Tuesday, 11 February 2020

Burse-making day at the RSN

The Guild of St Clare held an exclusive burse-making day at the Royal School of Needlework last Saturday, tutored by Heather Lewis. The lesson took place in the RSN's teaching apartments at Hampton Court Palace.

Heather Lewis, the RSN ecclesiastical specialist, led the course

Burse-making is tricky because it combines cutting and sewing skills with mounting. For many of the people attending it was their first experience of mounting fabric on to board; by the end of the day we'd all mastered the essentials.

The damask is pinned to the mount board before being laced on the back
I'm very grateful to Heather for putting this course together especially for us. This particular skill is rare but essential for anyone wanting to make a traditional set of vestments.


One of the highlights of the day was making cord by hand to stitch to the edge of the burse

The Guild of St Clare is often asked to make stoles, maniples, chalice veils and burses to make up incomplete sets - I'm delighted that we are slowly acquiring the expertise we need to do this to a high standard.

Antonia lacing her damask on mount board
Heather showed us the beautiful half-size burse
she uses to teach burse-making to the RSN's
full-time students
Following the success of the occasion I plan to organise a stole-making workshop next year. It will be splendid to see the gradual building of vestment-making skills among the dedicated people who attend our retreats and vestment-mending days, and I hope to see as good an attendance as we had last Saturday.