Monday, April 20, 2009

A vintage tablecloth & "mats"


Since several of you happened to notice and comment on that vintage tablecloth from the traveling tea party last Thursday, I thought I'd tell you about it. This was one of my more unique vintage finds, and it's a 22-inch-square tablecloth with corners featuring appliqued teacups, plates, a teapot, and a creamer and sugar.

The curious thing to me, though, was that this cloth came with four more matching applique pieces that were described as "mats," but they are just about 7-8 inches wide, so these would be nearly hidden by the average cup and saucer set. They are exact duplicates of the corner appliques on the tablecloth.

Want to know my theory? Since I have so many UFO's myself ("unfinished objects," in crafter jargon), I can't help wondering if the needleworker was supposed to make *two* of these little tablecloths but never got around to sewing the four appliques onto the second cloth. The only kink in that theory is that the top edges of these pieces are finished off, and had I been making the tablecloth I'd have attached them directly to the fabric. (I think.) At any rate, whoever found these pieces kept them together (fortunately for me), and thus the story of the unfinished pieces being "mats." What do you think?

11 comments:

Gwendol Bowling said...

I dunno', but there are three cups on the larger cloth and four cups on the smaller "mat"...tea for 3? tea for 4?...tea for 7? Always tea for 1 more? What is the Jewish do at Passover? Have something extra for the unexpected guest?

Lovely, interesting find!

Angela McRae said...

Yes, the "mat" does have one extra teacup up top. When you hold the two pieces together, it looks as if the fourth teacup would go too far up into the tablecloth and the seamstress cut it off. (So maybe that's an argument for it *not* being intended for a second tablecloth? Hmmm...)

comfrey cottages said...

i don't know the answer to the "mats". all your thoughts were valid. i have another question myself, i wonder why the "tablesetting" wasn't done on a fancier looking piece of cloth! i just think it is a very, very cool piece, but it would have been me. i think the center piece needs some sort of color to it, to draw it all together. very cool piece regardless. thanks for sharing! hugs :)

Ginger said...

What a lovely find you have. Could the mats have been intended as coasters?

Belinda said...

Very unique. Will always be a conversation piece when you use it. You have a great eye for cute things!

Steph said...

Oh,wow - love the colors! I'm no help on the puzzle, but I do love it!

parTea lady said...

This is a very pretty vintage cloth. I would go with coasters also - maybe to catch drips from tall glasses of iced tea. Well, whatever they are the applique colors are lovely.

Carol said...

Maybe the previous owner washed the "mats" in hot water, and they shrunk? Like Ginger said, they now could serve as fabric coasters.

Marilyn said...

Love them just the way they are.

Sharon said...

Love these appliques! Could the extra "mats" be placemats, or are they too small for that? Whatever they are, they are marvelous. Thanks for sharing the tablecloth and "mats" - blessings, Sharon (Come for Tea)

Anonymous said...

Adorable!! Thank you for sharin with us.tammyp