Saturday 14 December 2019

Vestment Mending Days in London for 2020


We have confirmed dates for Vestment Mending in London for the first half of 2020, in St James' Spanish Place.

All are welcome! See more about these days here. Email the Guild to register your interest:

January 25th

March 14th

May 9th

These will take place at:

St James's Roman Catholic Church
22 George Street
London W1U 3QY (click for a map)

Friday 29 November 2019

Burse-making course at Royal School of Needlework: exclusive to the Guild of St Clare

Burse-making at the RSN with Heather Lewis

The Guild of St Clare is collaborating with the Royal School of Needlework to provide a special one day course in burse-making. This is a unique opportunity to learn the skills necessary to make one of the more tricky pieces of the traditional vestment set. The tuition will be provided by RSN tutor Heather Lewis, who led our previous Guild of St Clare course in ecclesiastical goldwork, back in 2012. The course will take place at Hampton Court Palace in the RSN's teaching apartments, and is subsidised by the Guild of St Clare.

The date is the 8th February 2020, and the course will run between 10am and 4pm. Tea and coffee are provided; you will need to bring a packed lunch, or you can visit one of Hampton Court Palace's cafes. The cost, including the materials and the special Guild of St Clare discount, is £105.

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

Monday 11 November 2019

Sewing Retreat at Douai Abbey

Against a liturgical backdrop of the Feast of All Saints and the Feast of All Souls, the Guild of St Clare held its fifth Sewing Retreat at Douai Abbey.

Fr John Hunwicke led the retreat as chaplain and gave us some perceptive and stimulating spiritual conferences on St John Henry Newman. The Douai Guestmaster, Fr Oliver Holt, very kindly gave us a tour of the Douai archives which include some beautiful eighteenth century vestments, made by nuns from the convent at Lanherne.

They are in remarkably good condition and it was a privilege to be able to see them.

 Work undertaken included making several faldstool covers, a commission for the Latin Mass Society, as well as repairs to chasubles and an embroidered stole.

We are delighted to have found such a comfortable and welcoming venue at Douai Abbey and look forward to returning there in February next year.


Friday 20 September 2019

Cardinal Burke in London

It was an honour to be asked to make a faldstool cover for Cardinal Burke's visit to London in September. Here he is, pictured celebrating Mass from the faldstool with its new Guild of St Clare cover. Thanks to John Aron for the photographs.




Monday 16 September 2019

Faldstool cover for Cardinal Burke's visit to London

Our most recent commission, from the Latin Mass Society, is a gift of a set of faldstool covers in four liturgical colours for the parish of Corpus Christi, Maiden Lane. This, the red one, is the first to be completed; it is needed immediately for the Pontifical Low Mass to be celebrated by Cardinal Burke on 16th September.

The Guild was given a white faldstool cover, made by Serpone in Rome, to copy. The original used mainly machine techniques, so we adapted the design and made a hand-stitched version.

We added velvet piping to the cushion; the sumptuous effect is well worth the time it took to put in

The fabric is Winchester brocade, supplied by Watts & Co., and the braid has an oak leaf design and comes from M. Perkins.

It will be an honour to see this in use for Cardinal Burke's visit.

Wednesday 3 July 2019

Winner of Guild of St Clare sponsorship to the RSN

The Guild of St Clare is delighted to announce its first ever appointment to our new Royal School of Needlework sponsorship scheme. 

James Sharpe is specialist social worker in Hackney who converted to Catholicism four years ago. He has been a student of the arts since childhood, and studied archaeology and anthropology at Cambridge.

James's Celtic knot work design,
undertaken  at the Prince's School of Traditional Art


He is interested in many traditional crafts including iconography, calligraphy, illumination, geometry and printing and has dedicated a great deal of time to learning about them.

Sarah Homfray's William Morris inspired design,
stitched by James
under Sarah's long-distance tuition scheme

 More recently he has developed an interest in embroidery, especially medieval church embroidery; studying for the RSN Certificate course will enable him to pursue this skill to a professional level. We very much look forward to having the benefit of James's interests and expertise at future Guild of St Clare events, and wish him well as he begins his studies in October.

Wednesday 26 June 2019

Cope for St Anthony

Recently completed for the parish of SS Gregory & Augustine, Oxford,  a white cope in honour of St Anthony's feast day on 13th June.

Wednesday 22 May 2019

Appliqué for the Royal School of Needlework

 Lucy recently completed this piece of appliqué as part of her studies for the Diploma at the Royal School of Needlework.

It's taken from an illustration from the Folio edition of The Crimson Fairy Book by Andrew Lang. Well over a hundred hours of work went into it!

Wednesday 3 April 2019

Royal School of Needlework Sponsorship Scheme

The Guild of St Clare is launching a brand-new and very exciting initiative: the chance to study for the Certificate course at the Royal School of Needlework at a subsidised rate of 50%. The Certificate Course is intended as a part-time course for keen amateurs and can readily be fitted around existing work and family commitments. It enables you to develop solid skills and become part of a long tradition of maintaining the highest standards in hand embroidery. For more information about the course on the RSN website click here.
The Guild of St Clare at the Royal School of Needlework 

An important part of the charism of the Guild is encouraging the teaching of skills essential to our work. We hope that in sponsoring places on the RSN Certificate course we will be assisting in providing the Church with the skilled technicians it needs to maintain and create beautiful vestments and altar furnishings. Applicants should be able to demonstrate an enthusiasm for needlework and a commitment to this work for the glory of God.
RSN tutor Heather Lewis teaches the Guild of St Clare beginners' goldwork course 

For more information, or details about how to apply, please follow this link.
Heather's completed ecclesiastical goldwork sampler 

Friday 22 March 2019

Scissor fob

Every stitcher knows the danger posed to beloved sewing scissors by unthinking people in search of something to cut paper, string, parcels (or even, horror of horrors, nails). Nothing says Hands Off like a monogrammed scissor fob!

Sunday 10 March 2019

Successful sewing day in London


The Guild held another very productive day in St Mary Moorfields, London, in conjunction with a training day for the Latin Mass Society's server-training sodality, the Society of St Tarcisius.


Some long-standing projects of the Guild are nearing completion, opening the way for some exciting new undertakings.


Monday 4 March 2019

Booking open for Sewing Retreats in 2019 and 2020

Bookings are now being taken for the Guild of St Clare sewing retreats in November 2019 and February 2020. Both will be held at Douai Abbey in Berkshire.

We are very happy to welcome back Fr John Hunwicke as chaplain to our November retreat. This will be a particularly special occasion as we will celebrate the feast of All Saints and of All Souls during the weekend - the dates are 1st-3rd. To book for November 2019, click here.

Assisting us for the first time as chaplain at our February retreat (28th Feb-1st March 2020) will be Fr Stephen Morrison O. Praem, of the Norbertine community at Chelmsford. To book for February 2020, click here.

As well as the usual mending, we also have a quantity of vestments to be made from scratch, which may be of interest to anyone wanting to learn more about how they are constructed. 

Don't miss your chance to register - places are strictly limited!

Tuesday 5 February 2019

Sewing Retreat Spring 2019: photos and report


This year's spring Guild of St Clare Sewing Retreat, like last year's, took place in the snow: last time it was the 'Beast from the East' in early March. By now we knew the route up Boars Hill which doesn't turn into a toboggan run for cars, so the disruption was manageable. I had even bought the car some 'snow socks' and other widgets for bad weather, which came in handy.


The last day of the Retreat, Sunday, also happened to be St Blaise's feastday, and we had the Blessing of Throats.


Lots of sewing was done, and various large projects for the Latin Mass Society and others were brought closer to completion. The Retreat was sold out--numbers are limited--and much edified by Fr Edward van den Burgh's spiritual conferences, Masses, and other devotions, and also by his joining in the sewing himself! He went home with advice on the repairs of one liturgical item he had brought with him and completed repairs on others.


Many thanks to the Guild of St Clare for organising another successful retreat!

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