connection, the stole flares to allow embroidery or other decoration placement.

Narrower Deacon’s Stole Pattern: The body of this stole is 3 ¼ inches wide with a flare beginning below the connection point. The width at the hem is 4 ½ inches – good room for decoration. Fabric may be cut 14 X 60 to give a 54 inch length.  Length should be about 6 inches above the shoe tops. Let me know if additional length is needed for taller deacons. Length will be affected if the stole is secured by a half knot.













Wider Deacon’s Stole Pattern: The larger Deacon’s stoles are designed to be visually proportional for use by men who wear a size 48 jacket or larger and for women who wear a size 18 jacket or larger. The body of the stole is 4 ½ inches wide and the bottom edge of the flare is 5 ½ inches wide.  Let me know if additional length is required for taller deacons. Length should be about 6 inches above the top of the shoes. Length will be affected by whether the stole is secured by a half knot.



Stole Lengths:

(No, I’m not talking about the length of stoles here.)  I’m offering you a large group of ‘stole lengths’.  ‘Stole lengths’ are pieces of fabric that will make one stole – with no large, expensive remnant left over.  I have always offered stole lengths of my polyester ($8) and my Dupioni silks ($12).  Now I’m offering a large group of stole lengths in the beautiful damasks, brocades and tapestries from M. Perkins.  (You can see pictures of these fabrics on my Fabrics page.)

You are more than welcome to purchase any (or all?) of these stole lengths.  If you would like, I can provide additional pieces – interfacing, lining, fringe, galloon.  If you do it that way, when you receive your stole length, everything you need will be in there – you can begin at once without any shopping around.

Now then: Yes.  I am perfectly willing to make up a Teaching Stole Kit using one of these more expensive stole lengths.   I don’t recommend it for your first stole and so, I won’t guarantee your success.   However, if you feel that your skills are up to it, go for it. I’ll make up the kit to your specifications.

Here is the list of stole lengths I have available 9/14.  (This list will change constantly.  If you want to see the up-to-date list, email me and I’ll send it along):


Cloister- 5     $25

Winchester – 1       $40

Glastonbury – 3      $40                                                                

Fairford – 8              $45

White/Gold Wakefield – 5           $65

Sets of 18 inch white/gold Venezia orphreys – 4     $10 


Ely Crown – 4 (slightly narrow – 4 inch priest’s stole or regular deacon’s stole)  $25

Cloister – 5   $25

Florence – 3             $45

Fairford – 1              $45

Sets of 18 inch orphreys: Winchester  red/gold Fairford, red Fairford $15 


Glastonbury             $40

Winchester              $40

Winchester – violet/silver             $40

Fairford – violet/gold                    $45

Sets of 18 inch orphreys: Ely ($7), Fairford ($15) and violet/gold Wakefield ($25) 


Ely       $25

Cloister          $25

Fairford         $45

Florence        $45

Green/Gold Wakefield     $65

Stole Kit – moss green Dupioni with Fairford orphreys -2

Pre-cut green/gold Wakefield priest’s stole   $65

Sets of 18 inch orphreys: Fairford, Florence, green/gold St. Margaret, green/gold ($15), Wakefield ($25) 


Ely – narrow            $25

Prospect – this is a domestic fabric and is the deepest possible blue.     $25

Fairford         $45

Black/silver Fairford – amazing as orphreys on black Dupioni with silver lining!  $45

Silver Roman Scroll – 4 


St. Aiden       $25

Blue/gold Fairford – 4 stole lengths 72 inches long  $55

Sets of 18 inch orphreys – blue/gold Fairford ($15) 

Gold –

Fairford – 3  $45

Cloth of Gold – 4

Roman Scroll (bright gold Lenten gold) – 3 each

Set of 18 inch Cloth of Gold Orphreys – 4

Set of 18 inch Roman Scroll Orphreys (bright gold and Lenten gold) – 3 each 

ROSE – This is the true liturgical rose

Winchester – 4       $40

Sets of 18 inch orphreys: Rose Florence ($15) 


Red Aragon orphreys – 1

Green Aragon orphreys – 2

Golden Verona orphreys – 1 


1 Green Winchester stole length with faintly visible imperfection

2 Green Fairford stole lengths with slightly scant Verona tapestry orphreys

1 Teal blue Dupioni silk stole length with golden Verona orphrey – deep red lining

2 Teal blue Dupioni silk stole lengths

2 Teal blue Dupioni silk stole lengths with persimmon linings

1 Blue tone-on-tone Prospect stole length and orphreys with fringe and galloon

1 Red St. Nicholas stole length – already cut

3 White polyester stole lengths with golden fleur de lys  orphreys

Note:  The fabric patterns available here are appropriate for constructing all of my stole patterns EXCEPT the wide deacon’s stole and the V-Back stole.  If you want to construct one of those, it can be done – we’ll have to talk about it.  For instance: I’ve just purchased back large remnants that a customer cannot use.  The fabric is the Venezia tapestry (which I love!) and it’s wide enough to make either a V-Back or a wide deacon’s stole.  So, add this to the list.

Note: You may notice that some of my damasks, brocades and tapestries are not offered as stole lengths – that’s because, while they can be made into lovely stoles to match a full vestment set, they don’t readily lend themselves to becoming stoles.  For instance: I’m not offering stole lengths in the St. Margaret pattern.  The dominating motif of St. Margaret are those great roses!  Those roses are 7 inches in diameter – they would look great on a stole that is 8 inches wide…………………  Some patterns work better for stoles than others – these are the ones I offer.

Dog-Leg Deacon’s Stoles

I don’t like dog-leg deacon’s stoles!

What we’re talking about on this website is making our own vestments – rather than purchasing them ready-made (at great expense). We need to be realistic about this. We need to evaluate what it is possible for us to do and what isn’t a good idea. This consideration is crucial to the construction of Deacon’s stoles BECAUSE the prevailing Deacon’s stole pattern presents construction difficulties.

The most common Deacon’s stole today is what is affectionately known as ‘The Dog-Leg deacon’s stole’. We’ve all seen it. They’re quite wide – 5 to 6 inches. And, they are made using three miters – one at the shoulder and two where the stole turns the corner at the waist or hip. I am here to tell you that those three miters are the very dickens to construct! (There is a way to reduce the three miters down to one miter by cutting the front and the back in one piece each. But, doing this requires a great deal of fabric. Instead of being able to cut four stoles from one fabric length, you can only cut one – and, if there’s a pattern, it won’t be the same, front to back.)

The dog-leg Deacon’s stole is not just ‘popular’ it’s become the ‘standard’ stole for Deacons. Which is too bad – because they’re the very dickens to make!

The problem is this: Commercially made Dog-leg Deacon’s stoles are built to be worn by professional models. The front and back of the upper/diagonal portion of a ready-made dog-leg stole are the same length. As well, the degree of the shoulder miter is sized for medium sized persons. It has come to my attention that Deacons aren’t always built like models! The problem with these dog-leg deacon’s stoles is that, unless your deacon is shaped like a professional model, it can’t fit properly. If your deacon is larger in the front than in the back, the upper front and back sections must be different lengths. If they’re not, the stole will probably gap unattractively or be stressed at the join at the side miters – that join stretches and pulls out. Same thing with the degree of the shoulder miter – the degree of the mitre needs to fit the breadth of the shoulder.

What’s the problem with miters? Miters contain many layers of fabric – face fabric, interfacing and lining – those seam allowances really stack up! In addition to being thick, all three layers must come together exactly. I would not recommend that intermediate seamstresses attempt a dog-leg Deacon’s stole. I flatly refuse to make them. I won’t.

I, personally, have two wonderful deacons. One is a woman – small boned and not tall – who wears a size 18 jacket because she has a generous bosom. The other is a fine broth of a man who wears a size 52 jacket for his large shoulders and a bit of a (ummmmmm) ‘tummy’ (230 pounds and 6’4”). Fitting a dog-leg Deacon’s stole to either one of these deacons is an extensive process.

You see, there didn’t used to be ‘deacon’s stoles’ – or, ‘priest’s stoles’ either – there were just ‘stoles’. The stole worn by the priest at the 8:00 service was worn again by the deacon at the 10:00 service. The only difference was that the priest wore the stole with the ends hanging straight down (or, crossed and/or caught into the cincture) and the deacon wore the SAME stole diagonally across the upper body and either tied in a half-knot or pinned with an attractive pin at the waist or hip.

It’s my theory that the ‘dog-leg’ Deacon’s stole was ‘invented’ when the Church began ordaining more Deacons. It occurred to somebody that there ought to be some sort of a ‘special’ stole, just for Deacons. And, these new ‘inventions’ sold very well! (Maybe I’m just being cynical.)

If your Deacon is not a professional model, you must develop a pattern that fits properly. That’s the first step. Cut the face fabric, interfacing and lining and fit them together in whatever order you think is best – depending upon whether you’re working with a four-piece pattern or a two-piece pattern. Turn the face fabric and lining in over the interfacing, pin and stitch – by hand. You can try the pillowcase method – a 5 inch wide stole is wide enough to allow that.

I don’t offer a pattern for dog-leg stoles – the patterns are individually designed – by you.

My New Deacon’s Stole pattern is the liturgically correct alternative to the ‘dog-leg’ Deacon’s stole pattern.  Although I showed you these pictures above, here they are again:













My straight Deacon’s Stole pattern is MUCH easier to construct than the dog-leg.  To my mind, the appearance is infinitely preferable.  The upper portion has the appearance of a diplomat’s sash and makes the stole hang smoothly without strenuous fitting. The flared portion below the half-knot gives plenty of room for attractive decoration  The set-back construction method is easily applicable.  The pattern makes best use of the fabric.

As I mentioned earlier, there are three ways to connect a deacon’s stole at the waist or hip:  Use a half-knot, insert a 2 – 3 inch tab between the ends or, secure the ends with a handsome pin (  Note: If you decide to secure the stole with a half-knot, you may prefer to substitute flannel for the interfacing.  ( A flannel interfacing will respond more softly to the half-knot.)

These pictures are of the regular Deacon’s Stole pattern.  Terry is 5′ 10″ and wears a size 42-long jacket.   The stole is 56 inches long.

Stole length is very important with deacon’s stoles.  I’m working now on a wide deacon’s stole for a man who is 6’4″ and wears a size 52 jacket.  His stole is 64 inches long.  Stoles that are tied, require 4 – 6 inches more length.   The body of the wider deacon’s stole pattern is one inch wider.  The hem width of the regular deacon’s stole is 4 1/2 inches.  The hem width of the larger deacon’s stole is 5 1/2 inches. The New Deacon’s stole pattern works well.   This pattern is handsome, easy to construct and makes efficient use of your fabric.

No.  I do not have a pattern for dog-leg deacon’s stoles.  You’ll have to do it yourself!