The Directions to Make an Amice

priest on the mess image by Kostyantyn Ivanyshen from

An amice is part of a Catholic priest's vestments. It is occasionally used as a head covering, but generally covers the shoulders and neck and ties in the front. Most priests no longer wear an amice, but the pope will still don a striped amice when pontificating.

Amices, being one piece of square or oblong linen, are quite easy to make, and even someone with basic sewing skills should be able to construct one with ease.

Select the fabric. Like the alb, an amice can be made only of 100 per cent linen, although the ties can be white or coloured silk. The traditional colour for an amice is white. Valentin Thalhofer, a 19th-century German theologan, indicated that an amice should be at least 32 inches long and 24 inches wide. You will need a piece of white linen at least 34 inches long and 26 inches wide to allow for hemming. You will also need an extra 7-inch by 5-inch piece of linen for the cross applique.

Choose the shape. An amice can be either rectangular or oblong. Cut the ends in an arc if you choose the oblong shape.

Hem the amice. Fold under 1/2 inch along all edges of the amice and press. Fold again and press again. Hand-stitch or machine-stitch as close to the folded edge as possible, all the way around the amice.

Make the ties. Cut two pieces of silk or linen 24 inches long and 3 inches wide. Fold lengthwise and sew 1/4 inch from the nonfolded edge. Turn the ties right side out and iron them flat. Tuck one unsewn end into itself to form a fold, and sew. Do the same for the other tie. Iron them flat.

Attach the ties. For a rectangular amice, sew the ties to the corners of a long side. For an oblong amice, sew the ties at the beginning of the curve on one long side.

Add the cross. Every amice must have a cross in the centre. Cut a cross shape out of the 7-inch by 5-inch piece of linen, fold under the edges 1/4 inch, and sew the cross to the centre of the amice.