© 2019 St. Martha's Guild, St. John Cantius Church, Chicago, IL

  • Julie S.

First Burse

Updated: Jun 18, 2019


I have nursed my first burse to completion. It reminds me of bookbinding. Or maybe purse making. Or maybe both.


I had a little trouble with the needle action because the plexiglass that acts as a stiffener doesn't allow for bending to bring the needle through. I went to my curved needle from the upholstery collection. It wasn’t ideal. It was like sewing with a nail and it kept flipping all over the place (probably I just need more time with it).


That got me to thinking about surgeons and their needles. I found some promising looking half curved reverse cutting suture needles online. Might have been be just the ticket. Then my son picked up one of my needles, grabbed some pliers...


I love my little mangled needle. It worked so well for sewing on the trim.


And about that trim. We had so much trouble finding a match to the narrow gold trim from the original 1920s chasuble. Everything was too bright, or too red or too yellow. We ended up using one that was too lemony and cheated the color by running an orange thread down the center to give a visual color shift. Worked like a charm, well, except maybe from the perspective of the person who had to run that orange through all of it (thank you, Karen).


I'm still apologizing to our Dear Lord and those unfortunate people who encountered my ‘talking burse’. I'm pretty sure you're not supposed to do that under any circumstances.


If you want to read all of the gory details about this vestment restoration project you can find them here.