This is the last set of vestment photos. This is where I went wild and crazy with patchwork. The base is merino wool and the fabric is raw silk. This was a gift for some sisters in Italy. I learned a lot about cutting my own bias tape, and about the absolute necessity of precise seam allowances on all those tiny squares.
Question: the piece on the back of the chasuble is one strip of silk. I am concerned about it eventually sagging. Is there a way to attach fusible interfacing to silk and not destroy the texture of the silk? Everything I have see bubbles after a drycleaning or two and I don’t want that. If anyone has recommendations re: interfacing weight, or clever ways to avoid sagging, I am all ears!
Also: I am just starting out in all of this–if anyone has suggestions for improvement on any of this, please let me know. It is something I do for fun and I am happy to learn how to do it better.
Wow, ST, these are all beautifully done. I never realized there was that much room for creativity with vestments.
Thank you. There is a lot of room for creativity in vestments. I had to get past thinking that there must be something terribly difficult about making them. It's a bunch of hemming, a straight line or two and a collar if you wish. And then you have this great big piece of fabric that is just begging for decoration. It's like a huge canvas....! :)
Sr. Tracey, I'm so glad to see your pieces! They are beautiful, not only to look at and be inspired, but also to show us exactly what you're describing. Regarding the piece with the silk you fear might sag, is it appliqued onto the wool base or is it pieced to it, basically hanging on its own? If it's got fabric, wool or anything else, behind it, you could quilt through both layers by hand or machine. That would prevent any shifting, and give you an opportunity to do some gorgeous stitching, BUT quilting can make the piece shrink, and your quilted portion might not hang "harmoniously" with the rest of the piece. Hmm, I don't know what I'm doing, but I don't seem to be able to get back to the picture you posted. As far as shrinkage, I had trouble with a fabric called "cotton lame' ". It has cotton threads ( red, blue, gold, etc.) running in one direction, and metallic thread (usually gold) running the other way. It is available in all of the chain stores, and Keepsake Quilting (great catalogue) has had an extensive color selection. Anyway, I have pieced it into bands and I have used it in bias strips on garments. When hit directly with the iron, it shrinks and/or bubbles because the metallic threads shrink, but I have had great success using a teflon "iron safe" on it. About $8, it is available everywhere, and attaches to the iron with a spring band. It diffuses the heat, I guess, and allows me to iron almost anything. Phew, enough! (I thought the cotton lame would be something you might use in your vestments; it give a lovely, subtle luster, very effective in little bits. I look forward to see what you are doing, and wish you luck ! Betsy
Thank you for the compliments and the suggestions. The red silk in back is stitched on the sides to the wool, but it is pretty wide and I think it is going to sag eventually. I wanted the look of a single piece, because I was afraid anything stitched down or quilted would compete too much with the pieced part on the front. If you look closely at the green chasuble, I did get around the fusible interfacing issue by alternating fabric directions and stitching a band across the seams. It stabilized the strip enough that I didn't feel that interfacing was necessary. AND it hid the fact that I had to piece together a front strip from scraps. The priest LIKED that fabric and I was forced to get a bit creative in order to be able to use it well. He's lucky he's a friend! :)
I should look up cotton lame' at the fabric store. I think what you described is exactly the problem I faced with the African cloth. I made a deacon's stole out of the border, HAD to stabilize that with interfacing, and simply got around the problem by cutting the piece larger, and let it shrink as it fused. The effect was kind of neat so I don't feel too bad.
There is a neat piece on Threads Online about bleaching designs into fabric. I read through that today and have all kinds of possibilities running through my head. This is SUPPOSED to be a hobby, not 24/7! Sigh. Who has time for real life, anyway? :)
As I said, thanks for the tips. This is fun.
Sr. Tracey, don't consider the time you spend sewing as frivolous; it is enriching the life of the person for whom you are sewing as well as making the worship service more beautiful for everyone who sees the vestments. Convinced? You are right; these garments are the perfect "canvas" for a creative needle worker. I have been singing with a choir for a year now. Our robes are a pale grey. Sometimes we wear stoles which are royal blue on one side and reverse to turquoise (bright turquoise!). Gulp. I considered all different solid colors. Though I'd like the input of other choir members, it hasn't been easy to find concensus among the 16 members. Our minister wears a black robe and a stole made from tapestry material showing children of all races. (It was actually the basis of a wonderful children's sermon showing how the same threads were used to create all of the different hair, eye, and skin colors). Our lay leader wears the grey choir robe with a stole made from a decorator print, basically floral. We want to harmonize- visually- with them, on a budget, of course! Trying some fabric bleaching or other dyeing process might be a good idea. And this is how we arrive at the 24-7 stage! If you have trouble with bias strips on other projects, you might want to try the bias tube method used by Philomena Wiecheck (that spelling may be way off, but she does Celtic quilting; libraries should have her book). Let me know if you want to know more about this method; I find it works well with hard to handle fabrics. There was a Threads article by or about Kaffe Fasset (sp?) showing fabric "collage". Pieces were overlapped and then bias tubes were stitched down over the seam's raw edge. Must get back to the sewing room. Good luck! Betsy
I learned how to make my own bias strips for the silk and wool project. It is really quite easy.
Suggestion for the choir robes: Don't make reversible stoles. Make something nice for one side and line it. One of our sisters made BEAUTIFUL lectern/pulpit banners, but in the interest of saving storage space she made them reversible. Now every time we use one of her creations, the opposite side gets the wear and tear of that usage as well. It does not always occur to the artists that people might want to have those creations around for years and years!
I can see where the fabric bleaching would have potential for choir robe stoles--a soft design that breaks up the solid color and does not compete with other vestments used in the liturgy. Hmmm......!
Sr. Tracey, I'm starting to think about the choir stoles as "canvas" for fiber creativity rather than finding one special fabric (translation:expensive!), not a print, not a solid, etc. for all 16 stoles. Ideas are coming non-stop; thanks for the inspiration! I'm also wondering if I could tie this fiber project to a summer art-education class I'm taking, and/or youth group activities. One thing leads to another, and it all reinforces the community building spirit we are working toward. I hope to post "show and tell" pictures, will shoot for December, I think. I look forward to seeing your vestments; your shots from afar and close-up were just what we stitchers want to see. Thanks, Betsy
I seem to remember that in the online article about fabric bleaching there was a photo of a dress where someone had used the fabric bleaching technique and then stenciled color after the bleaching--some beautiful work. For autumn, easter and Christmas this could be quite a posibility.... I'll go hunting and see where I saw the photos!
I don't know how to refer you directly to a past Threads posting, but if you type "bleach" into the "search" window, the third posting that pops up should look something like this: Inspired byThreads. This is not new, but I've never photographed ...Look at the dress and see is that is something along the lines of what you are thinking.....
I don't know who "Tish" is, but I love her work! :)
Sr. Tracey, that worked perfectly, I just clicked on your lead and found the posting. My only problem was being patient while the picture came up; I felt like I was watching the garden grow. The colors and design on Tish's dress are lovely! This gives me another idea to add to the file. I'm getting very excited to work on the stoles. Thanks! Betsy
I like to think of my fabric painting as "a little craft project that got out of control." First I was just going to use tie-die techniques to discharge the color in black tee shirts. Then I was buying stencils, then I was buying fabric paints, then I was designing my own stencils.
The article that tells about fabric discharging with household bleach is in Threads #72 (September 1997) "Dyeing With Bleach" by Lois Ericson. Household bleach will discharge colors from natural fibers. You can't know what the bleached color will be until you try because the fabrics are dyed in layers. You get the best results with a just-opened bottle of bleach. Fortunately, bleach is cheap. "Control" is more of a notion than a reality.
Try this: paint Jacquard brand fabric dyes (their tempra-like texture makes them ideal for this) onto natural materials like leaves and flat flowers. Place the painted items on your fabric and press evenly. I good way to apply pressure is to put a double layer of paper towels over the leaf (or flower) and then go over it with a rolling pin. Carefuly lift up the paper towels and the object. You have a probably beautiful monoprint. I've done this with autumn leaves, copying the leaves' actual colors, and it looks great. (There is a traditional Japanese fabric printing technique that uses whole fish this way.)
Tish, I'll bet the fish monoprints are pretty cool, but I'd hate to see the fish after the rolling pin!
Sister Tracey, I love your work and am delighted you're posting photos of the finished pieces. Vestments are, indeed, the perfect canvas for all sorts of embellishment techniques, so you're bound to have years of fun designing stoles and chasubles and experimenting with surface design.
Carol, I've seen videos of the fish technique. No rolling pins. Paint fish; press fabric down on fish; smooth with hands. However, I got a cleaner print from plant material when I did use the rolling pin.
The fish has a certain appeal, though, doesn't it, for hangings for the sanctuary or narthex?
Well, that's a great relief to me and to the fish, I'm sure! You probably get more prints out of each fish that way, too.
One of the art supply catalogue sells a rubber fish for printing.. It is either Nasco or sax.
sarah in nyc
Now this fits my sense of humor--I start with posting my vestment pictures and the thread goes to running rolling pins over fish! :)
Love your vestments Sr. Tracey, and sense of humor!
Tish, what plant material and ink did you use? An artist acquaintance showed me the fish method. I think she used India ink, but it's been too long ago to be certain--she smoothed/rolled it over the fabric w/her (gloved) hands IIRC. At the time, the fish was rather expensive to not eat, and they have a limited life/reuse factor for prints, too, so as nice as they looked, I didn't feel the need to try it on my own.
Kai, I have used leaves and a few daisy-like flowers. The best results I've gotten have been with autumn leaves where I've used the leaves' own coloring as my guide in applying the dye.
I use Jacquard brand fabric dyes. Dharma Trading sells them, and they're available in some craft stores. They are formulated for silk painting but I have used them on cotton and linen with great results. The thing I like is that they have the texture of tempra paints and are easy to apply with a brush. They are set with heat, so I iron my finished prints and I'm good to go.
I've watered down these dyes and used them for immersion dying. It's not what they're designed for. I get a mottled or streaked effect in the finished color. I made a sash for a costume where I over-printed the mottled green with monoprints of St. John'swort leaves. That was nice.
My church is set back off the road in a heavily treed lot. One summer, when I was doing kid-care during services, I took the kids out to pick leaves, then we did mono-prints on 7x9 muslin with ribbon s at the corners. I tied the prints together into a long banner and we hung them in the lobby of our Meeting House for the remainder of the summer. We had a couple of kinds of oaks, maple, sassafrass, some blackberry leaves (ouch!), willow, catalpa, and a few that I don't know.
Of course, I don't have pictures of these. Maybe I can get a picture of a leaf print jacket I made for my mother. I think my dad still has all of her clothes.
Thanks for all the tips, Tish. I hope you can find a pic of the leaf print jacket.
Fish prints are really not so difficult as I had my kindergarten students do it on pieces of unbleached muslin. We used a frozen fish for several years that one of the parents donated just for that purpose. The children painted the fish with fabric paints -I didn't necessarily provide "appropriate" fish colors. Some finished more quickly than others so there was quite a variety. One of the more artistic mothers took the finished products home and, with a permanent fineline marker, sketched in "identifying marks" as needed but not enough to destroy evidence that it was a child's project. They were really special and I probably displayed them at school longer than necessary as I enjoyed looking at them! I know that several parents had them framed.
So, you just washed the fish and refroze it? What a good idea!
On a scale of one to ten, this line of discussion is pretty funny! Tish, I'm glad to get your advice, and will go upstairs and pull out the old Threads issue, I hope! As far as the fish image... even with the Christian fish reference, I think I'd feel squeamish. As a vegetarian who doesn't eat fish, it seems pretty odd to use one for embellishment. The plant option leafs me feeling much better! (sorry, I'll stop). That would suit our congregation too, we have many nature enthusiasts. A little different approach I might try was suggested in a recent integrating-arts-in-the-curriculum workshop. I think that this process is known as chromatography (?): Take a strip of muslin. Draw a line parallel to the short end, a few inches in from the edge, using a black marker. Hang the edge of the fabric in a jar of water. The water wicking up into the fabric causes the black ink to separate into color bands. See the web site http://www.itsjustabox.com/sciencefair for a better explanation. One teacher had sewn together the stips from each of her students to make a class "kente cloth", worn when someone was being honored in class. Cool, eh? Now should we go back to the fish discussion, just for the halibut? Betsy
I don't know why I threw the fish in there-- I wish I'd thrown in the towel!
Oh, yeah, I was brainstorming about fabric embellishment.
I've seen fish prints on fabric before, and they are fascinating due to all of the patterns and textures. Here's a challenge to all followers of this thread: what other item could be used to create such distinct patterns? I'd like to find something from nature, hopefully flat; I think that pinecones are gorgeous, but I'm not sure how rolling an imprint would work. The beauty of the fish is that you don't have to enlarge or minimize, you can just print to scale! (sorry, I thought I was fin-ished with that last night...)
Ah-ha! Red Cabbage cut in two! If you get a fresh one, you don't even need dye. Printing in roes might be fun. rjf
RJF, printing with red cabbage sounds like a wonderful idea!I wonder what color results from the cabbage. Does it turn salmon if I print in roes? Perhaps Sr. Tracey could use monkfish if she continues making vestments. My daughter came home from her summer camp counselling job today, excited because they had printed with... you guessed it! They rolled tempra paint onto rubber fish, put rice paper on top, and rubbed to get the details. (good tactile activity for visually impaired children). They then painted over the fish prints with glittery blue water color paint, and finally qglued sand and shells to the scene. I'm sorry if this has strayed too far from the original topic, but I think that many fiber workers also work with children, and might enjoy this project. Red cabbage, got it. Thanks! Betsy
Betsy, you are out of control! :) Thanks for the laugh! Tish--may I add my voice to the chorus asking you to post a picture of the leaf-print jacket? Your banner sound beautiful!
Sr. Tracey, we are all lucky that this is the closest I get to fishing, making feeble puns that is. Just out of curiosity, what do you do when that little red and white plastic orb indicates that you have a fish on the line when it starts bobbin' in the water? Please, know that if you respond, I can't stop. Heeeelp! Betsy
I shared your monkfish line with my community. They thought is was good--one of our sisters is an incurable punster. She is glad to know that there are more like her in the world! The rest of us hope you two never meet! :)
I have one last chasuble going right now--It was supposed to be plain white, but we can't have that, can we?! It will be the last one for a while. The forces of evil are sending me back to the Washington, DC area to complete a dissertation. I have been informed that the sewing machine is NOT going along, and that I will be frisked at the door for fabric, thread and embroidery floss. Pray for me, people! :)
When you get to the DC area post to us here. I'd be happy to loan you one of my machines any time you needed a fix!!! Mary Ann in NoVA
Mary Ann beat me to it. I'm in the DC area too. You can come to my house to sew. Maybe we ought to meet at the La Madelaine in Rockville for a cup of coffee. That's the french bakery/cafe that just happens to be right next door to G Street Fabrics. Talk about temptation!
Where are you enrolled? What's you dissertation about? Are you defending, or are you just starting?
I will be passing through Ohio (Loudonville) on my way East. Maybe a clandestine meeting can be arranged, where a machine changes hands?! :)
Tish and Mary Ann--I know of TWO G-Street Fabrics, one in Rockville and one in Northern Virginia. My parents lived in Alexandria/Anndale for a while. My doctorate, if I ever finish, will be out of Catholic University in Washington, DC. My field is theology. I started back in 1994, so I am supposed to be writing right now. I spent the past five years teaching at the undergraduate seminary for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. I loved it, but it was pretty obvious that the job was all-consuming and the dissertation was not going to write itself. I am taking time off now to write. My "home" will be in Emmitsburg. A friend has offered space in her apartment. But--I will be down in the DC area on a regular basis. Tish--when I am ready for some fresh, creative air, I'll let you know! Maybe some other people will want to meet at La Madeleine as well?! :)
My machine, a 1963 (?) Elna, will be in the shop while I am gone. Someone gave it to us because they were getting a new machine; I cleaned it up and it works fine. It needs to get a good once-over, though. I am not being forced to go back and finish--I asked for the time off, so my remarks about the forces of darkness should be taken with a grain or two of salt. It is generous of the sisters to give me this time.
We have an unusual habit--If you see a redheaded nun, dressed in a black polyester suit, white blouse and a black pillbox hat (we were founded in 1964...), come up and say hello!
This thread is just too fun.
A practical question, though. I'm working on a stole for a soon-to-be priest to commemorate a mission trip to Mexico we just did. (hand embroidered in bright colors with images from our trip) I haven't quite figured out how to do the back part that goes around the neck. Some seem to be straight, some curved. Have any advice?
Pomona, back to vestments, and it's about time! I'm not sure how stoles for priests differ from the choir stoles we use, but ours are simply two long rectangles. 4.5" x 41.5". These were made to be reversible. The two rectangles were made, then the ends were overlapped at right angles (so there is a 4.5" square at the intersection that is 4 layers thick). A square is topstitched through all layers to hold them together. A mitered seam in the back would probably look very nice, but this is an extremely easy design...and why I'm considering making an alternate set of 16 new ones. Your project sounds lovely. Can you post pictures? Good luck!
Edited 7/9/2003 6:00:30 PM ET by Betsy
Betsy beat me to it, and she managed the whole reply without one pun. The therapy seems to be working!
If this is your first stole and you are a little nervous about fit, I would suggest that you pick up Simplicity pattern #7950. There are options for the mitered back and a rounded back. I would recommend a mitered back. Usually the rounded back is for under the chasuble. Make a quick cheap stole off the pattern, find a man who is about the size of the priest-to-be, adjust the angle in back, if you wish, to where it is something you like, and also check for the length. The pattern makes a LONG stole, if I remember correctly (I have monkied around with it a lot!).
All of that fusible interfacing is a PAIN but worth it in the long run.
Good luck! The priests I know really appreciate the hand-made personal stoles.
Like the others, I would like to see a picture--and if you have any questions...!
Emmitsburg is one of the most beautiful parts of the state, and when a state encompasses the Chesapeake Bay, the Atlantic shore, and the Appalachian mountain range, that's saying a lot! I hope that you find great inspiration living there.
I'm doing history and religious studies--not theology--at the University of Maryland. I was immersed in the literature of the Maya when I got an email from a friend who is finishing her dissertation in Art History and trying to schedule her defense. She couldn't find a single day when her entire committee could be in the same room at the same time. She asked me, "Do you know of any gods of calendars and schedules? Should I make a sacrifice?" I responded that the Maya gods ARE the calendar--but was her defense date worth a human sacrifice? My caution seems to have sunk in because she patiently went back to work and scheduled a date for September. (And there are no reports of missing persons in the Art History department.)
I am so glad this discussion of vestments came up, even though I've been one of the main side-trackers. The hints I've stole-n from you (Hah! Becky) will help me with the woven stoles for my co-ministers. The mitered corner or the overlapping squares would be better suited to the hand-woven fabric than shaping with darts. I think I can get that project back on track now.
Emmitsburg sounds beautiful. I think we drove through once on the way to Gettysburg, but it is a part of the country and a part of the state of Maryland that I have not had the chance to explore. The camera comes along!
Found my project for evenings! I just opened the new issue of Threads (Sept. 2003), and the article on repeat and reverse embellishments might be the very thing. My attraction to the Northern Virginia G Street Fabrics (Mary Ann) was their silk ribbon selection. I was stitching up a storm. I was also playing with beads and I have saved some very cool beads along the way, things that were rolling around in the bottom of boxes when we sorted clothing, etc. AND I use braids on my vestments, and I like to play with different textures. Hmmmmm....This project looks like it will be satisfying, but detailed enough that I will only do a little bit at a time, leaving SOME time in the day for a dissertation! :)
I wish they had shown a picture of the whole jacket. I wonder if that much braid work would get too heavy on one piece? Maybe it would work on the collar I put on the chasubles? Any ideas?
Tish, I wish I could have spent more time in religious studies, and I love history too. It seems that your studies would provide you with a whole array of symbols and different ways of looking at reality. Sounds like heaven to me! :)
I am going to start a new thread, "Braid Embellishments," and see if we can't get a discussion going on that....
To all who are following this thread, please note that it was not I who "monkied" around" with the stole for the clergyman! Betsy
Sr. T., you're being sent without a machine?!? I think I hear a calling, to come from Ohio and meet you all in the cafe! If necessary, we could lower supplies and a machine over the wall to you. (where did I get this image?) Can't wait to see the current project, Betsy
Betsy, thanks for the chromatography link (and all the puns!) which didn't work but this one does. Fascinating.
Dear Sr. Tracey,
I like your work too! I read here regularly, but don't post often because I do not do garment making very much, and that's where most of the posts are focused. Most of my fabric work these days is weaving.
A year ago I wove a ten-yard-long strip of fabric for matching stoles for the co-ministers of my Unitarian Universalist church. I asked another member of the congregation to actually sew the stoles because I was squeamish about cutting into my creation! I don't know if the stoles have been sewn. In fact, I don't know if the co-ministers like the fabric. The female half of the pair chose the fibers for the stoles. Her husband might have had a negative reaction to the finished product. One of the problems I had in conceptualizing a finished stole was in the shape of the neck and shoulders. All the stoles they showed me were rounded in the back, and would have required several darts in the hand-woven fabric. Your stoles create a shoulder drape with a mitered corner. I like that!
Here's a link to a picture of the stole material:http://forums.taunton.com/tp-gatherings/messages?msg=1535.79
I like the weaving, and it never occured to me to search "stoles" when I logged on. I was curious to see what people have done for liturgical/worship service vestments.
Some of the stoles we have are rounded in the back as well. There is a Simplicity pattern for cutting the rounded back, but it would be difficult if you are weaving in narrow strips. Catholics generally use the rounded-back stoles under the chasuble. When the stole is worn on the outside (again, generally speaking), the mitered back is used. The Simplicity pattern also provides for this style. The mitered back would work well with your weaving. The only problem is matching all those blasted strips in the miter! My vocabulary was somewhat "colorful" when I was working on that part of the tapa stole!
There is a monk in Missouri who weaves beautiful cloth. He is working on a piece for us, but I don't know how quickly it will get done.... Will get caught up on "real life" until that little bit of creative space arrives in the mail! :)
Just saw a wonderful exhibit at the LA County Museum of "Luxury Textiles East and West." If you go to the website http://www.lacma.org and look under exhibits there's a wonderful picture of a Dalmatic in the exhibition.
Wow! Thank you! The dalmatic is incredible--and you know all that embroidery is hand done. I am glad the exhibit will be there for a while, because I am in exile all the way across the country! :)
I am going to post a general message about the exhibit. I think there are some other So California people who might want to know about it.
Why is it that I can sew all day long and have energy, and I sit down for twenty minutes to work on my dissertation and I am asleep?! :)
The exhibit is very small, but there are some wonderful things in it. One was a Chinese headpiece embroidered with something called "needle loop lace." Was similar to reticella or another needle lace, but the stitches were so tiny I couldn't figure out how it was done. The card on it said that it was a popular technique for about 50 years in the 1700s.
Also at LACMA is an exhibit on Mongol art, especially in Iran. Some wonderful examples of textiles and tent hangings.
Sounds wonderful. I was in Italy this summer and the vestments from the 17-1800s have the finest embroidery--faces that are perfectly tinted. The thread is super-fine. The stitching is amazing, but there has to be an incredible gift for painting as well. There is such perfection in the features on the faces and in everything that surrounds them. What a combination of gifts.
I also went and saw the exhibition at the Getty on 15th century Flemish illuminations, mostly from psalters and prayer books. They are absolutely luminous. Would love to figure out how to transfer that to embroidery, especially the frame work which in the Flemish style is realistic flowers and bugs with dimension and shadow and LOTS of gold.
"...Why is it that I can sew all day long and have energy, and I sit down for twenty minutes to work on my dissertation and I am asleep?! :) "
It means you're normal. If you've decided what to say, you've done the fun part. The hard part is how to say it. Endless decisions and it's so hard to know if what you've written will make sense to anyone else. Do you have someone to read as you go along? It would be good to have someone's input as you're writing. If you need to explain as your reader reads, it might clarify what or how to write it. rjf
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