Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Fashion Emergency: Ash Wednesday Edition


I pause in the middle of the day to post this burning questions about vestments because I am
aware that some of you have evening services and this might help you, too:

Dear PeaceBang,

I just finished an Ash Wednesday service and had an unexpected problem with my vestments.

I know you tend to focus on what we wear under our vestments, but I imagine you or one of your readers might be able to help me out.I have one of those gorgie Guatemalan woven stoles in purple which I love to break out for Advent and Lent.

The problem is that its one long piece of tapestry, about 6" wide, with no stitching or darts or anything to help it lay neatly around my shoulders and behind my neck.

I've tried folding the middle part a bit so it could sit flat against the back of my neck, but it looks a little silly. I've also tried the trick of letting it go really loose, not letting the center touch the back of my neck, making it look like a hood back there. I hate being preoccupied with these things during church and Lord knows I can't go about fussing with it once I'm up there.

Any suggestions on how to wear it or how to fix it so it looks neater?Thanks, and keep up the good work, Chick Pea.


Dear Mamacita,

Did you just call me "Chick Pea?" How cute are you?

Well, about one thing you are certainly correct: you cannot go fussing around with your stole once you're up there.

As for the rest, this is a tough question, and I would think that a good seamstress might be consulted before you wear this stole again.

Readers, what say you?



Anonymous Jess said...

When I make stoles for ministers, I always ask if they would like a button loop sewn on the back. Depending on what kind of robe you have, it's pretty easy to sew a button either on the neckband seam or the seam at the yoke, where you can then fasten the loop on the underside of your stole. This way it's always even in the front and you don't have to mess with it.

For woven stoles like the one you're describing, a dart on each shoulder to shape it more is probably the easiest thing. This does involve cutting just a little bit of the fabric once the dart is sewn to avoid "humps," so just be advised. Any tailor should be able to handle doing this for you pretty inexpensively. Depending on the weight of your fabric, it will require an industrial sewing machine rather than a standard home machine, just to get the stitches evenly through the layers without distortion.

If you don't want to subject the stole to cutting, a button loop should help at least with the futzing. I use ribbon the same color as the stole, or depending on how it lays on the robe, the same color as the robe. The button should be the same color as the robe, and a tiny one works well and is less obvious.

4:25 PM  
Anonymous esperanza said...

I have several of these Guatemalan stoles, and here is what I've done: get a piece of thick thread/thin cording and sew either end to the stole, about 8" from the center. Then the cord rests behind your neck, the back can either be folded to lay down flat or left hood-like, and there's no futzing. You may want to pin it at various lengths and test it out to make sure the back looks ok and the front hasn't gotten too short before you sew it. (this probably can't be done before an evening service tonight, but would be fine for next Sunday).

Good luck.

4:57 PM  
Blogger ms. kitty said...

I have one stole that is mitered at the neck and it always lies straight. Others I have to futz with.

5:45 PM  
Blogger David said...

I was wearing this type of stole in the first part of my ministry at Del Rosa UMC. After one service one of my parishioners came up and asked if she could take it for a week and return it so that it would stay better. She loves the stole, but it drove her nuts to see it hang awkwardly as has been so well described. A week later she returned the stole with the expert work of a surger. She had shaped a crescent out of the neckline and finished it with the surger. Works like a charm. I even had her do the other similar stole.

6:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A fairly easy no sew solutions assuming the stole is long enough is to tie a loose knot (try for flat) in the center. It will shorten the inside a bit and help it lay a little flatter.

11:25 PM  
Anonymous semfem said...

My significant other (who also happens to be clergy) has shared with me a trick he's seen other clergy do with Guatemalan stoles...since they are reversible, you can fold it over once at a right angle, creating a big L, and put that at the back of your neck. It creates a similar look to a mitered stole but without cutting. (A few tacking stitches might be a good idea to hold it in place, once you come up with just the right sharpness of fold.)

I'd draw a picture if I could...but that's the best I can do right now.

3:04 AM  
Blogger Mamacita said...

Thanks, pumpkins. It looks like sewing is the best solution, so I'm going to try to tack it in a couple of places, making it a long narrow U-shape, and if that works I'll take it to a tailor to make it a permanent thing. Its too thick to tie a knot and its not reversable for the folded-L trick. Hopefully I'll be looking ravishing, in a completely appropriate and liturgical way, by Sunday.

10:49 AM  
Blogger Christian said...

Definitely wear it long, "like a hood back there." Not only does it add definition to your back-side (not your rumpus, people), but it raises the front ends so you're not kicking them around while doing your dance up there. If you have a problem being so active that you think the stole will slip, might a discretely-placed clothespin underneath do the trick?

12:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fold it length wise like an accordion, then loosely stich the folds (as if it were a accordion shade) on both sides of your neck, leaving enough material in the middle so it can hang loose in the back. TLutheran

1:06 PM  
Blogger Padre G said...

Thanks for this - Being Latino, I have four of these stoles and they are tricky...

10:43 PM  

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