The Guild of St Clare held its first Quarter-Scale Chasuble making day at the Royal School of Needlework on 19th March. The course was fully booked, and several participants had travelled long distances to be present. Our tutor, Heather Lewis, is a graduate Apprentice from the Royal School of Needlework, who is now based in York, but made arrangements to come to Hampton Court Palace specially to lead this workshop for us. She is an expert in liturgical needlework, and has taught our workshops at Hampton Court, on ecclesiastical embroidery and, most recently, burse-making.
It was wonderful day learning a truly exciting skill, the one most central to all our work at the Guild of St Clare. Several long-standing members were there, who despite their wealth of experience were keen to attend this ground-breaking course.
I've made and mended many vestments myself but, as always, there was plenty of new material to learn. The Royal School of Needlework continues to teach the traditional techniques for hand embroidery and construction: every part of the chasuble is made by hand.
I was particularly interested to see Heather's technique for attaching braid to the chasuble. This, too, is done by hand: in order to avoid any wrinkles or distortion in the fabric it is kept flat on the table at all times.
It was a great pleasure spending time with the other participants, and thanks to glorious weather we had a fab lunch break together in the sunshine.
Thanks to the success of this occasion we are planning an annual day course at Hampton Court Palace, each one tackling a different skill relevant to liturgical needlework. Next year we hope to do a miniature Cope: look out for updates and information about online booking.