Lent has traditionally been a time when convents and guilds repair or create vestments and linens, antependia, and laces. With the cost of buying ready-made vestments from catalogues, creating your own vestments from patterns may be a good option if you are blessed with a person in the parish or guild with sewing skills. It is possible to find good quality fabrics, of traditional pattern from sources other than the usual catalogue suppliers. If only one set of vestments and paraments can be afforded, you may wish to consider a tapestry pattern which utilizes a palette of colors for most of the liturgical year.
When making a Low Mass set ( chasuble, stole, burse and veil, and maniple) keep in mind that they will be worn by many shapes and sizes of clergy. In general, the Gothic or modified Gothic cut is flattering to all body shapes. Good design, quality fabric, and simplicity are guidelines to aim for. Chasubles are much-enhanced by a Y orphrey or a simple center orphrey rather than left plain. Certain patterns which feature a very large motif like St. Nicholas may be wonderful for a cope or frontal, but does not work at all well for smaller items such as a stole or burse.
Before making a final hem in a cope or chasuble, let the finished garment hang on a hanger for about a week, allowing the fabric to “drop” before making the final hemming. A damask, brocade or tapestry chasuble should have a lining to make it hold a shape and drape properly. Below are some excellent links which will be very helpful if your altar guild is considering making paraments or vestments. All offer fabric and trims for sale by the yard.
St. Benet’s Guild http://stbenetsguild.tripod.com/index.htm
(highly recommended) for patterns and fabrics
http://www.mperkins.co.uk/ (United Kingdom source)