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Tapa cloth / Vestments

SisterT | Posted in General Discussion on

I posted a request for help when a friend asked me to make something out of a piece of tapa cloth.  She wanted a stole as part of Mass vestments for a celebration in Tonga (South Pacific).

Marijke and Shannon were very kind with suggestions.  The stole is finished, so I am posting pictures here.  I used a length of off-white curtain/upholstery fabric as the base and sewed the tapa into/onto that.   A few pieces of trimming and I had something I was happy with.

FYI: The tapa is the brown piece in the middle.  It is made from the bark of the mulberry tree.  As I understand it, each country of the South Pacific has its own distinctive tapa.  Usually it is painted with designs.  My friend did not put a design on hers.

THANK YOU for the encouragement.  I was afraid to cut into it and to sew it up, but it worked out in the long run.  I’ll post some other vestments that I have made in a separate file.

I don’t know how this works for people–if the file is too large let me know and I’ll try to break it down into more manageable chunks


Sr. Tracey


  1. ShannonG4d | | #1

    Great job!  The blue braid was just the right touch of color!

    I've not seen solid tapa before, only prints.  Isn't it an interesting fabric?  I was given to understand that, at one time, some types of tapa were made by chewing the fiber to soften it.  Imagine the amount of work to finish a length of cloth!  I don't think chewing is part of the production process anymore, however.

    Again, good job!


    1. SisterT | | #2


      I was anxious to hear your opinion.  I left the fold lines in the tapa because she has to pack the thing up to take it home again.  They can get the creases out when they are done traveling with it.

      I am glad you told me about the chewing AFTER I was finished handling it!  :)

      Sr. Tracey

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