Keeper of the textiles

My parents bought this table cloth in Israel in 1955. They bought it at WIZO, the hand craft cooperative. They were told that the cloth was woven from flax from the first post independance flax harvest. We used this cloth for seder every year until it began to develop wear holes.

My parents tended to subdued colors. This cloth with the orange and green embroidery is not subdued at all. The Passover dishes were old fashioned when my parents purchased them in 1954. They have a deep blue cobalt border and hand painted flowers in red and green. They are  embellished with bright orange hand painted tear drops.The plates look great with this cloth.

My mother was unable to part with the cloth even after it developed holes. She hung it in the damp basement for the past 20 years. It now has rusty stains on it.

My friend Welmoed suggested that I use the nakpins to repair the cloth. I began insetting patches by hand. I think that I will get a neater finish using the sewing machine. After I finish patching the cloth I think I will soak it in Borax and then send it to the cleaner to press it.

I began my mending by hand and then progressed to the sewing machine. The machine darning just looks better and ultimately, is, I think stronger. It was a less difficult job than I was anticipating it to be.

I called my mother to let her know that I was repairing the cloth. She cried.

If any of you have any wisdom to share before I do any damage to the cloth, let me know.


  1. That's a beautiful cloth! I'd recommend avoiding Biz. I had a hand-embroidered linen tablecloth with some old stains on it that I couldn't identify. After soaking it overnight in a solution of Biz, the old stains were gone, because they had been entirely eaten through.

  2. Sarah - I love reading your posts about sewing for others. Normally I sew only for my family, but last year a close friend asked me to replace her favorite capri pants, without a pattern. I obliged, ultimately making 8 pair (4 for each of her homes.) I am now visiting her again, and see that she wears them every day. She told me she would like new hiking pants as well. I will be happy to make them for her, to repay her for her wonderful hospitality. It is gratifying to be able to use my skills to give her pleasure.
    Sue in MN


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