Compañeros de Cristo

The Compañeros de Cristo (Companions of Christ) group in our diocese (Northern Indiana) is planning a trip to our companion diocese of Honduras in late January; I hope to go.

I have been playing guitar and singing for our parish‘s Spanish-language mass since Easter 2013. I sometimes also serve as a lay reader. Many of the folks connected with this mass are from Honduras. My Spanish is perhaps at a second- or third-year level; I can understand a lot of what I read, my pronunciation is pretty good, conversation is challenging, and so is listening.

From now until mid-January, any proceeds from CD sales or other musical endeavors will go toward my travel costs.

I also have handmade jeans bags for sale. All are made from thrifted jeans, lined with other fabric scraps, with inner and outer pocket(s). If you’re not local, you can buy them on Ebay.

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Baptismal gowns

My friend asked me to make baptismal gowns for their twin boys, who were baptized this All Saints’ Day. We chose Ginger Snaps Designs “Brantley” day gown pattern, a lovely white-on-white striped shirting material, and a crochet-style lace and ribbon trim. The pattern was coming together quite nicely, very straightforward.

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But we were having trouble achieving the plain wide satin hem she wanted. This blanket binding was too coarse, with a manufactured edge that seemed too inelegant for this application, and neither of the laces I had on hand seemed a good alternative.

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We couldn’t find a satin material we liked, but this satin ready-made ruffle seemed at the store like it might work, along with this shimmery lace trim, but it too had that inelegant edge and was rather stiff and thick, making the gown look like it had a hoop skirt.

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The solution was a ruffle made from the same shirting material on the bias.

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I had thought I would embroider a cross on each gown, but my embroidery skills are better suited to very simple doll faces and writing my name in my choir robe. Instead I crocheted some to appliqué.

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T-shirt dress

Amy tie-dyed this adult-size t-shirt at Earthworks camp last summer. I finally got around to turning it into a dress for her. I cut off the body of the t-shirt at the bottom of the sleeves, then used an existing dress to cut arm holes on the top. Then, of course, I carefully sewed the skirt to the wrong side of the top. After picking out that seam, I did it again the right way. Turned a narrow hem on the armholes and stitched it down. Ta da!

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Chasuble

I made a chasuble. The one our priest wears has pilled a bit and catches on things, leaving snags. Most chasubles are lined, which is very tricky, trying to make sure the lining doesn’t hang below the outer layer, trying to match all the edges perfectly, etc. He prefers an unlined one, which I thought I could manage.

Here it is with one of his stoles:

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I chose a linen-look polyester-rayon blend, and because it is such a light cream color, edged it in gold satin to provide contrast against the white alb he wears underneath. The gold edging has the added benefit of emphasizing the lovely folds the fabric falls into. I have one of those bias tape makers you pull the fabric tape through as you iron, and was pleased to find that it worked nicely even with something as slippery as satin. Amy has cast her eye upon the shiny gold and asked if I could make a dress for her from the leftovers — I am not sure I have enough for a dress, but maybe a skirt at least.

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The neck was the hardest part. I have never used piping before. My zipper foot is missing a nut, so I wasn’t able to make the piping on the machine; didn’t take TOO long to hand-stitch it. Then I sewed the piping to the chasuble neck opening and trimmed the seam allowances. Attaching the top of the facing wasn’t too difficult, except for the two sides where the pieces of piping overlap — I did that bit by hand with a ladder stitch. The most challenging part was getting the bottom of the facing turned under and pinned smoothly. It would not cooperate. It insisted on buckling in as many ways as it could. After many attempts, I turned to the iron — and the facing’s lower edge breathed a sigh and lay down gently.

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Our priest is pleased with it and plans to wear it for midweek mass tomorrow evening. I hope this fabric performs better than the other one. I’ll try to remember to bring my camera and get a picture of him wearing it before or after mass.

Napkin rings

Got some new cloth napkins, and our wooden rings don’t fit them easily. I decided to make some fabric rings instead. In a free box last year I got some twill tape with plastic rings sewn in every so many inches — I think it might be for making roman shades or something. I cut some lengths without rings, tucked and zigzagged the ends, attached velcro and a button.