Liturgical Sewing: Shortening an Orarion

Our subdeacon’s new orarion was too long and he was in danger of tripping on it. Father brought it home today and I took eight inches off each end (sixteen inches total). This is the same technique I have used for shortening an epitrachelion of Father’s. I took photos as I went so I could show you how to do it.

A few points:

  1. If the liturgical item has already been blessed, then everything you take off of it, including snipped threads, is likewise blessed and must be placed in the burn box. If you remove crosses or other ornaments, you can certainly save them for later use, keeping in mind that they are blessed.
  2. Try to preserve the item as much as possible, making as few cuts as necessary and making alterations as invisible as possible.
  3. Take your time.
Here are the two ends of the orarion. 

The first thing I did was remove the cross from one side. 
Do only one side at a time. You’ll see why later. 

See those little threads? Burn box.

I cut the orarion just under an inch above the top row of galloon.

Then I cut off seven inches of the remaining end (over the area where the cross had been). The reason I only cut seven inches off is because there will be about an inch overlap. That gives you a total of eight inches of length removed from one end.

Going back to the end with the ornamentation, use your seam ripper to peel back the galloon down to the stitching on the bottom edge of the horizontal piece.

Like so:

Now carefully cut out the strip of brocade above the galloon, leaving the satin backing. This helps alleviate some of the bulk when you overlap the two edges. 

Cut off a small triangle from the portion of the backing that is folded over (on each side).

Now, fold the satin backing forward such that the resulting folded edge is just higher than the edge of the galloon. Pin in place.

This is what it should look like from the back:

Fold back the bits of vertical galloon that extend beyond the top edge of the horizontal galloon. Pin in place.

It should look like this:

Slide the other cut end of the orarion between the satin backing and the galloon like a sandwich. Here’s a close-up:

What it looks like from the front:

Pin in place (the red pins, in this case):

The back view:

Put the two ends of the orarion next to each other and line up the galloon. 
Pin the cross in such a way that it matches the one that has not yet been removed.

The back view:

Find some gold thread that matches the galloon. Load this in the top of your sewing machine. Use thread that matches the satin backing in the bobbin (white, in this case).

Sew the sandwich together, trying to follow the original line of stitching on the extreme outer edges of the galloon. 

Sew the cross in place.

Here are the two ends, the altered one on the left, the unaltered on on the right. 

Yes, the one I altered is slightly wonky. Sigh.

The back view:

Repeat the steps on the other side.
Here is the finished article, both sides altered:

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