How the heck are you? Have you been slicing and dicing any ancestral table linens lately? Highly recommended!
Favorite fabrics featured: Kaffe and Amy…..
The responses to my question about how to finish the raw edges on the back of my surgically enhanced French tablecloths were exactly why I love convening these basement blog meetings and polling whoever shows up. I gave deep, prayerful consideration to all of the clever ideas so generously shared. I was especially intrigued by the cross-stitch option that Charlotte suggested, and by Emily’s tempting idea of backing it in muslin or linen and doing some light n’ elegant free-motion quilting to hold the two layers. (She makes it sound so easy.)
….Liberty and Lotta….
Clearly, to my mind anyway, it boils down to What Is The Governing Principle Here?
If the Governing Principle is As Heirloomy As Humanly Possible, by which I mean, make it so it will not raise the eyebrows of any Table Linen Traditionalists at my Passover seder, I think the line-it-and-quilt-it response is the right one. You would see nothing on the back but sumptuously plain cloth and glorious swoops of machine stitching. Ahhhhhh. I could hand that down the generations with pride. My heirs would not call me Weird Tablecloth Granny, or at least not Poorly Made Tablecloth Granny.
….Naomi Ito/Nani Iro….
If the Governing Principle is As Close to Japanese As a Nebraska Girl Can Get, then clearly some kind of charming hand-stitching is required. In this case, I’d see Charlotte’s fantastic cross-stitch idea, and raise her some quirky running stitches or other sashiko-inspired embroidery In perle cotton, running parallel to the strips on the right side, and tackng the seams flat on the wrong side.
….Orla Kiely for Target (originally a dishtowel)….
But what if the Governing Principle is I Don’t Want To Think About This Any More?
You see, when I finished the seaming, and the pinking, and the hemming of the inserts to (sort of) smoothly bridge the gap between the hemming of the original tablecloths, and I pressed it (a little) and hung it on the clothesline, I realized a couple of things:
1. It looks just fine (with the usual disclaimer, “if you like this sort of thing”).
2. It looks fine on the back, too. Keep moving, nothing to see here. Don’t judge me. My seams are pinked, what do you want from my life?
3. It’s at least 2 feet too long on the ends. Even for my fully-leafed table on the “All Folding Chairs Are In Use” setting, the thing looks like the train on Princess Di’s wedding dress. It would require royal pages to fluff it up and keep it from getting stepped on. I simply do not have the staff.
4. Sigh. Easily fixed, but SIGH. Measuring things: try it sometime. Why so stubborn, Kay, about the not measuring? Why all this emphasis on the joy of the winging it?
SO. I have lovingly folded it up. I am having all kinds of thoughts about what to do, based in large part on comments and emails from people who actually know what they are doing. (Flat-felled seams? Be still my heart!) Right now, I’m leaning toward a resting period. I’m thankful that at least I was able to get all the pieces back together into recognizable tablecloth format before pooping out. And I’m thinking that if it still seems like a good idea in a week or so when I’m near the sewing machine again, I’ll cut off the excess length on either end, trim off all the machine hemming, do a beautiful pieced binding of the entire edge to (sort of) match the inserts (goodness knows I have the scraps for it), and do some running-stitch embroidery along the edges of the seams, perhaps with a strip of hemmed muslin covering the seams on the back side. (I know, Emily! I said I didn’t want to bind it like a quilt! I changed my mind!)
And if it doesn’t seem like a good idea, I’ll have a gin & tonic and knit something. And there it is, my favorite crafting tip: Have a gin & tonic and knit something.