Tapestries have graced the walls of castles for centuries. They have also graced countless clergy vestments through the ages. Today, there are many lovely liturgical fabrics woven in rich and ornate tapestry patterns. Liturgical tapestry fabrics of today are machine woven. The pattern below is Aragon in red with Lurex threads. Although it may not be evident, the fabric was a challenge to photograph and to capture the highlights which include Lurex threads. The photos below were the result of an entire afternoon, trying to capture the correct lighting to showcase the lovely Lurex threads. They are elusive and challenging, especially for an amature photographer.
Aragon is a gem of a liturgical fabric. It has a large-scale design, or rather, several large-scale designs that make it an extremely versatile fabric to use for making church vestments. The main design feature is an elaborate Jardiniere which contains floral elements. Notice the birds perched on the side branches of the Jardiniere? They are a common design element in many liturgical tapestry fabrics. The story behind the birds is that they are mediators between heaven and earth. Their blue and white coloring blends beautifully with the rich red and green floral elements.
This is the floral element that repeats in the middle of the series of the four Jardiniere motifs in the top photo. Notice the perfect frame created by the vines which encircle the floral motif?
Often times liturgical tapestry fabrics are mistakenly referred to as being embroidered, but these fabrics are woven on a loom. Many of the threads have a long floats and stitch length variations that are easily mistaken with hand embroidery stitches. Some design motifs are even outlined with stitching that mimics hand embroidery. These liturgical tapestry fabrics may be considered by some to be “expensive” and thus be a deterrent to using the fabrics, but a little bit of this fabric can go a long way. And tapestry fabrics such as Aragon are very “user-friendly” which means they cut up well, which minimizes waste. The other beauty of this fabric is the vast number of colors it works well with. Aragon pairs will with reds, greens, blues, whites or creams. Stoles and other vestments can be made using Aragon for the entire vestment, with solid colored accents, too. Aragon is also seen as a fabric used in Laudian altar coverings. When used for stoles or orphrey bands, one can select to use either the vine pattern, or the “jar” pattern. Stoles made using the same fabric could thus be different based on the choice of the selected design element. (Or one could have options to utilize fabric that is left after cutting larger vestment pieces first).
For those who may not be a fan of the Lurex threads, there is also a plain version of Aragon in red. And let’s not forget Aragon is also available in Green and Green/Lurex. Aragon liturgical fabrics will be available for purchase by the yard with the launch of our new store front in early to mid summer. Stay tuned for further details.
Solo Dei Gloria
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Filed under: Altar Frontal, Ecclesiastical Sewing, Liturgical Fabrics Tagged: Altar Frontal, Aragon Tapestry, church vestment fabric, Ecclesiastical Sewing, Liturgical Fabrics