“Remember That Time Mom Cut Up The Tablecloth?”
August 5, 2009
I don’t know what makes me do the things I do. They always seem like a good idea at the time. Recently I cut up 2 fancy French tablecloths that are precious to me as heirlooms, as souvenirs of happy trips to France and as reminders of how much I love a good tablecloth.
Background: Before knitting, and certainly before quilting, I had a Tablecloth Thing. When I saw a gorgeous tablecloth (and this was usually in France), I would buy it for my “collection”. My collection eventually numbered a modest half dozen absolutely stunning, ass-kickingly beautiful tablecloths. (If you like that sort of thing. If not, they are just tablecloths.) For all you tablecloth aficionadas out there, yes, I am talking about Beauville, and I am talking about Souleiado. I have worn out a couple of petits fleurs de France, such is my affection for them.
Somehow, I managed to buy the same exact pattern twice, on trips that were 10 years apart. When I was picking out the second one, Carrie said, “Don’t you have that one?” And I said, no! no! It’s similar to that one, but it couldn’t possibly be the same.
Well. It was the same. And neither of these twin tablecloths fits my actual table anymore. And Carrie thinks they’re too gray and beige. So the idea occurred to cut them up and sew them back together with inserts pieced from a few of my most favorite scraps of fabric.
The project is at the 3/4 point. It’s too late for second thoughts, so I’m having them. I pinked the raw edges to make the back neater, seeing as how I still consider this Frankenstein tablecloth an heirloom. But I don’t think that’s heirloomy enough; I don’t like seeing the seams and I’m not sure they’ll launder well. (I had considered French seams but rejected them as too bulky.) Now I’m thinking there will be some way to put a lining on the back of the two pieced strips to tidy up the seaminess. I can hand-sew it down like a binding. Any actual seamstresses out there with ideas for me? Bueller?
Speaking of Expert Seamstresses
On a recent visit to Providence, my mind was blown by a visit to Kreatelier on Hope Street, which is the boutique and studio of Pernilla Frazier. Pernilla hails from Sweden. She has an aesthetic that makes one curse the fact that one was not born in Sweden. I almost could not resist the urge to hunker down at a sewing machine and demand to be taken on as Pernilla’s apprentice.
For example, here is Pernilla’s take on the venerable concept of the Tea Towel Quilt.
Old linen tea towels, with appliques from a favorite vintage fabric, I think from curtains. (Pernilla does not throw out old fabrics.) There is something Japanese mixed in with the Swedish, don’t you think? It’s heavy as can be. An ancestral bedcover if ever there was one. It’s fresh and modern and also looks like something that might have been on the bed in My Antonia‘s sod house–which is exactly the look I go for.
And here is a Hankie Quilt by Pernilla. How does she manage to do this without that fusty Victorian vibe that can overtake a hankie assemblage? Can you imagine what would happen if you set Pernilla loose on a small stash of Vera dishtowels (she said, eyeing her small stash of Vera dishtowels)? This girl has got it going ON.
I will admit that I did not leave without commissioning a Small Work.
And here is the coup de grace. Dotty Chair Fans, put your hands together and scream We’re! Not! Worthy! for Pernilla’s Dotty Chair to beat all dotty chairs:
It is a wonder I didn’t move in.
More about Pernilla later.