Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Sewing Retreat 2018

Booking is now open for the Guild of St Clare Sewing Retreat 2018.  

It will be held at the Carmelite Retreat Centre, Boars Hill, Oxfordshire between 2nd and 4th March.

Our chaplain will be the well-known classicist and blogger Fr John Hunwicke.

Join us for a weekend of traditional devotions and vestment mending in charming and comfortable surroundings.

Book your place here or contact for more details.

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Guild of St Clare Lenten Challenge

Mend a vestment for Lent!

Join us on the afternoons of 18th March and 13th May to make a really valuable Lenten offering.

Liz and Amanda repairing the embroidered hood of a nineteenth century cope

We are repairing various sets of vestments and would welcome volunteers keen to do something really special this penitential season.

Clare supervising the making of an altar frontal

If you would like to come along please email Lucy at for more details.

Monday, 13 February 2017

Guild of St Clare Sewing Retreat: report

Our first ever sewing retreat finished yesterday, and I for one enjoyed myself enormously. With snow falling outside over the panoramic views of Oxfordshire countryside, an infinite supply of tea and biscuits and good company, what could be more agreeable than a weekend of sewing punctuated by traditional liturgy?

Fr Biggerstaff's Pelican in her Piety Humeral Veil

Fr Richard Biggerstaff set the tone with his delightful and perceptive talks on Service (represented by the Amice), Authority (represented by the stole) and the Distraction of the Laity (represented by the Chasuble). He celebrated Mass each day, as well as Compline and Benediction. He brought his own vestments, and I was particularly delighted by a beautiful Humeral Veil with the Pelican in her Piety embroidered on it.

Amanda and Liz at work on repairing the embroidered hood of a Cope

We had a wide range of vestments to mend, as well as a new Low Mass set commission to start work on. Different groups worked on repairs to the goldwork embroidery on a Cope, making new stole protectors for the necklines of various stoles and chasubles, unpicking old and damaged sections of silk in worn out chasubles in order to replace with new ones and patching up and old but beautiful and much loved cassock.

Retreatants at work on their embroidery samplers

We also had embroidery samplers to stitch; a pomegranate design often seen in liturgical settings, worked with a combination of surface embroidery stitches and goldwork techniques. It provided a welcome contrast to the hard work of unpicking, tacking and pinning that took up the rest of our time.

Fr Biggerstaff blesses the congregation with the Blessed Sacrament during Benediction. He is wearing the Humeral Veil pictured above

I was very grateful to the enthusiasm of the retreatants who participated, making it a truly cohesive community effort. In these difficult and confusing times for the Church we need the support of a strong Catholic community and it was moving to see the dedication of this particular group to their Faith and their commitment to assisting the Church in every way. Many thanks to all who participated.

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Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Three day coat making workshop : 28th Jan, 18th Feb & 4th Mar 2017

Riding high after our mastery of waistbands, zips, collars, cuffs and plackets, we are holding a set of three workshops over the course of which we will construct a coat or jacket. 

This course is being led by Daniella Stevens, who was a junior member of the Guild as a child and is now training professionally. We are delighted that she is returning as a tutor and are very much looking forward to benefiting from the expertise she will bring to the course.

Daniella at work on a stole

You will need a dressmaking pattern and fabric. If you are unsure what to choose, please don't hesitate to contact us for help. 

The course is being held at the church hall of St Anthony of Padua in Headington, Oxford, and will run between 10am and 4pm. The dates are 28th Jan, 18th Feb & 4th Mar 2017.

Tea, coffee, cake and moral support are provided. Please bring your own lunch.

For more details or to book a place, please contact Lucy on

Saturday, 26 November 2016

Guild of St Clare at Towards Advent

The Guild of St Clare is at Towards Advent today!

Team Latin Mass Society is also out in force. Looking forward to a day of fun!

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Thursday, 3 November 2016

Two day blouse-making workshop

Following the fun of our two day skirt-making workshop, the Guild of St Clare is holding a follow-up two day blouse-making workshop, which will be led by our ace dressmaker Clare Auty.

Bring a dressmaking pattern and some fabric of your choice and come along to conquer plackets, collars, setting sleeves and buttonholes!

The dates are 19th November and 10th December. The course is taking place at St Anthony of Padua church hall, Headington, Oxford, and will run between 10am and 4pm. Bring your own lunch; tea, coffee and cake is provided! To book a place or for further information please contact Lucy at

Monday, 24 October 2016

Sewing Retreat: further details and online booking

I am happy to be able to provide more particulars concerning the Guild of St Clare's first ever Sewing Retreat, to be held at the Carmelite Retreat Centre, Boars Hill, Oxfordshire.

You can book here.

The priory at Boars Hill

The Retreat will run between Friday 10th and Sunday 12th February. Our chaplain is Fr Richard Biggerstaff, the Director of the St Barnabas Society, and he will give us spiritual conferences throughout the weekend and also be available for Confessions. There will, of course, be daily Mass in the Extraordinary Form, and other devotions as well. Sewing sessions will mainly be dedicated to mending and making vestments. We don't expect retreatants to have any previous experience of this, so complete beginners need not be put off! All materials will be provided. There will also be a small (very small!) shop selling sewing equipment, so if you haven't a sewing kit or need to replenish the one you've got, there will be ample opportunity to invest. Please do bring a basic sewing kit with you, if you have one: small sharp scissors, needles, pins, tape measure, a thimble if you use one.

Bring your pocket money!

There will also be a chance to do some hand embroidery. The Guild will provide, for a small extra cost, a choice of surface embroidery kits with liturgical designs, for anyone who would like one. Tuition will be on tap to anyone interested in learning how to embroider. We would also like to encourage people to bring their own sewing with them, for social times; hand work would be easiest to manage but if you have a sewing machine project that has got stuck, we would be happy to help you re-start it.

Amanda's liturgical goldwork, begun at the Royal School of Needlework and since completed

The cost for the whole weekend is £150 per person for a single room. Two people sharing a twin will pay £130 each. For further information, please email me at The number of places is limited so if you are keen to come, don't delay.