Friday, February 20, 2015

Foster Vocations - Chasuble For Your Little Priest

Our little guy loves to play Mass, so I made him a chasuble (just the right size) to enhance his experience. After posting a few photos here and there, I received a request to make one for my friend's grandson. He enjoys going to the local Catholic book and gift shop, trying on the full sized vestments. My friend thought it would be nice to have one, in his size, instead.

She wound up purchasing the fabric in four colors - green, purple, red, and white - and I'll make two of each. One set will be for our Simon and the other for her grandson.

I'm considering making these and offering them for sale, but am offering this how-to post for those of you who are handy with a sewing machine. That way we can all encourage our little boys to play priest and foster vocations should they receive the Call.

Materials for the Chasuble and Stole

(makes two chasubles and matching stoles)

2 yards of fabric in the desired liturgical color - I started with green, for Ordinary Time. If you're like me and like to take shortcuts, using knit fabric will save hemming time since it doesn't fray.

1 spool of thread in the matching color

1 roll of gold-colored Duck Tape (easy, cheap, and surprisingly nice looking) or 10 - 12 feet of trim (more expensive, more authentic).

Construction of the Chasuble

  • Fold fabric in half, width-wise (not the way it was folded on the bolt), and cut into two pieces. 
  • Next, cut a strip of fabric about 5 or 6 inches wide, along the selvage on one side of the fabric. This will become the stole.
  • Keeping the fabric folded width wise, also fold it lengthwise. Cut out a 5 1/2" hole at the center corner. This is your neck opening.
  • Open the fabric and lay across a table top to prepare for adding the trim.

  • According to preference, add trim/Duck Tape. I created mine by measuring 6" down from the center of the neck and 5" from the shoulder edge to form a 'V'. Next, I placed a long strip from the center of the neck to the center bottom. You could also make a cross or leave plain. It might be fun to have input from your little 'priest' and do some research.
  • The next step is to hem all raw edges. Since I use a knit, I simply turn in 1/4" and stitch - no need to turn under twice. Since the trim goes to the edge of the chasuble, you will be stitching through it as well. This will help keep it secure and in place If your fabric is not knit, you could also us pinking shears along the raw edge before hemming. You might also want to use a zigzag stitch.
  • When both the neckline and outer hem are stitched, iron backside of chasuble, taking care not to overheat the areas covered with Duck Tape trim. I use a steam setting and cloth.
  • As a final step, I have found it beneficial to carefully iron the underside of where the trim is. The heat causes the Duck Tape to conform to the fabric, giving a textured look. I'd also imagine that it will help to bond the trim to the fabric.

Construction of the Stole

  • Take the piece of 5" fabric you cut from the side of the chasuble and determine the type of stole you'd like to make. Some are curved and fit around the back of the neck, while others come to a point and are worn slightly below the neckline, down the back.
  • The curved type of stole can be made by cutting a curve, similar to the neckline of the chasuble and the stole that comes to a point can be created by stitching a 45 degree line at the center. 
  • Now you can either hem the stole, all the way around, or cut with a pinking shear. 
  • Using small pieces of Duck Tape, you can also make tiny crosses at each end or one at the center of the tapered stole.

There you have it! A wonderful encouragement for little priests of the future - or daddies in the
making who want to share with their own kids some day.

I'd love to see your photos if you decide to make a chasuble for your special little man. Share!