Category Archives: church projects

Baptismal Towels

 

Do you have more than one project in progress?  I have stacks– some must be done NOW, some are handwork for when I watch tv with my husband, some are mindless chores like hemming for when I’m on the phone, some I put aside for one reason or another.

Still, in the midst of a looming deadline and other pressing matters, I took the time to embroider 6 hemstitched linen guest towels for upcoming baptisms at our church.  I had customized the design sometime ago for a newly ordained pastor. So it was just a matter of hooping up my stash of linen guest towels and embroider them.  It was so satisfying to stitch something simple and meaningful in the midst of all the sewing busy-ness.

You might recall my story that our church was struck by lightning and burned to the ground several years ago.

 

 

As you can see, nothing remained.  The only survivors were three heavy brass collection plates.  They have been box framed under glass and hang in  the narthex of our rebuilt building.  A one word caption is inscribed on a plaque beneath each one–STILL    ON    FIRE.  But  now, for God.

In time, the church was rebuilt, but just with the basics.  None of the lovingly made linens and other niceties made by members in the 50 year church history survived.  One of my personal missions is to restock the church with lovingly made paraments, banners and linens.

At a recent baptism, it was clear that towels were needed.

I was reminded of my grandchildren’s desire to be baptized, after witnessing the sacrament administered to 5 adults.  For the children’s sermon, they were lined up on the floor for an up close view and a brief explanation.

In the car on the ride home from church there was discussion about the service. in a clear voice, 8 yo Laurel announced that she wanted to be baptized.  When Robert was asked if he, too, would like this, he replied, “Well, maybe but without so much water.”

A few months later they were baptized, with less, but sufficient water.

3 yo Alastair was not one to miss a photo op with his cousins

 

In the next few weeks there will be more baptisms at our new church.  Regardless of how much water is used, there will be towels to dry the holy water.

Now, to work toward that looming deadline.

What are you stitching?

 

 

Lenten Church Paraments

 

These Lenten paraments were made at the request of our pastor for our River City Church of DeBary.   The   purple fabric reflects the liturgical color for this season.

The embroidery is another beauty from  Windstar Embroidery Designs which has an enormous selection of spectacular liturgical designs.  This one is offered in two sizes, the smaller for the side-hanging bookmarks and the larger for the pulpit scarf.

 

Additionally, the cross drape, seen on the far right, was included in the set.  It is a 4 yards by 45″.  The set was hung the day before Ash Wednesday.

I’ve been sewing for many, many years and created a variety of items from clothing to quilts to home dec.  But none of this experience seemed helpful as I ventured into the world of stitching church paraments.  There are so many things that go into making what looks like a simple project. Continue reading

Sewing Ho-Hum and Holy Holy

Life at our house goes on at a breakneck pace, causing me to neglect posting as regularly as I would like.  But my sewing room is a beehive of unreported activity, not all of it very interesting.

Wouldn’t you love to sew only creative, fun items?  Does anyone get to do that?   Check out an earlier ho-hum post for an interesting view of what constitutes fun sewing elsewhere, like  “baju kurung, kebaya, punjabi suit.” Just how much fun would it be to sew a punjabi suit? More fun than I had with these projects.

HO-HUM SEWING

 

But duty calls and I have a running list of  ho-hum sewing which is in addition to routine mending.  These ho-hums become occasions for which my sewing machines can actually save some money.  While there is no creative satisfaction, there is the satisfaction of contributing to the family, being a helpmate to my dear husband, and  satisfaction in proving that my Brother Dream Machine is more than just an expensive toy.

 

Mending pool leaf filter baskets….yawn…

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Feeling the Need

5 banners in celebration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation

 

Have you ever felt called to do something, regardless of the fact that you had little or almost no free time?  And when the nagging feeling would not go away, you just rolled up your sleeves and got to it?  There is a whole backstory to this endeavor at the end of the post.  That story is not about sewing, but about the need  to sew.

That’s what pulled me from my busy-ness to make these five banners.  Five hundred years ago on October 31, 1517, Martin Luther posted his 95 Theses on the  door of the Wittenburg Castle Church in Germany.  This launched the Reformation, the essence of which is expressed by the five “Solas”  which are illustrated in the five banners.

One side of our sanctuary has 4 stained glass windows, in shades of blue and gold.

 

wall opposite the new banners

 

But the opposite wall is common to the Fellowship Hall so no windows could be installed.  It was just blank, except for two lights and some electrical devices.

So what called me?  Firstly, the blank wall which begged for some visible inspiration.  Secondly, a gut feeling that I had to sew more for my church.  We are commanded to share our talents, but I can’t sing so the choir was not an option.  Sewing is my best gift and I had done some other sewing for the church.  So sewing is what I needed to do.

As I rolled up my sleeves, our dynamic young pastor suggested that a banner for each of the 5 Solas would perfectly match his plan to preach one Sola on each of the 5 Sundays in October.

Okay, now I had a plan.

 

The Celtic “S” in Sola is from Martha Pullen’s  Celtic Alphabet from the 2014 Internet Embroidery Club.  The Bible is a design from Embroidery Library and the text, ” Thy word is truth.”  is curved and abbreviated.  The original cross was removed and replaced with a smaller one from my design library. The original design has 80.093 stitches!  So I converted the Bible into an applique’ with ultrasuede.  That  reduced the stitch count to 60,000 which is still a lot of stitches.  Those roses are very dense.  The gold corners are from Urban Threads.

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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.

 

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Readers’ Easter Sewing

Big announcement coming in the next few days!

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Annette Poole

 

Ahhh…Easter dresses!  Thanks to Annette Poole for this photo of two adorable girls in their finery.  The checked dress is silk dupioni cut from Sew Beautiful’s  Pascale pattern, size 3.   I made a Pascale  Christmas dress for granddaughter Laurel Cade when she was 9.   That is one of my favorite patterns because it is so versatile.   As a matter of fact, Maggie Bunch has a post on her blog dedicated to the versatility of Pascale.  Check Maggie’s blog for variations and insight into Laura Jenkins Thompson’s excellent pattern.

There is something so sweet about checked silk dupioni.  I think it’s a charming combination of the elegance of silk with the innocence and playfulness of gingham.  With the smocking and excellent construction Annette has made  a special  heirloom. I love it. Continue reading

Free Happy Face Pencil Toppers Design and Tutorial

8 finished

 With the new school year about to begin, it seems appropriate to run this post again. These quick and easy pencil toppers will give your favorite students happy  encouragement.  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

One of the things I love most about sewing is that it can be a useful tool when applied to almost any situation.  It can solve so many problems–and I’m not just talking about a ripped out hem, or torn seam.   This past week, the problem was  my Sunday School lesson and the solution was these pencil toppers and an embroidery design.

The teacher instructions were to print out the memory verse on an index card for each child to use in class and take home.  Even on colored cards this would be BO—RRRINNNNG.  Instead, I pulled up the .pdf file from one of my favorite collections, Designs by JuJu’s  Heavenly Inspirations 2 , which includes this scripture.  Won’t that get more attention than a hand written index card?

 

REJOICE

 

With my wonderful, free, photo editing program Picasa, a frame was added and the verse was printed on card stock.  On the back, other information was printed–the “bottom line,” and “basic truth” they could take from the story. The children went away with a shortened version of Cliff Notes for their lesson that day.

Thank you, JuJu, thank you Sewing!

Next the teacher’s guide suggested draping the room in Christmas lights as an indication of rejoicing.  Continue reading

Sewing Non-Stop

Sew busy!   Lately, of course, I’ve spent a lot of time getting acquainted with my new Brother Dream Machine.  But before my Dream came true,  I was kept busy with several small but important machine embroidery projects, like this one.

 

com bag text 2

The Scripture design is from Designs by Juju, in her collection Heavenly Inspirations 1. It was slightly modified to make room for the addition of the Bible design.

 

This was made for our 10 year old granddaughter, Laurel, who needed a bag to carry her sizable notebook and Bible to her weekly Communicant Class (read “confirmation”) at our church.

 

com bag mono 2

 

As you might expect, a monogram was added to the other side.  The bag has seen heavy usage these past weeks.

Another quick project was a set of whimsical luncheon napkins.   They coordinate with the Seaside Madeira Table Linens I stitched last summer.

 

The embroidery and gingham made this a more casual setting than the hemstitched linen napkins shown here.

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More Church linens

eucharistic corporal (2)ED

The photo has been darkened to show the detail in the design.

 

Needleworkers–or sewists if you prefer–so often share their time and talents with friends and relatives and charitable organizations. I am especially touched when I hear from readers who do faith-based needlework.  Some have sent pictures which are shared below.

After the previous post about church linens, reader Sandra commented that she too had made eucharistic corporals for relatives. I was delighted to read that  she is, in fact, my Sigma Kappa sorority sister!  That’s just one more benefit of writing this blog!

I asked Sandra if she would send pictures to share and hurrah!  She did.  Here’s what she had to say about the exquisite pieces she made.

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Church Linens

nap lavabo CR

 

I was honored to make these church linens for a mother to give her son upon his ministerial ordination this very Sunday.  This thoughtful mother has made up a gift package that includes these and other items her son will need as he pursues his calling.

Made of very fine linen, two communion napkins (or “veils”) to cover the elements were embroidered, hemstitched and edged with tatting. The napkin corners were rounded because mitering tatting is way above my skill level.

Pin stitch was worked around the perimeter with a #100 sharp needle.  I’ve learned that using a wing needle with tatting is a recipe for disaster.  But stitching slowly and carefully with the sharp, there were no tatting casualties.

 

slightly modified design is from ABC Christian Symbols collection

slightly modified design is from the spectacular  Christian Symbols collection of ABC Embroidery Designs

 

The baptismal lavabo is made from a blank linen guest towel with three rows of hemstitching.

 

lavabo

 

I had a hard time coming up with a design that suited me.  What I wanted was a simple baptismal shell with three water drops symbolic of the trinity.  After an extensive and unproductive search of both my design library and on-line designs, I finally bought this  design from Embroidery Library, deleted the green scroll and rotated the shell. Continue reading