Mending a tablecloth, second stage

Split Stitch in place
Split Stitch in place

Having settled on a smaller circle, but still worried about the stability of the fabric, I paused for thought.

I’ve used tear-out fabric stabiliser underneath the fabric, and placed a circle of it over the previous overcast stitch ring so as to leave trimming out what isn’t wanted until the last moment. It’s now enclosed between two layers of stabiliser, so I shouldn’t catch my needle in it.

And this is definitely a case for using a hoop. Most of my Amarna pieces have been worked in slate frames or bar frames, and the Jacobean coat is being worked in the hand, but a table-sized piece of fabric of which a small element is the focus requires a more limited approach!

Needlelace completed
Needlelace completed

I decided in the end to use simple cloth stitch for the needle lace, but of course, choosing to work it in a circle rather complicated matters! I had to use several lengths of thread, so it became a matter of concern to make sure that firstly, there was no chance of it coming undone, and secondly, weaving in the ends made sense!

It was also important to bear in mind that while classical, straight cloth stitch has a free “return” stitch, I couldn’t expect to keep control of a “return loop” in my circular variant. So instead of that, I whipped the base of the stitches to create the heavier line.

Patterned Buttonhole Stitch
Patterned Buttonhole Stitch

Once the needlelace was finished, I had to consider the edging. The whole aim of this exercise has been to cover the hole in the tablecloth in a manner that looks considered and deliberate – not just a mend, but a thoughtful mend. So the edging had to be thought about too.

In the end I chose to work a pattern in the buttonhole stitch – the uprights of the buttonhole stitch covering the split stitch and the edge of the needlelace alternate one long with two short. I also considered enlivening the needlelace with some daisies in white, reversing the blue on white of the main decoration, but decided that that was going a bit too far!


  1. Elizabeth says:

    A lot of work but beautifully done … great work, Rachel!

  2. What a lovely mend, Rachel! I love the different textures in the needlelace. Very pretty :).

  3. Jen Mullen says:

    I really like the needlelace and the mend is an artful addition to the piece.

  4. What a clever way to fill in the hole!
    I love the edging, too, it looks just right.

  5. Sue Jones says:

    “Visible mending” is highly fashionable right now, so not just a very neat and elegant repair but a trendy one. Are you planning a matching crochet or needlelace edge for the cloth?

  6. Lady Fi says:

    Very good!

  7. Sheryl says:

    Beautifully done Rachel

  8. Terrie says:

    Amending table clothes is kind of memories as happy moments with family together before and now another new look of it.