I was sitting at the kitchen table brooding. I was worried about a new toile that I had made and how it was going to look in black velvet. The toile is the prototype made out of inexpensive cotton, which is, once you’ve got it right, remade in the fabric you intend to use – in this case gorgeous deep black velvet. Often the nature of the chosen material works differently than the toile, moves and hangs differently, and a whole bunch of new problems arise. So it is often a deeply stressful part of the process.
My husband suggested that I pray to Jane of Orvieto. He assured me she would help me.
Well, I checked Jane of Orvieto out in our copy of Butler’s Lives of the Saints and found she was born to a peasant family and orphaned at age five. She worked as a seamstress and embroiderer. She refused marriage and as a young woman became a Dominican nun at Orvieto, Italy. She was a visionary and a prophet, known for living a life of deep prayer, was a miracle worker and reportedly a stigmatist. She was beatified in 1754 by Pope Benedict XIV and became the Patron Saint of Seamstresses.
Well, I thought. Okay why not. And I prayed to Jane of Orvieto that my Black Velvet Festival Dress would do the right thing and turn out okay. Well, as it happened, my prayers were answered! It was beautiful – dark and moody and sumptuous and put together with such love and devotion to detail.
So I sent up another prayer and thanked Jane of Orvieta, but more importantly I thanked my wonderful seamstress Sylwia for her beautiful, careful work, her extraordinary dedication and her endless patience. Thank you, I said, thank you. Sylwia is the true miracle worker.