Category Archives: church projects

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.

 

 

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

Easter Bunny Lunch~Casual Garments

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I hope you all had a joyful Easter.  We had a beautiful weekend-long celebration with a houseful of laughing adult children and grandchildren.  Our daughter, Rebecca, her family and our son Ryan’s family were here.  He is a pilot and, sadly, was unable join us.  We’re happy that he loves his work, but we miss him at so many family gatherings.

 

sandwiches

 

Friday night, while taking a break from my sewing, I made more than 100 little raisin bread/cream cheese/jelly sandwiches for Saturday’s Bunny Lunch at church.  My dear, helpful husband sat with me and cut away the crusts from 5 loaves while I spread the filling.  The sandwiches were topped with cream cheese carrots sprinkled with a little orange sugar which pleased the children.

 

tie design from Linnie Pinnie, with single bunny from

Tie design from is Linnie Pinnie, with single bunny extracted from Bernina’s Warm Wishes from Ingrid collection.

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“Git ‘er done” Projects

simple, everyday onesie with lamb embroidery

Git ‘er done #1—simple, everyday onesie with machine embroidered lambs from Ultimate Baby Layette collection by Martha Pullen.

 

Though many of us would prefer to spend all of our sewing hours stitching heirloom christening gowns, lacy Easter dresses and smocked bishops,  there are many less exciting projects that demand our time–and I’m not talking about cooking or cleaning.  My “git ‘er done” list has gotten so long that I had to get a few out the door.

DEFINITION for readers living outside of  US South:  It’s southern dialect for “Get her (‘er) done” — an imperative statement expressing a desire to start a job or complete an unfinished task.

Many objects and actions have a feminine persona (like when a farmer refers to his truck as a she, or when a captain of a ship calls his vessel a she). In the same way, a task may be given a feminine context. In the southern American English dialect, something can be “gotten done.” Hence, “Git’r done.” Continue reading

Another Precious Child…

precious corner 2X

Our congregation is celebrating the birth of yet another precious baby.  Due to some complications, little Laura Jane came into the world a month before her due date.  At just over 4 lbs., this pocket sized preemie spent her first ten days in the hospital.

Two weeks later and now at home, Laura Jane weighs 5 lbs. 8 oz.  Hurrah!

As a deacon of our church, one of my responsibilities is to welcome new babies with a gift, hence, this blanket.  I love my job, but wish we had more newborns!

The delicate pink color of the ready made 100% cotton flannel blanket is much like the blush color of sweet baby cheeks.  The flannel’s heavy but luxurious texture made the embroidery process a real delight.

The text was arranged in Brother’s PE-Design.  The little angel cherubs are from Petite Designs, Brother’s card #20, one of my most often used collections. The corner embroidery nestled perfectly in my Brother Quattro 8×8 hoop.

 

bib corner Continue reading

Quick Christmas Toys~OCC

OCC table banner

 

What a wonderful organization Operation Christmas Child is! Shoe boxes filled with age/gender appropriate gifts are given to children who might otherwise receive no gifts on this most special holiday.  These are children in war torn areas, in refugee camps, and in areas of disaster like the Philippines.

 

OCC stuffies

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