How to Make the Antimension for CGS

Beginner-level sewing project to outfit your church's Catechesis of the Good Shepherd Atrium with a simple antimension for the display altar. Cut-out-and-sew fabric can be ordered from St. Tabitha's Workshop (link below). Finished product will add to the altar table learning work, is easily traced by a child with paper and pencil, and is machine washable! Simple line drawing of Christ's removal from the Cross for burial beautifully done by Guides of Light (Anna Winter); see more of her work at




  • Scissors
  • Sewing machine
  • Sewing pins
  • Ruler
  • Fabric marking tool (or regular pen)
  • Turning tool (chop stick, knitting needle, etc)
  • Hand sewing needle

Sewing Instructions

Prepare the fabric

  1. To keep the raw edges of the fabric from fraying in the wash and making a mess of loose threads, do one of the following: Sew the raw (cut) edges of the fabric with a loose zig-zag stitch; Cut along the edge with pinking shears; Put the fabric in a delicates bag and let it fray.
  2. Machine wash warm or cool with phosphate-free detergent on a gentle or delicate cycle.
  3. Machine dry on a low heat setting.
  4. Iron the fabric on the reverse side, or use a pressing cloth on the right side, on a hot or cotton setting.

Cut out the fabric

1. Cut out the red rectangle (backing) and the off-white rectangle (icon) along the edge of the color. Note the four black lines on each side of both rectangles.


Make the Antimension

1. Lay the icon on the backing, centered and with right sides together. Match up the black lines and pin the fabric together on all four sides. Continue pinning around the icon so that the fabrics are secure enough to sew together. The excess backing fabric will make a point on each corner.


2. Sew the front and back together:

      a. Sew along the edge of the icon fabric with a 1/2" seam allowance, keeping the backing fabric smooth as you go, backstitching at the beginning and end of each seam. Start off-center along the bottom of the icon so that you will have a turning hole when the seams are done.

      b. Sew along a side until you are 1/4" from the corner, then backstitch and cut the thread. Turn the fabric 90*, move the backing fabric out of the way, and start the next side seam 1/4" from the edge.


      c. Continue around the icon until all 4 sides are secure and you have a 3" or so turning hole in the center of the bottom of the icon.

3. Sew the mitered corners:

      a. Lay the fabric flat, fold it in half to make a triangle so the backing fabric is smooth into a point. Lay a ruler across the point from the edge of the stitches to the folded edge of the backing, mark the line with a marking tool or pen.


      b. Sew along the line, backstitching at beginning and end.

4. Trim the corners.


5. Turn the cloth right side out. Use a turning tool (chopstick, knitting needle, etc) to gently poke out the corners to make them nice, and run the tool along the seams on the inside to push out all the fabric and make a straight rectangle.


6. Iron flat. Ensure the turning hole is ironed straight to match the rest of the seam on that side.


7. Close the turning hole by hand sewing a ladder stitch just inside the turning hole. Be careful not to sew the icon to the back of the antimension.


8. Bring to your Atrium and enjoy the fruit of your labor!

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