A little light repair work

A Cutwork Tablecloth in need of some loving attention

A Cutwork Tablecloth in need of some loving attention

One of the advantages of a family obsession with textiles is that no-one looks at me strangely when I get excited about a fabric, a thread, or a stitch.

One of the disadvantages is that between us we have a good many pieces stitched (probably) by an aunt, great-aunt or grandmother, which have been in constant use for years. Furthermore, as table-linen, if they get dirty, they just go in the washing machine. Usually this simply results in a cleaner cloth, but sometimes forty years of machine washing will catch up with us.

More detail of the Cutwork Tablecloth

More detail of the Cutwork Tablecloth

We don’t know who stitched this, or even whether it was bought by some ancestress of mine who wanted to rescue it from a jumble sale!

It seems to be a combination of cutwork and pulled work, with some elements I have yet to identify (fortunately I have a whole bookshelf of books to help!), and sadly, it needs mending.

Needs Mending!

Needs Mending!

As you see! There are buttonhole bars (or are they overcast bars?) which have actually broken, and in order to repair them I will need to reinstate some of the edgings as well.

Then there are other elements of the embroidery that I will need to identify and and replace. As far as I can tell, everything is worked with a single strand of stranded cotton, and would you believe, in spite of a considerable stash, I had to go out and buy some thread to match the existing one!


  1. How lovely that you are there like a guardian angel for these cloths, ready to restore them to their former beauty.

  2. Anita says:

    I think it’s buttonhole bars,the 3 bars at the top corner looks like that.To be a part of a family where many ladies interested in textiles sounds interesting!

  3. Janice says:

    Yes, I can well believe and exact required more thread. This is the sort of thing that eats away at you until you’ve done it, isn’t it! It’s always more enjoyable to work on something new, but how could you not repair the inherited tablecloth that will just take a little concerted effort….! Good luck with it. Is there much damage or just the bit you’ve photographed here?

  4. Janice says:

    That should be ‘an exact match’!

  5. It’s the same with patchwork fabric – no matter how much you have in your stash, you always need to buy more when you start a new project!

  6. I see so many cloths that have had no guardain angels that it is wonderful to here that this one has. I quiet despair sometimes when I see beautiful work cast aside. Thank goodness for families that treasure their guardian embroidery angel.

  7. terriea says:

    Fabric works with emboridery / stitches are pieces of art. Having them passed on decades hold stories of the family. Precious keepsake.

  8. Lady Fi says:

    How lovely that you are taking care of these lovely cloths.

  9. Action Ma'am says:

    I think this one may have come from Lucy and Percy when they came to visit Himself in which case it would have been around 47 years of washing. Gosh that takes me back!

  10. karen says:

    Oh this looks so exciting…it’s fantastic that you will repair this and maintain it for use. I hope you show us when it it finished.

  11. Alex says:

    Oh, I would believe it. A million to one chance that happens nine times out of ten!!

  12. It does look beautiful and much loved and should be repaired if possible – can’t think of anyone better suited to the job than you; you’ll more than do it justice from what I’ve seen of your work! XCathy