Wednesday 12 December 2018

Vestment mending days in London in 2019

The Guild of St Clare in the LMS Office

Last spring we had, experimentally, two very successful vestment mending days in the Latin Mass Society's Office in Macklin Street, London. The Office houses the two sets of architect's drawers where the bulk of the LMS vestment collection is. The collection covers the complete range, from fine pieces in good condition, to things which are not presently usable, because of missing items from sets, and things which need a significant amount of work. 

Working vestments need constant attention. Edges fray, hooks and eyes get pulled, linings gradually wear through, gold-work needs couching down, and embroidery repairing.

A situation which is perfect, of course, for the Guild: presenting us with fine work to examine and keep in tip-top condition, pieces needing only basic skills to tackle, potential for projects to make things from scratch, and everything in between. These have already provided work for the Guild's sewing retreats. We have also made a start labeling, photographing, and cataloging the collection.

To carry on the project, in the first half of 2019 we will have three more vestment mending days in London, this time in conjuction with server-training events organised by another guild affiliated to the LMS, the Society of St Tarcisius.

Dates: training days start at 10:30 am.

February: Saturday 16, at St Mary Moorfields

March: Saturday 9, at at St Mary Moorfields

May: Saturday 11, at Our Lady of the Assumption, Warwick St

Booking is required because space is limited: just email the Guild: There is no fee.


St Mary Moorfields, 4-5 Eldon St, London EC2M 7LS, between Moorgate and Liverpool Street Tube Stations (click for a map).

Our Lady of the Assumption, 10 Warwick St, Soho, London W1B 5LZ, near Piccadilly Tube Station (click for a map).


Monday 23 April 2018

Book your place on the Sewing Retreat

Bookings are now open for both forthcoming Sewing Retreats. Registration for the one at Douai Abbey, taking place from 23rd-25th November 2018, can be completed here. For the retreat at Boars Hill, 1st-3rd February 2019, book here.

Young retreatants at work on a hand-embroidered cope

Places are limited on both these retreats: please don't delay if you are keen to come.

Friday 20 April 2018

Second annual sewing retreat

Owing to the colossal demand for places on our annual sewing retreat at Boars Hill (the number of people on the waiting list was greater than the number of retreatants) we have organised a second retreat for this autumn which we hope will also become an annual event.

Douai Abbey and retreat centre

It is taking place at Douai Abbey, in Berkshire, from 23rd to 25th November 2018. The schedule will remain the same as our Boars Hill retreat: traditional liturgical devotions, sewing sessions when we will repair and make vestments, and spiritual conferences from our chaplain.

How the abbey will probably look while we're staying there

Booking is opening on the LMS web page on 23rd April. Places are very limited so please do not delay in booking yours.

Wednesday 18 April 2018

Sewing Retreat at Boars Hill Carmelite Retreat Centre 2019

We are happy to be able to confirm that next year's Sewing Retreat will take place at Boars Hill Carmelite Retreat Centre from 1st to 3rd February.

Our chaplain will be Fr Edward van den Bergh of the London Oratory, who will give us spiritual conferences to accompany the traditional liturgy and devotions.

Fr Edward celebrating a Requiem at St Benet's Hall, Oxford

We will be tackling a number of repairs and commissions during the sewing sessions, and there is an optional embroidery kit for anyone with the energy for an extra project.

Bookings will open on the LMS website on 23rd April.

Friday 23 March 2018

Bobbin Lace Workshop

To complement our new fortnightly bobbin lace-making course with Clare Auty, we are holding a one-day lace workshop with one of our most experienced and skilled tutors, Liz Baker.

Liz tutoring a small Guild member

This will be an opportunity to try lace-making for the first time, to start a new lace pattern or to continue with existing projects that need a kick-start.

Liz starts everyone off with a beautiful lace snake with beaded eyes

It will take place on Friday, 20th April in Woodstock, Oxfordshire, running between 10.30am and 4.30pm. Lunch will be provided - also tea, coffee and possibly some Easter goodies! For more details or to book, please contact me on

Learning support is provided by a team of lace group babies

Friday 16 March 2018

Lace-making course

The Guild of St Clare is running a bobbin lace-making course, to be held fortnightly, beginning on the Thursday, 26th April. Each session will run between 8pm and 10pm, and our tutor is Clare Auty who is very kindly hosting these sessions in her own home.

Some of Clare's own work

This course will introduce you to Torchon lace techniques. Clare says: "Each piece builds on the previous piece, giving a good grounding in all Torchon stitches." The cost is £2.50 per session. Only a small number of places are available, so please let me know as soon as possible if you would like to attend.

To book a place, or to find out more, please email me at

A young Guild member making a lace bracelet

Sewing Retreat Report

The Guild of St Clare held its second Sewing Retreat in the teeth of the Beast from the East last weekend. The Carmelite Retreat Centre, where it took place, is in a delightfully rural location, at the top of Boars Hill. The roads were untreated, and retreatants defied the blizzard and the snowdrifts to make their way finally to the peace of sewing, spiritual conferences and, most importantly, the traditional liturgy. 

Fr John Hunwicke, chaplain to the Retreat, gave a series of talks on types and anti types in the Old and New Testaments in relation to Lent and Easter, celebrated daily Mass, and led us in Benediction and Compline. The retreatants worked unstintingly on the various vestment repairs, and achieved an astonishing amount, including replacing worn-out orphreys on a chasuble, reattaching fringe and clasps to a red and gold cope, re-making maniples and a burse, and repairing the nineteenth century handmade bobbin lace on an alb. 

Mending these often very beautiful vestments, which will be used in celebrating the Holy Sacrifice of the Altar, is to assist at Mass in a tangible way; it is a reward in itself. It's no wonder that the retreatants form such a happy community while working together on them. Many thanks to everyone who braved the weather to take part. Next year's retreat will take place on the first weekend of February. Bookings will open shortly on the LMS website.

Tuesday 20 February 2018

LMS Vestment Repairs

The Guild of St Clare has been asked to repair some vestments for the Latin Mass Society. These repairs will need to be undertaken in the LMS's office, in central London. We have arranged two dates when we will do this work: the 21st April and the 12th May, between the hours of 10am and 4pm. Lunch will be provided.

This violet High Mass Set is among the things needing attention

If you would like to join us, or want to know more about the details, please email me at Space in the LMS office is fairly limited, so we need to know how many people are planning to come.