Saturday, 4 October 2008

Victorian needlework skills

(Click on photos to enlarge)

At the moment I am trying to restore the most exquisite Victorian embroidered tablecloth I bought for 50p or a pound at a car boot sale some years ago. I couldn't leave it there, though there were holes in the fabric. I have enjoyed it, as it is, on a side table in a spare bedroom, but now I have decided I will try and mend it. Darning is not my strong point, but I did some passable darning recently, so I am now working on the tablecloth. It was much-loved, of that I am sure. I sense it was a wedding gift from a mother to her daughter. Someone had it in the sunshine though, and the original beautiful bright colours have faded, which is a shame. The sunshine has also rotted the linen in parts. I have surprized myself at how well I can darn when I set my mind to it, and have a little whim that the skilled needlewoman who crafted it originally is guiding my hand. I still intend to try and trace/copy the pattern and make myself a new heirloom copy. The stitches incorporate Dorset Feather Stitchery, which I have been practising this summer, as well as other stitches.

As you can see, it has rotted into holes in parts, but the linen around it is still sound, so I am darning the threads back.

Hmm - not the best photo as it makes the linen look as it is is laying in individual rotted threads, but it's not. I was trying to show a close-up of the pattern.

This is the (damaged in places) crochet-lace border. I am trying to find the exact design (I'll be lucky) but think I may have to just try my best to copy what is there.

The back of the cloth, showing how bright the colours once were.

I'll put some better photos up when it's finished. Meanwhile, if anyone recognizes that crochet lace pattern, I would love a nudge in the right direction as to where to find it.


Arlene Grimm said...

What a labor of love Jennie!!

Greentwinsmummy said...

That is a stunning cloth,what a treasure!You are very clever to be able to restore it for more years of love & admiration :o)