Clergy Stole

 

What a joy it was  to make this stole for our young, exceptional pastor! He has   the wisdom, powerful teaching and Biblical understanding of a much older, more experienced pastor.  Our church is growing in leaps and bounds with his leadership.

Sunday in  the pulpit he wears a suit and tie. A traditional black robe hangs in his closet, but he said he doesn’t wear it because without a stole he looks like a judge.  Hmmmm…I thought, I could make one!   How hard could it be?  How long could it take?

Well, let me tell you this one was not hard but it did take a very long time.   Operator error again.  I made so many mistakes!

Whenever I take on a project unlike any I have made, I like to research the subject to get a comprehensive view of just what is involved.  Google took me to a lot of blogs and sites for free patterns.  Pinterest took me on that same route. Both have numerous free patterns, mostly labeled quick and easy.  I didn’t want quick an easy.  I wanted good.  So I looked further.

 

 

Again and again, the name Elizabeth Morgan came up,  listing her patterns and  book, Sewing Church Linens.  Aha!  I had purchased that book in anticipation of working with my dear Aunt Rheeta to make a communion cloth for her church.   But the book did not address stole making.

 

 

At her web site, www.churchlinens.com,  there were so many inspiration photos.  I read about her stole teaching kit and called to order it. What a charming lady she is!  She feels strongly that, for so many reasons, church vestments should be sewn by the congregation.  It is a blessing for both the sewists and the church to use their talents for the glory of God.

During our lovely and lengthy chat, I learned that Elizabeth is 82 years old and  has been making clergy stoles and church vestments for 30 years.  She is the stole guru I had been seeking!  She is without question the guru with decades of experience and one who teaches seminars around the country on the subject of church sewing.  Elizabeth Morgan is one who is willing to hold my hand and mentor me as I began this new sewing adventure.

In our chat, Elizabeth dircted me to Deb Schneider at Windstar Embroidery Designs.  Deb has digitized classic and vintage liturgical embroidery designs from an 1850 book of hand embroidery liturgical designs. Windstar also offers a huge variety of other designs, but my focus was on the religious category.

Wow!  This site was had me planning a baptism stole, a communion stole, stoles for weddings, advent, Easter, Pentecost and more!  (Can you see how I get a little carried away?)  I ordered this design (along with several 2  yard cuts of dupioni in white, green, red and gold).  And now I’m thinking about making pulpit drapes and more from the scraps.

 

The design is spectacular and stitches perfectly. My only problem was that the default size for a stole is 4″ wide x 54″ long from the shoulder.  This design, like most, is offered for hoop sizes 4 x 4, 5 x 7, and two other larger sizes.  The 4 x 4 size stitches out at  1.57″ wide and 3.57″ in height.  I needed no wider than 4″ but  I wanted the design to be larger.

A tidbit from Elizabeth Morgan:  the design should be identifiable from the middle row of pews.  This cross when stitched in the 4×4 size would be 1.5″ wide and 3.5″ high, certainly not be recognizable from the middle pew row, even in a small church.

Deb offered to resize this beautiful cross to whatever measurements I wanted!  She did so immediately, widening it to 3.5″ x  7.88.  She also offered me some valuable advice and was extremely helpful and friendly.  What incredible customer service!

I will be a regular Windstar customer, for church designs and others.

Though the stole teaching kit came with true purple silk dupioni, I was nervous about making my first stole with just one piece of fabric which left no room for error.  As it turned out, I had almost 5 yds. of this magenta dupioni in my stash, just longing to be used.

Two pieces of dupioni are cut lengthwise about 57″ long and 6″ wide.  So in theory I could make 3 stoles from one 57″ length.  It was reassuring to have that plenty of extra fabric.  And it was a good thing I did!

Soooo many mistakes were made.  For example, after incorrect cross design placement on one side, I decided to cut the dupioni 14″ wide.  Then I could embroider the crosses at the hem in one hooping.  This also guaranteed that they would be equal distance from the hem.

After stitching the first cross, I began the second.  Halfway through the design I discovered that the lengthy yard-long far end of the stole had become folded under the hoop when I changed the bobbin.  I had stitched through both ends of the stole.  Yikes!  Again and again, I made mistakes.  From my 5 yds. of magenta dupioni, I probably have enough fabric to make one more stole. And perhaps some pulpit drapes with my huge pile of scraps.

A few personal touches were added.  On the lining Psalm 19:13 is embroidered.

 

“Let the words of my mouth and the medation of my head be acceptable in Thy sight, my Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.” Psalm 19:14. This scripture is available to be sent to you by leaving your request as a comment on this blog post.

 

On the opposite side our pastor’s name is embroidered, just in case he leaves it behind at Ruby Tuesday’s after church.

 

 

While I worked and worked on this, my to-do list has grown.  So I won’t be starting another stole any time soon.  But I do have all that pretty dupioni and there are all the gorgeous designs from Windstar.  I can’t wait to start again.

 

 

26 responses to “Clergy Stole

  1. Betty Ludwig

    Janice, what a beautiful clergy stole this is; I love the color and the embroidery designs and especially the scripture on the lining. You continue to amaze me with how busy you stay sewing and creating things for others. You inspire me!

  2. Neva Christensen

    I’m sorry to read of all the problems you encountered, but I must congratulate you on the wonderful stole you made! It is sew beautiful!!!

  3. Betty, thank you for your kind words. There is a special joy in sewing something like this stole. One of the many things I learned from Elizabeth is about the symbolism of the stole. Elizabeth Morgan said that in the OldTestament there are something like 42 references to the yoke, which is what a stole is. Those references were all about how people wore the yoke of sin, the yoke of oppression, etc. In the New Testament there are few (perhaps two, she knew the exact numbers but I don’t remember). These references are to the yoke of salvation, the yoke of forgiveness. So when a pastor wears a stole, symbolically he wearing the yoke of salvation which is available to all believers. Isn’t that a beautiful reason for pastors to wear one?

  4. Thank you, Neva. I’m glad the pastor was pleased and a little bit glad that he knows nothing about sewing! In this case, ignorance was bliss.

  5. from Martha Pullen forum: Beautiful. Love the cross/lily design.

  6. from Martha Pullen forum: Yes, the cross/lilly design is outstanding. Love what you did with the stole, it is beautiful!

  7. from Martha Pullen forum: Beautiful!

  8. from Martha Pullen forum: Gorgeous work, Janice. We are our own worst critics – everything looks perfect to me as it did to your pastor. Glad you got to do this for him and I predict a new genre of sewing for you which will be a blessing to all. I must look more closely at Windstar, I’ve taken quick looks now and then but your experience with her makes me want to buy from someone so customer oriented. I always enjoy reading your blog, and it was true again today. Such antics from the children and the dogs!

  9. Elizabeth Morgan –

    Matthew 11:28
    “Come to me, all you that travail and are heavy laden and I will give you peace. Bend your necks to my yoke, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble-hearted; and your souls will find relief. For my yoke is good to bear and my load is light.”

  10. from Martha Pullen forum: Thank you for sharing your stole journey!! You are one amazing woman, Janice!!! Your stole is just wonderful!!!

  11. from Martha Pullen forum: Your work is fantastic! Love it!

  12. Thank you, Elizabeth!!! This is just the scripture I was looking for. Thanks again for all your help and encouragement.

  13. I’m with your Pastor…the stole is perfect! You did a beautiful job.

  14. Thank you, Seabean, but I could point out that one cross is off center by almost 3/8″, the hand hem around the perimeter is uneven, etc. But I won’t/ I’ll jsut say thanks!

  15. lol!!!! We are our worst critics. I’m sure a “store bought” one would have little differences too…but we never look at them that close. A whole 3/8″ ! lol Please…just look at how beautiful it is.

  16. from Barbara: Beautiful!! And I know you made your Pastor so happy. You are truly a special lady!!

  17. from Martha Pullen forum: Janice, THANK YOU!!!! I have been searching for a website for communion cloth designs and your timing couldn’t have been more perfect!! Have gone through Windstar and bookmarked it. We are away so will be a while before I can order, but have material and all waiting for me back home!!!! Thank you again!!

  18. from Martha Pullen forum: I especially like the reference in your blog from Elizabeth Morgan … church vestments should be sewn by the congregation. It is a blessing for both the sewists and the church to use their talents for the glory of God.
    I agree!! You did a wonderful job, the dupioni is just gorgeous – what a great ‘canvas’ for the embroidery. What a lovely gift.

  19. from Martha Pullen forum: It is lovely.

  20. from Martha Pullen forum: For sure Elizabeth Morgan’s church linen website and her stole kit are the way to go… beautiful job

  21. from Martha Pullen forum: OH WOW, you did a gorgeous job!! It is perfect!!

  22. Beautiful job. Growing up as a Southern Baptist, our preachers never wore/wear robes or stoles. I am sure your preacher really appreciates the time & effort that goes into each and every stole. A labor of respect & love.

  23. Beautiful work, Janice, as always.

    I have used Windstar ecclesiastical designs for communion linens, stitched in 50 weight cotton thread. Many of them have a vintage look that resembles padded satin stitch hand embroidery.

    Last week I combed through Elizabeth Morgan’s web site, after our interim pastor told me she did not have a blue stole for Advent. I have Miss Morgan’s book as a reference for altar guild work. The web site is a treasure trove of information, but I wasn’t quite brave enough to order a kit. After seeing your lovely work, I may be ready to attempt it.

    Thanks for sharing and for the inspiration!

  24. Thanks, Beckie, I didn’t know Baptists did not wear stoles. Do they wear robes? Suddenly I am very interested in knowing about liturgical vestments. My pastor was so appreciative. I can’t wait to make another.

  25. Thank you, Nancy, for your kind words. I’m glad to know that you had already found and used Windstar designs. It would take waaaaay too long to tell you about my miscellaneous complications but Deb Schneider spent so much time helping me. She is reason enough to patronize Windstar, but the designs are absolutely spectacular and stitch out flawlessly. Elizabeth Morgan is equally helpful. I also have her Church Linens book and found it to be an invaluable resource when I was helping my Aunt Rheeta make communion linens for her church. But stoles were a whole new area for me and I love it! Elizabeth’s teaching kit is wonderful and complete. With silk dupioni (her preferred fabric for stoles) for both the stole and the practice piece she includes, you actually work with these lovely fabrics. Her very extensive instruction book goes into great detail and includes a very interesting history of stoles and church linens. I first tried to contact her from the “contact me” link on her web site but that does not work most of the time. Finally I tracked down her phone number and we chatted for the longest time. She is so enthusiastic and eager to help. I hope you order the kit and have a great experience making a stole. Please let me know how it goes. P.S. Sorry to be so slow to reply but we were in NC for a week with limited internet access. I am just now catching up with messages, laundry, etc.

  26. No robes for Southern Baptist preachers, except for special occasions. Perhaps for weddings, instead of a tux, if requested. During baptisms (immersion) the pastor will wear a white robe, as do the person being baptized. Sprinkling, non-immersion baptism, is not recognized as biblical. The only symbol Baptists use on any thing is a simple cross, as on the cloth that is on the Lord’s Supper (communion) table. I left my Baptist church about 20 yrs ago because I could no longer agree with many of the doctrines. While I miss many of the folks, I don’t miss many other aspects that I won’t go into.

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