Chasuble Patterns in the Works

A chasuble is an Ecclesiastical Vestment worn by the Celebrant during the Celebration of Holy Communion or the Celebration of the Eucharist, depending on how your church refers to it.  There are many books such as Anastasia Dolby’s: Church Vestments and websites that have detailed information regarding the History and styles of the chasuble.

Illustration of Chasuable Fiddleback style
Illustration of Chasuble  – Fiddleback style

One popular style of chasuble is the fiddleback. The Metropolitan Museum of Art has many examples of the fiddleback chasuble in their collection. While this style of chasuble is used in the Roman Catholic church, and by other faiths, it is not frequently used in the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod.

Another style, frequently referred to as the Gothic style, is the common form of chasuble used in the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. But not every church in the Synod is familiar with the traditions and use of the chasuble, including my church.   To change that, the plan is to slowly introduce the chasuble by teaching the historical use of vestment, and to begin using it on special Festival Days. The hope is to get the members familiar and comfortable with the vestment.  The biggest hurdle is accomplished, in that the Pastor is not only familiar with the historical use of the Ecclesiastical Vestment, but he is also willing and ready to proceed with wearing the chasuble. Sadly, the delay with introducing the chasuble is on my end with the construction of the vestment.

Drafting chasuble pattern
Drafting chasuble pattern

With both the fiddleback and Gothic styles of chasuble, there are many minor variations in design. There are patterns available, and instructions in books. The problem is to get the angle of the shoulders correct, the neckline large enough to go on and off easily without being too big, and to end up with a garment that has nice fullness, without being to large. Those problems are slowly being worked out. The chasuble pattern is drafted.

Options for Chasuble Neckline
Options for Chasuble Neckline

Options are worked out on the pattern for neckline variations.

Checking shoulder seam on Chasuble pattern
Checking shoulder seam on Chasuble pattern

The shoulder seams line up correctly although it is difficult for others to tell by the photo, as the back pattern piece is flipped over.  The lines for the “Y” orphrey need to be drawn on the pattern, and the garment sewn up and checked for fit.  This is a test vestment to check the fullness, the lines of the curve as it falls from the shoulder, the hang of the garments, and the angle of the shoulder seam. If this chasuble turns out well, it will be used for Palm Sunday and Maundy Thursday. The martyr red is the color used by my church for those festival days.

Creating you won Ecclesiastical Embroidery Designs
Creating you won Ecclesiastical Embroidery Designs

If the pattern works well, it is also time to start with a green chasuble for ordinary times. The plan for the green chasuble will be to have a single wide orphrey on both the front and back of the chasuble. The above embroidery design is ready for the front, with the Bible, Chi Rho, and Alpha and Omega. The back will be a similar design with the Two Tablets representing the Ten Commandments.  This is a vestment intended for use with the green set after Pentecost. It will not be ready for the short green season after Epiphany.

There is also a black chasuble needed to match the Good Friday Altar Hangings.  This black set of vestments will be used on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.  It is a short two months away from Ash Wednesday. It is odd to be thinking of the start of that church season now, while we are in the middle of Advent. There is still Christmas, Epiphany, and well, time has a way of rushing by…………it will be good to start thinking and working on this set so that a few pieces can be ready on time for Ash Wednesday.

I have thrown around a lot of information about color during the season of Lent, which can vary quite a bit from one church body to another. But more on that later………….

Solo Dei Gloria

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Filed under: Alpha and Omega, Ash Wednesday, Christian Symbols, Ecclesiastical Vestments, Metropolitan Museum of Art, orphrey Tagged: Alpha and Omega, Anastasia Dolby, Ash Wednesday, black vestments Vestments, chasuble, Chi Rho, Christian Symbols, Church Vestments by Anastasia Dolby, Ecclesiastical Vestment, Ecclesiastical Vestments, Good Friday, green chasuble, Lenten Season, Metropolitan Museum of Art, orphrey


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