Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is your return policy?
All of my garments are fully guaranteed but any alterations or adjustments must be requested within 90 days of receipt of your order. This 90 day period is triple the garment industry standard (30 days) and provides plenty of time for you to wear and serve in your garments to make sure the fit is to your liking. Should you need an alteration or adjustment within the 90 day fit guarantee period, please email me for shipping instructions. After 90 days, any requested alterations and adjustments will incur standard labor and shipping charges. I have had to institute this policy after several instances of clients asking for free alterations months or even years after their order was delivered. Simply put, if I were to do all of these requested free alterations, it would unfairly drive up the price of my garments for everyone.
Q: Help! I'm getting ordained in 2 weeks--what do I do?
As of 2021, I no longer accept deadlines of any kind (please see the button on the home page that gives a lengthier explanation). So, in cases in which you need vestments quickly, I would suggest that you either check the Priests Bargains page for ready-to-ship options or borrow vestments. In my 25 years of experience, it is rarely the case that someone is ordained with little or no warning, so once you are on the ordination track, you should begin planning for vestments and cassocks.
Q: What are your policies regarding payments?
Starting April 2020, I am now requiring all orders to be paid in full before I begin work. For many years I was able to use a deposit/balance due system, but, alas, I have had to spend far too much time tracking down clients who forget to pay their balance due, and I've had a few cases in which clients have not paid at all. I love creating beautiful vestments but I do not love having to track down people for payment.
Once you submit your order via the online shopping cart or email, I will finalize any necessary details. For email orders, I will provide an invoice and Square payment link and your order will go on my schedule once the payment has been made (this secures your spot on my schedule). Orders that come in through the online shopping cart go directly onto my schedule.
In the rare instance I do not receive a response from you to confirm the details of your order, I will hold your payment for 6 months and attempt to contact you every 2 weeks. If after that period, you have not confirmed your order details, your payment is forfeit.
Q: Why is your phone number not listed on your website? Can I call you?
The simple answer is no--I need all orders to come in through either the website or email to make sure all the details are correct and in writing. Additionally, I have a genetic hearing issue and find speaking on the telephone difficult.
Q: I’ve found other vestments cheaper elsewhere. Why are your garments so expensive?
When it comes to making any garment, there are two factors reflected in the price: materials and labor. I am very particular about materials and will only work with fabrics, galloons, crosses, fringes, buttons, etc. that are high quality, beautiful, and long lasting. In this age of throw-away garments, few people are educated about quality materials, so this is definitely a case of knowing how to compare “apples to apples”. If vestments are cheaper, it’s nearly always because the materials are lower-quality.
As for labor, the simple answer is: I don’t outsource overseas and I don’t cut corners. Unlike big-box retailers who have garments made by sweatshops in China where seamstresses are paid pennies per hour, I personally do all cutting and fitting work and then have the garments completed by contract seamstresses. My contract seamstresses are all highly-trained and I pay at the top of the wage-bracket for this kind of work since I believe that “the workman is worthy of his hire”. My contract seamstresses are very dedicated to this work and take great pride in the quality of their workmanship. Simply put, we don’t cut corners. The old adage "you get what you pay for" is very true when it comes to vestments.
Q: I am going to be ordained a priest soon and while I really want to purchase quality vestments, I am on a limited budget. What do you suggest?
I suggest you purchase one lightweight, embroidered set in a multi-purpose color and then one set of Standard Brocade "dark" vestments (typically burgundy). You can save a little extra by having the dark vestments made without a sticharion and then using the sticharion from the lightweight set with both sets of vestments. And, you can use the Wishlist feature on the website to let friends, family, and parishioners know what you need when they're looking to give a gift.
I like to remind all of my clients of the concept of "cost-per-wear" when purchasing vestments: for example, one of my Standard Brocade sets is designed for about 15-20 years of use, which is about 600 wears and the cost-per-wear of that set is approx $2.15/wear. On the other hand, a lesser quality set of vestments lasts about 3-4 years and costs about $5/wear, which is more than double the cost-per-wear of my higher quality vestments.
Q: I perspire heavily and am too warm and uncomfortable in my vestments--what should I do?
The lightest-weight vestments you can purchase are the lightweight, embroidered vestments--the entire set weighs just over 5 lbs. The phelonion is unlined and will keep you as cool as is possible. Also, this is a tough fabric and perspiration won't damage it as quickly as liturgical brocades. The embroidered fabric is available in many beautiful patterns and multiple background colors, so you could wear only lightweight vestments year-round (this is what my perspiration-challenged clients do). You should avoid real-metal brocades with metallic galloon because they are the "hottest" of all vestments.
Q: Where can I find patterns to make Orthodox vestments?
Sewing vestments is completely different from standard sewing. Not only are the fabrics and trims different, but there is a whole host of techniques for dealing with these materials in a traditional fashion. It is a common misconception by those who don't sew that anyone who has the ability to sew can sew anything, but there is a wide variety of skills and techniques used in various types of sewing (upholstery, swimwear, couture, etc.). For example, I know vestments, but I don’t do upholstery.
As far as books or patterns, there aren't any available. This is because each vestment maker drafts his own "slopers" or master patterns that are then manipulated to each client's measurements. Personally, I direct draft onto the fabric using both my master patterns and my client's measurements, so I'm not able to provide "patterns" like those used in home sewing. Vestment making is a craft with many different facets and techniques that takes years to learn and it's not easy to distill it into a few, brief steps for one or two garments. The equivalent would be to ask for paint-by-number icons: the finished product might look vaguely icon-like, but it wouldn't be an Orthodox icon following the established tradition of the craft. I know this answer may seem discouraging, but it's the reality of an aesthetic tradition built up over many centuries of refinement and use.