Surplice Directions in the works

A dear friend has issued a challenge. That challenge is to create clear and easy step by step instructions for sewing a square-yoke surplice.  Today, I took her at her word, and went to work.  I have several very old, as in 19th century old, vestment books which are dear to my heart.  Those were pulled out and the studying began.  The square-yoke surplice has a two-piece yoke.  Following some old technical drawings, it did not take long to have a pattern drafted up.  That was the easy part.  It is always so much fun to pull out the pattern drafting tools and make a new pattern by scratch.  (And of course, it is even better if the pattern actually works).  Pattern drafting was one of my favorite courses years ago in design school. It is fun to be able to put those skills to work in a new way, making vestment patterns for the church.

Many of the wonderful old books, which were written for making various vestments for use in the church, provide only the most basic of instructions.  There is a great deal of “assumed knowledge,” which means anyone reading the book would be so familiar with the topic or the task, they would not require detailed instructions. Sadly, that “assumed knowledge” which was once handed down from mother to daughter, or senior altar guild member to new altar guild member has been lost.

Today’s task was to see if I could figure out the “trick” with making a square-yoke surplice.  In looking at the pattern pieces, it was pretty obvious which steps I would prefer to use in the construction process.  So, out came the camera, and the computer to jot down directions as the square-yoke was sewn up.

Here is a quick look at the finished yoke piece.  What are your thoughts?  Will it be easy to attach the skirt and sleeves to this yoke?  I thinks so, but still have that step to go.

Finished yoke for square-yoke surplice pattern from


I have the directions  and pattern off to my dear friend to get her feed back.  It will be interesting to know if this “solves” the construction dilemmas.  I will keep you posted.   We hope to have pattern and directions available soon for those interested in making their own square-yoke surplice.

Solo Dei Gloria

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Filed under: vestment patterns Tagged: altar guild, pattern drafting, Square-yoke Surplice, vestment patterns, vestments


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