Friday, November 7, 2014

Sew an Elemental Altar Cloth

 - Image © Patti Wigington; Licensed to

Use your altar cloth during rituals to represent the four classical elements
In many traditions of Wicca and Paganism, the four classical elements of Earth, Air, Fire and Water are considered significant. To make an altar cloth that represents all four of them, you'll need to select four different kinds of fabric -- one for each element, and get about 1/4 to 1/2 yard of each, depending on how big you want to make your altar cloth.
When selecting your fabrics, make sure each material is of a similar weight -- you don't want to try stitching together satin, a heavy brocade, and tulle all in the same project. Quilter's cotton is a great fabric to use, and it's reasonably priced -- usually under $3 per yard. You may wish to pick a material with a design -- I used a green one with leaves for Earth, blue with clouds for Air, etc. -- or you might just want to go with colors that symbolize the elements in your tradition.
 - Image © Patti Wigington 2008

Begin by cutting four quarter-circles out of your material.
First, cut out a 1/4 circle out of each fabric. To do this, you'll need to make sure you have one square corner. Tie a piece of string to a pen, and hold the end of the string at the corner of the fabric. Guide the pen along the fabric, as shown in Figure 1. This will give you four quarter circles that have the same radius all the way around.
 - Image © Patti Wigington 2008

Stitch your quarter-circles together in pairs, giving you two half circles
Once you have four equal quarters, you'll want to piece them together in pairs. Match up two adjacent quarters, such as Earth and Air, and stitch them along the straight edge, with right sides together (see Figure 2). Once you've stitched them together, unfold and press out the seam. Do this with the other two pieces as well. Now what you'll end up with is two half-circles.

 - Image © Patti Wigington 2008

Match up your two half-circles, and sew them together at the center line.
Take your two half circles and place them right side together, matching up outer edges and center seams. Stitch together along the long straight edge. Press the seam open.

 - Image © Patti Wigington 2008

Use your altar cloth during rituals to represent the four classical elements.
Finally, press under 1/4" all the way around, and then fold that edge under another 1/4" to create a smooth hem on the circle. Pin in place, and then stitch the edge. You'll end up with a complete circle, with each of the elements represented in a quarter. Use it on your altar during ritual or other celebrations.

**Helpful tip: If you use a full yard of fabric for each element, you can cut four quarters for each one -- make one altar cloth for yourself, and then make more for three of your friends!

Reblogged by
By Patti Wigington
Paganism/Wicca Expert

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