Frequently Asked Questions
Q: I'm being ordained a deacon and will be ordained a priest soon (6 months to 1
should I purchase?
You may already have an Zostikon (cassock) but you will need an Exorason.
You will also need a set of deacon’s vestments. I have three options I recommend:
Q: I really like the photo of the gray Zostikon (cassock), but do clergy really wear
- Borrow vestments and then save your pennies for your priest's vestments.
- Purchase one gold/white or gold/red deacon's set which can be worn every
- Purchase one gold/white or gold/red deacon's set and then cuffs and orarion (no
a burgundy/gold brocade (or burgundy velveteen). When the rubrics specify "light"
wear the gold set, when they specify "dark" wear the gold sticharion with the
Yes! Most clergy are delighted to wear something other than black and the lighter
color is nice and cool in summer. The most common colors of zostika are black, blue, and gray (in
that order). Other colors I’ve sewn include burgundy, taupe, forest green, and ivory.
Q: Why do I have to e-mail you for swatches? Why can't you just send a generic packet
I like to know your budget, your needs, and your color and pattern preferences.Corresponding
with you via e-mail allows me to narrow down my choices of what to send you. However, I have
hundreds of fabrics available and if you don't like what is in the first swatch packet, let me know
and I'll keep sending swatches until you find that "just-right" fabric/galloon combination.
Q: Should I purchase a performance, tropical-weight wool, or silk Zostikon?
While the performance fabric is “dressy” enough for Sunday use, it is designed for
daily, hard-wear use. It is also excellent for those who perspire heavily as it wicks perspiration
away from the body. And if you’re looking for a machine-washable garment, then it’s definitely
the way to go. The tropical-weight wool is a dressier garment, suitable for both daily and Sunday
wear. It is ideal for those who prefer natural fibers or want a classic garment. The silk crepe is
primarily a “special occasion” garment because it is a bit higher-maintenance than the
other two fabrics.
Q: I am going to be ordained a priest soon and while I really want to purchase
I am on a limited budget. What do you suggest?
I am trying to offer a wider price range of vestments and to this end, I am always
searching for new fabrics that will be high-quality, traditional, and affordable. The woven vestments
in the Priest’s Vestments section are one of the best options. One suggestion: when you
purchase your ordination set, request that I use an all-gold galloon on the sticharion so that you can
wear it with multiple sets of vestments. While this doesn’t save you money on your first set,
it will save you $225 on all subsequent vestment sets. Please keep in mind that this is for those on
a limited budget—having a sticharion with each set keeps the sticharion from wearing out. One
other money-saving option is to leave off the epigonation. If you are awarded it at a later date,
you can purchase one all-purpose embroidered-style epigonation that would be worn with all of your
Q: I perspire heavily and am too warm and uncomfortable in my vestments--what should
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. If you like the look of an Zostikon under vestments, but
find this just too uncomfortable, I offer a “micro-anterri”, which is like an old-fashioned shirt
dicky. It is a cassock collar sewn to a “bib” and costs $45. To use it, you wear a white shirt,
then the “micro” over the white shirt, and then vest as usual.
Q: I’ve found other vestments cheaper elsewhere. Why are your garments so
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 I know will make not only beautiful vestments, but long-
lasting ones. Whenever possible, I make up sample garments of any new fabric so I can have one of my
clergy-testers test it for durability. 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, paying seamstresses
pennies per hour, I do all cutting and fitting work myself and then contract with American finish
seamstresses to complete the garments. 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.
If you compare my prices with a comparable, high-quality ecclesiastical tailor in
Greece, you will find on average that I am about 25% cheaper. I have not raised prices in five years and
in order to cover my increased material and labor costs, I have worked hard to run a “leaner” business so
that I do not have to raise prices.
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.