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  • Writer's pictureJenna Bruns

Viet Nam Velveteen

My dear friend, Pastor Cheryl, recently asked if I would be able to transform a scarlet velveteen Altar cloth into a stole for Holy Week. She had received the cloth from Chaplain Canady, who used it during his military service in Viet Nam in 1970. Of course, I said "yes!". The cloth had gold and scarlet fringe along the bottom and was in amazingly good shape with only a minor stain. I was able to take apart the seam around the edge, preserving the lining to use for the stole as well. I designed and appliqued two inserts for the bottom of the stole, incorporating Holy Week symbols of cross and crown of thorns. I also used some of the fringe along the bottom of the inserts. The simplicity of the designs kept the stole understated, but the velveteen made it elegant. Pastor Cheryl sent me the following information to use for the label which was stitched to the lining.

"This stole was made from an altar cloth used in Viet Nam 03/1970-03/1971 in An Khe in the Central Highlands by Chaplain William C. Canady, Captain in the Army's 4th Infantry Division. It was used on the front of jeeps, empty ammo boxes and C-ration boxes. The altar cloth was given to The Rev. Cheryl Kester-Schmidt in 2012, Morganton, GA."

It was an honor and a blessing to play a part in preserving and re-purposing this piece of history.

The photos below document the making of this very special stole!

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