Friday, March 23, 2018

Stress Sewing A Chalice Cover

My furry little helper has been very ill lately. We had a public holiday here recently, and I was waiting to hear from the emergency vet on how she was responding to treatment. The hours were ticking by with no word. I was too agitated to work on anything for someone else, because my concentration was elsewhere. So I converted a vintage doily into a chalice cover for use at outdoor SCA events like tourneys. We have a real problem with European wasps here when it is warm, and a cover for my drink seemed like a good idea.

The original, vintage doily

I marked my heraldic design out by tracing it onto the linen doily with a removable pen, using a window as a light box.

The stitching is double running stitch with a double thread of DMC cotton floss. I'll admit that it is not terribly accurate stitching because my mind was elsewhere. I knotted the embroidery off on the back as this will be washed in the washing machine and needs to be sturdy.

When the main embroidery was done, I did a line of running stitch around the edge of the doily and also wove some floss around the needle lace edging.

Some beads were required to finish it off and add weight to the cover. I used some green glass beads and secured them with the embroidery floss.
My cover is very simple, but suits my needs. I had just finished pressing it when the crucial vet call came in, so the timing was good. Quick projects can sometimes be just what I need to get my motivation and enthusiasm for craftwork back.

Here are some SCA-period chalice covers (used in a religious context) in case you feel inspired to make something more complex:

Image from V&A Museum:
Chalice veil - Place of origin: England (made)
Date: ca. 1560 to ca. 1600 (made)
Materials and Techniques: linen, silk embroidery
Museum number: 1415-1874
Gallery location: In Storage

Image from: LACMA
Chalice Veil -England, circa 1600
Costumes; ensembles
Linen plain weave with silk embroidery, metallic-wrapped thread lace
22 1/2 × 22 3/4 in. (57.15 × 57.79 cm)

''Shepheard Buss'' Textile held in the V&A, Image from

Place of origin: England (made)
Date: 1570-1600 (made)
Materials and Techniques: Embroidered linen in silk, bobbin lace
Museum number: T.219-1953
Gallery location: British Galleries, Room 58, case 6

Russian Chalice Veil. Image from Pinterest
Chalice veil Date: 16th century. Culture: Russian. Medium: Metal, silk Dimensions: 18 1/2 in. (47 cm). Classifications: Textiles-Embroidered, Textiles-Ecclesiastical.: Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Accession Number: 2009.300.3453
Attribution not confirmed.