This article is part of a sewing series by Jen Frost (Faith and Fabric). She’s passionate not only about sharing her faith, but about sharing the love of sewing with generations old and young. Sewing is a hands-on skill that is seeing a renewed interest, and she’s thrilled to be able to incorporate the Catholic faith into beginner-friendly sewing projects and classes!
When I think back to all those moments, as a child, that influenced and strengthened my faith, there are a few that stand out to me: the Catholic calendar my grandfather kept meticulously up to date with family birthdays and appointments, the Last Supper image my grandmother hung over the dining table, the wooden “JESUS” sign my aunt had in her curio, the beautiful statue of Mary that my mother kept and that we, as kids, played endlessly with. Each of these moments is a “nothing” moment – they’re not giant planned parties, or big feast day celebrations. Instead, each was just a seed that was quietly planted, gentle examples of those close to me living their faith in a beautiful and natural way.
I’ve always loved to sew, and when it came time to teach my son some basic sewing skills, I couldn’t find many projects that fit what I was looking for. Some were too feminine, others too complicated. I had an a-ha moment one day while sewing the front and back of a purse: what if we created simple plush dolls that children could sew in the image of their favorite saint? This is how the Sew-a-Saint doll collection was born!
Each Sew-a-Saint doll is intended to provide young children – or beginner sewists – with a simple project as an introduction to sewing either by hand or on a machine. Perhaps even more important, it leaves the maker with a faith-filled handmade item that they can either keep or gift. These lovely little dolls, to me, are like those “nothing” moments that meant so much to me growing up. I look at some of the photos of the children with their dolls, and see the joy in their faces as they snuggle up to St. Michael, St. Lucy, and St. Agnes. For them, these small moments may just be the seeds that – once planted – help their faith grow.
There have been many fruits that I, too, have received in the creation of the Sew-a-Saint dolls. In creating each of the saints, a significant period of time is spent researching each one, determining which elements can best capture their likeness, and what iconic images should be included in the design. While some of the more well-known saints required little work (like St. Michael the Archangel), I’ve gotten to know others, like St. Agnes, so much more. St. Agnes, born in the year 292, consecrated herself to Jesus at the tender age of 10. She was a beautiful young girl from a wealthy family, and had many high-ranking suitors; however, the men, slighted by her convicted devotion to a life of religious purity, turned her in to the authorities as a follower of Christianity. The Prefect Sempronius (similar to a governor) condemned Agnes to be dragged naked through the streets to a brothel as punishment for her crime of faith. One account tells that, as she prayed, her hair grew long and covered her nakedness.
It’s details like these that are carefully worked into each saint; in creating St. Agnes, she was drawn to be youthful and lovely, wearing a necklace of gold and dress of lace as would be befitting a daughter of wealthy parents. Her hair was drawn to appear as if it has a life of its own; long, thick, and twisting, you can imagine it miraculously growing and covering her in the streets.
All Saints Day may have just passed, but we live in communion with the saints each and every day. Our newsletter subscribers received a 10% off any Sew-a-Saint doll, and I’m pleased to share it with you here, too: use code ALLSAINTSDAY for 10% off every Sew-a-Saint doll you purchase through Friday, November 22. Don’t see your favorite saint? No problem — each month, a new saint is created and joins our Sew-a-Saint family. I look forward to 2020 and learning more with you about St. Josephine Bakhita, St. Martin de Porres, and St. Joan of Arc as the collection continues to grow!
Copyright 2019 Jen Frost