Vintage Liturgical Embroidery Library

The Ecclesiastical Sewing workroom is getting a bit of a workout these days.  Things are moving and shuffling around, getting ready for some changes that are happening soon.  Stay posted for updates on that.  While those changes are going on, I thought I might share a quick glance at a tiny corner in the liturgical vestment workroom.  Admittedly, this might not be of much interest to many of you, so my apologies in advance for those who find the topic of books dull and uninteresting.

Books have always been something I love. They hold the key to unlocking knowledge. They contain history, biographies, design inspiration, beauty, and so much more. When I started getting serious about making church vestments and church linens, I knew there was the need for knowledge which would include the historical information on where, when, how, and from what, vestments developed, as well as the technical information regarding the how to’s.  Not to be forgotten is the part about the beauty of this Liturgical Art. The question pondered many years ago was: where does one start?  Thankfully, there was the internet, and as one can see, one thing lead to another, and now the needed Liturgical Art resources are available at my finger tips.

My books get used often for reference and resources while drafting church vestment patterns, sewing altar linens, and creating hand embroidery patterns for church linens and vestments.  Hence, the shelves tend to be a bit disorderly.  Someday it might be worthwhile to create a catalog system to know what is there, and where it can be found.  But that someday is down the road.

So what treasures are stored on this shelf?  The answer is,  MANY!  There are original works by authors such as August W. N. Pugin, Hinda Hands, Anastasia Dolby, Grace Christie, Lilla Weston, Alice Dryden, and others.  Why have original texts when some of these are available for free, one might ask?  For me, I love to hold a book, flip through the pages, and sit and read.  If there is a design or illustration, often the original texts, while old, have images that are easier to see than a reproduction or scanned volume.  This becomes even more important when working with designs and patterns.

The collection also contains a nice assortment of foreign works, including the Het Gildeboeks, a series of manuals dating from the 1860’s to around 1880’s, featuring an assortment liturgical embroidery designs, as well as designs for other liturgical items used in the church.  The Het Gildeboek collection is large, and I have not had a chance to enjoy everything in the collection yet.

From the few pieces I have looked at in the collection, the words “stunning” come to mind.  These are the liturgical embroidery designs one sees on museum pieces in the pages of books.

There are also French and English Vestment manuals, along with Dutch, German and even Italian vestment books.  The French and Dutch Vestment books have some lovely vestment patterns which I hope to begin drafting soon, and will make available for those interested.  It takes time to develop these patterns, but in the end, the vestment pattern designs are lovely, and worth the effort.

With a love for hand embroidery, books on embroidery stitches and techniques fill one entire shelf. One shelf is devoted to pattern drafting and design manuals, including several original books by Vincent, and  as well as sewing technique books. Books on Christian Symbols and liturgical colors can be found among volumes of vintage vestment catalogs. Then there is the “eye” candy – the picture books with colored photos of church vestments in various collections and museums, such as the volumes from the Musee de la Visitation.  Would you believe that still does not cover everything in my library? But enough for one evening………….

Solo Dei Gloria

Be sure to visit our online store front Ecclesiastical Sewing where you may shop for Liturgical Fabrics, altar linen fabrics, church vestment making patterns, liturgical machine embroidery designschurch vestment trims and notions and so much more. You may also find us on  Ecclesiastical Sewing  on Facebook , Twitter, and Pinterest. Sing up for our mailing list  at the bottom of the page on our online store front and receive a free copy of our Small Linens Booklet as our way of saying thank you for following along.


Filed under: Church Linens, Ecclesiastical Sewing, vestment patterns Tagged: Church Linens, Ecclesiastical Sewing, Het Gideboek, liturgical art, vestment patterns
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