Thursday, 24 March 2022

Sponsorship for the Royal School of Needlework Certificate course

A young volunteer making a stole at a Guild event.
Traditional hand embroidery techniques, required for restoration of old vestments and the construction of new ones in the traditional way, was saved from oblivion in England by the Royal School of Needlework (as it soon became), which was founded in 1872. Today the RSN is commissioned to restore antique fabrics for museums and to create things for state occasions, such as the Coronation, as well as private commissions. They pass on these precious skills to new generations of students in their courses. including the skills of traditional vestment-making.

Their Certificate in Hand Embroidery, in which students master four different techniques by doing a project in each one, could be regarded as the entry level for serious work. 

It is, naturally, expensive and time-consuming. The good news is that the Certificate Course is also extremely flexible, making it possible for students to do it at times convenient to them, over a longer of shorter period of time. 

The even better news is that in association with the Latin Mass Society (and a benefactor) the Guild of St Clare is offering sponsorship which will pay up to 50% of the tuition fees.

We have already sponsored two students, who are now nearing the end of the Certificate. This year we will be able to sponsor two students.

The deadline for applications in 24th June 2022.

Making a burse, at a Guild event.

Wednesday, 19 January 2022

Quarter size chasuble-making day at the Royal School of Needlework

The Guild of St Clare is delighted to announce a new one day course at the Royal School of Needlework at Hampton Court Palace, making a quarter size Roman chasuble. The tuition will be provided by RSN tutor Heather Lewis, who has led previous Guild of St Clare courses at the Royal School of Needlework in ecclesiastical goldwork, stole-making and burse-making. This is a remarkable opportunity to learn the skills necessary for making a chasuble, using traditional hand-construction techniques.

It will take place on 19th March between 10am and 4pm. The price of the course is £145 including materials. Tea and coffee are provided; you will need to bring a packed lunch, or you can visit one of Hampton Court Palace's cafes.

Places are strictly limited: book now to avoid disappointment.

For more information please email Lucy on, or book through the registration link on the LMS website.

Thursday, 6 January 2022

Volunteers sought for our Vestment-Making Drive

The Guild of St Clare has been commissioned to make new pieces for a number of incomplete Low Mass Sets: maniples, chalice veils, burses and stoles. We are looking for volunteers willing to help with this work: materials will of course be provided. For each completed new piece, we will give the maker a discount of 30% to use when booking our twice annual sewing retreats (up to a maximum of 60% off per retreat).

A young member makes a Roman Purple maniple using the traditional soft-mount technique

At the Guild of St Clare we use traditional hand construction techniques to make vestments: if you would like to participate in this scheme, and have no experience of these, we will be happy to show you, and guide you through the project.

Applying braid with a sewing machine

For more information, or to volunteer, please email Lucy at

Chalice veil and burse made at the first Guild of St Clare Sewing Retreat, for the LMS Red High Mass Set

Wednesday, 5 January 2022

Member's project: chalice veil & burse

Michael Dennison, a much-valued participant at our most recent Sewing Retreat at Douai Abbey, has recently completed this most accomplished chalice veil and burse as a gift for Fr Mark Naughton. A training exercise for Michael; Christmas come early for Fr Naughton!

Tuesday, 16 November 2021

Sewing Retreat at Douai

Our most recent sewing retreat took place at Douai over the weekend of 12th-14th November. Douai has reduced the maximum number of retreatants, so we were a small gathering of twelve, including our chaplain Fr Stephen Dunn, who very kindly travelled all the way from Glasgow to be with us. 

We achieved a huge amount of work: two maniples and a chalice veil were among the new pieces which were made, as well as significant repairs to the LMS violet High Mass set, and the patching of the Guild's own green Low Mass set. 

It was a pleasure to welcome several retreatants who were new to sewing, as well as old hands whose skills were very much needed. 

We were also delighted to see both winners of the Guild of St Clare sponsorship scheme to the Royal School of Needlework: the advanced skills they are developing are of material use to the Guild of St Clare.

Our next retreat is 4th-6th February 2022, at a new venue: Park Place Pastoral Centre. Our chaplain is Fr Stephen Morrison, a great friend of the Guild of St Clare. Click here to book online or email Lucy at for more details.

Many thanks to Michael Dennison for the photographs

Wednesday, 6 October 2021

Online Stole-Making Course with the Royal School of Needlework

We are delighted to announce that the Guild of St Clare is collaborating with the Royal School of Needlework to provide a special online one day course in stole-making.

This is a unique opportunity to learn the skills necessary to vestment-making. The tuition will be provided by RSN tutor Heather Lewis, who has led previous Guild of St Clare courses at the Royal School of Needlework in ecclesiastical goldwork and burse-making. 

Heather Lewis at the Guild of St Clare burst-making day, February 2020

As this course is taking place virtually, students will need to provide their own materials. Please email Lucy at for more details.

The date is the 30th October 2021, and the course will run between 10am and 4pm. Thanks to our long-standing relationship with the RSN, we are able to offer this course at a reduced price which, excluding the materials, is £108. Online booking for this event is now open: click here to register.