Monday, 22 May 2017

Heirloom tablecloth to bedspread

One of the items I inherited from my mum is a tea table cloth that my great maiden aunty Ivy embroidered. I remember it was used regularly for Sunday night tea.  My great aunt was a beautiful needlewoman.  She did not have much by way of money and she therefore kept herself occupied through the year by making everyone a Christmas presents.  The ladies often received pinnies the men hand knitted socks.  She knitted regularly with two and three ply wool and I still have a bed cape which is in 2ply with lots of stitch work in it.  It was a lovely pink colour but with age it has faded.  However I cannot bear to part with it.  I no longer wear it as it is too fragile but there is a lot of fine lacy work gone into it on such a fine ply.  Must have taken her ages to knit.  I was very fond of Aunty Ivy.  She was my maiden great aunt who stayed at home to look after my great granddad.  I always remember when we used to visit that she used to have a chair with her dolls and teddies in.  I have one of the dolls a pot negro baby doll who needs re-stringing and a little tlc and she had lots of fancy lovely lacy mats around her home.  Fine crochet was one of her loves.  I was 10 when she passed.  She was such a big part of our early lives and I only remember her with a neck brace and a walking stick.  She developed very bad arthritis in her middle 40s. She didnt have it easy but she gave so much and was a great favourite with all of us.

Anyway back to the tea table cloth.  It was beautifully embroidered and is well over 50 years old.  The fabric has gone very thin and there are a few holes so its teatable days are very much over. I am thinking of fussy cutting the corners and the centre and backing them with cotton to give support and strength and then incorporating it into a patchwork/recyled embroidered bedspread. I have been collecting damaged cloths teatable and tray cloths where the embroidery is still in lovely condition even if the cloth itself is damaged.  The design of the tablecloth is Crinoline Ladies.  I am going to trace the design off so that I can at a future date duplicate the design  for my own tea table cloth in due course.   I have a vintage plain Irish Linen cloth that has never been used and some vintage threads already so I just need to take the time to trace off the pattern with some greaseproof paper. Hopefully then it will just be a difference in generations hers preserved in my bed cover and mine to use on the tea table.  It sort of has a nice serendipity about it don't you think.

This is just the start  - I have other cloths and table cloths to incorporate within the bed spread together with lovely pieces of cotton fabric, lace, embellishment in the form of embroidery.  They are all safely stacked together in a box as a complete project.  I was originally taken with the idea when I first saw it in a Cath Kidston book.  I have seen other ladies have a go and make similar things and I think that they are all treasures in their own way.  And of course I am also doing similar things with other projects.  I am brimming with possibilities and ideas at the moment.

One thing I do need to get done though is get Great Aunty Ivy's sewing box restored.  It needs re-staining and polishing.  I would quite like to have a go at doing it myself but am not really sure where to start.  Does anyone have any ideas.  It is a plain dark stained table box on long legs and it looks as though part of the veneer/wood is lifting or missing.  Some of the trim in the pale green silk lining also needs putting back in its place.  I want her sewing box/table close to hand in the front room so that I can use it and get on with some of the projects I have in mind.  I think she would be happy with that.

Right upwards and onwards.

Catch you soon.




  1. You might want to begin by cleaning the box to remove old grime and polish. This is the very safe solution I use, but do get the ultrafine steel wool. Just a good clean brings back life to the wood

  2. What a lovely legacy to have to go with your happy memories of your Aunty. I'm pleased you are back online and blogging again.


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