How to Make a Clerical Stole

Written by karen curinga
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How to Make a Clerical Stole
Clerical stoles are worn by ordained members of the clergy. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images News/Getty Images)

Liturgical stoles are worn by members of the clergy during religious ceremonies. Long, thin garments worn around the neck, similar to scarves, they formerly most often were made of silk, but now are constructed of other fabrics as well. The style and meaning of the stole date to Roman times and it represents the yoke of Christ; service. One who wears the clerical stole has been ordained, and the colour of the stole he wears is determined by the liturgical season and the type of service or rite being performed.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Fabric
  • Fringe
  • Iron
  • Straight pins
  • Scissors
  • Thread
  • Sewing machine

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  1. 1

    Lay the fabric on a flat, clean surface. Cut a 14-inch wide by 98-inch long rectangle from the fabric. Fold the fabric in half lengthwise with right sides facing. The right side of the fabric is the side the side considered the front, or more finished side. Press along the fold, using a warm iron, to set the crease.

  2. 2

    Pin the edges so they hold together evenly. Machine-stitch along each of the three open sides of the stole, 1/4 inch from the fabric edge, leaving a several-inch-long opening in one end. Turn the stole right side out through the opening. Hand-stitch opening closed. Iron the stole.

  3. 3

    Cut two pieces of fringe, each the length of the stole end width plus 1 inch. Pin one length of fringe on each stole end, folding the fringe in by 1/2 inch on each fringe end, to create a finished look. Stitch the fringe on the stole ends, using the sewing machine. Some stoles are left plain with no decorative fringe or tassels.

  4. 4

    Attach the appropriate embellishments to the stole. Religious goods, emblems and symbols for all denominations are available online through a number of suppliers. Clerical stoles often are decorated in a variety of ways; crosses or other symbols of Christ often are embroidered on them. Strips of cloth in contrasting colours, patterns or textures may be applied to the edges. If you are not certain, discuss the appropriate symbols to be used with a member of the clergy.

Tips and warnings

  • The stole usually is worn with the centre flat against the back of the neck, allowing the long ends to drape down the body, parallel to each other. Depending on the denomination and vestments, stole ends can be worn in front of the body, over the shoulder, attached or tied together, or they may hang loosely down the sides of the body.
  • Sometimes, a piece of fabric is attached at the neck or on the edge of the length of the stole, to protect it from sweat.

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