Monday 21 August 2017

Forthcoming autumn events

The Guild of St Clare is holding the following workshops in the autumn:

2nd September: Project Finishing - bring along your unfinished sewing projects and make some progress with the help of our skilled Guild members!

21st October: Embroidery techniques with Jacqui Mc Donald of the Royal School of Needlework (£80)

11th November: Vestment mending and making - we have various altar furnishings, chasubles, and a cope in need of repair. Join us to assist us in mending them, learn about their construction and serve the Church. (£40)

All these workshops are taking place at St Anthony of Padua church hall, 115 Headley Way, Oxford OX3 7SS. They run between 10am and 4pm. Tea and cake is provided - please bring your own lunch. For more details or to book a place please email Lucy on

Monday 24 April 2017

Children's clothes workshops: 27th May & 17th June

Following the fun of our skirt-making, blouse-making and coat-making workshops, the Guild of St Clare is running two children's clothes-making workshops on 27th May and 17th June, under the supervision of our expert dressmaker Clare Auty. Bring a simple pattern with you and see how quickly you can make up a dress, trousers or skirt for your little ones.

 The workshops are taking place at St Anthony of Padua church hall, Headington, Oxford between 10am and 4pm. Tea and coffee will be provided - please bring your own lunch. The cost is £40 per day, or £20 for children (under 16s).

For more information, or to book a place, please contact Lucy at

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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