How to sew a bespoke uniform for Equestrian Order of Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem in full compliance with the Statute

On several occasions, customers and estimators of my works, have warmly invited me to work on the Equestrian Order uniforms: in particular on the uniform for Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, that is, the cape for the knights and the mozzetta for the priest.

 At the time I was very intrigued and began to deepen my knowledge of this topic. I decided to apply my working method, the one I use in designing my vestments or the primary furnishings of the liturgical hall: studying the origins and history of the cape to give the best possible product to each new Knight.

The origins of the cape for Knight of the Holy Sepulchre

uniform holy sepulchre

The study of the origins of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre always inspires a great fascination.

It derives from the Order of the Canons of the Holy Sepulchre, established in 1099 by Godfrey de Bouillon, with the precise purpose of defending both the symbols of Christianity in the Holy Land and the pilgrims who flowed there.

Certainly the most well-known symbol of the order is the five-fold Cross.

It consists of a large central cross with laterally extended tips, with similar smaller crosses in each quarter of the large cross. In the number, they remind the knight of the five plagues of Our Lord Jesus. Although the cross is the most known and recurring symbol, it must not overshadow the very concept of the Knight's cape, understood as uniform.

The trade of cheap capes

When I started making capes for the uniform of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, I immediately realized that, although they had to comply with the requirements on the quality of materials, production and decor, they were actually left much to the “inspiration” (to be kind) of the seamstress (or presumed such).

Now, obviously, everyone can do what he wants of his own money, but it would be unthinkable, for example, for a soldier to appear at his place of service, with a uniform sewn so approximate, with precarious decorations, etc.

Make the cape for the Knight of the Holy Sepulchre with the same care used for the sacred vestments

So I have tried to bring everything I know and everything I do with my vestments, in the realization of the garments. In full compliance with the Statute of Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre, the cape has to maintain the proportions of shoulders and length, related to the conformation of the Knight.

Not too short, not too long. The collar must be in white velvet.

So, the bad habit of using the same colour for collar and fabric is NOT CONTEMPLATED BY THE STATUTE. Same goes for the closure on the chest. To the specific white frog closure of the order, an invisible metal hook is added, which must support most of the weight. 

The fabric to be used must have specific characteristics: it must be ivory-coloured (and NOT white, as unfortunately we often see around) and appropriate in weight and touch. But the question is not only related to the colour.
The image of the Knight is affected by this.

cape uniform holy sepulchre

The fabric used for the cape must have two very important characteristics

The fabric I use to sew each new Knight’s cape is:

  • covering, in order not to reveal the Knight's clothing and creating a slight transparent effect;
  • light, so the use in summer is not transformed in a torment;
  • falling, in order to guarantee the right front and a regular number of folds on the back.

Contrary to what you might think, the search for the optimal fabric is not so easy. I have personally tested at least ten types of different wools, in a wide variety of weights, until I found the best solution.

And, coincidentally, the optimal solution is a fabric made following my exact specifications. In other words, not available on the market.

The extreme attention to details in the sewing the uniform for Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem

Regardless of the fabric that my customers can choose, there is a firm point on which I do not compromise: the high quality in the product finishing.

All my capes are internally lined for half-height and, in the richer version, they also have an internal sartorial pocket.

Both, the lining and the bottom, are strictly hand-wrapped in satin (I assure that I have seen some capes with the bottom cut with scissors and with the wires that dangled...) and the cross is embroidered in velvet.

Two very different types of cross

five fold cross

The cross is the most noticeable detail in the cape that constitutes the main garment Equestrian Order of Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem; especially because on the white colour of the cape, the red cross stands out in a decisive way, leaping to the eyes of anyone watching you.

I saw crosses - like the one in this photo - made without commitment, in red cloth, cut with scissors and then sewed on the mantle, positioning everything without accuracy and care. 

And here's the final result: crooked, asymmetrical crosses with raised edges. I dare not imagine what will happen when they will try to wash that cape...

But does the uniform have a value? And what if with few euro more, you could get a precise job, embroidered directly on the mantle, using a very precious red velvet?

The cross embroidered in velvet and bordered directly on the fabric

I decided to make perfect decorations. I put the same commitment with which I create my vestments. I want a Knight of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem to be satisfied just like a priest who relies on me for the realization of his chasuble.

cross uniform holy sepulchre

Therefore, the cross I make on each cape is embroidered directly on the fabric using beautiful red velvet, with neat seams and cuts, beautiful to see and to touch. Basically I think it is not so difficult to make beautiful products, it’s necessary a bit of experience and, of course, good taste.

Overall, the cape must present you as a distinguished and cared man

Strange as it may seem, you, as a Knight, wear a uniform. And it has to be soldierly, neat and clean. If you are an employee, a professional or a member of the armed forces, you have already made this concept your own.

So why not take care of your image equally when you're in church with all the other Knights and under the merciless gaze of the faithful?

If you then consider that, my cape presents:

  • a comfortable fit, with a soft collar that turns well on your jacket without suffocating you;
  • a fabric with the right weight, which does not make you sweat like the heavy cloth that you find around;
  • all the stitches finished in satin and that will not make the threads dangle, even after many years.

then you can easily understand how making a good impression is easier than ever!

cape uniform holy sepulchre


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