Cloths and Serviettes - Darning Over a Stain
The fact that almost the entire surface of a tablecloth, when in use, is exposed to view makes it particularly difficult to work a mend without showing rather obvious marks of the process. Therefore, it is the better plan, when the damask shows really bad signs of wear, to cut it up into smaller articles for household use.
However, for darning holes when first they appear, either of the following methods may be adopted :
Darning a Patterned Material
If the tear has occurred on a patterned portion of the material (see Fig. 1), it should be arranged to make up the design as far as possible. In this way the darn will be less obvious than if left a blank space. The foundation of the darn is best worked with thread which has been unravelled from a piece of damask. Cut out a neat square from the material surrounding the hole, and work the darning threads across in both directions till the space is substantially filled (Figs. 2 and 3). If liked, a final surface darn may be given with the finest mercerised cotton.
Next, the continuation of the pattern is just traced over the darn, and worked out with the finest thread, as far as possible to match the weaving of the damask, and the repair is completed (Fig. 4). The linen should be washed and starched before using.
Another method of darning in a pattern is carried out on a background of chiffon or fine net. Pieces of the required shape are cut from a fresh piece of damask, and tacked in the right place on the backing (Fig. 5). The intervening space is then darned backwards and forwards until it is quite filled in, and the pattern is neatly fastened down (Fig. 6). The darning threads should be carried for some little distance into the main material at the edge of the darn, so that the two may not drag away from one another. The spare chiffon should be carefully cut away from the back of the darn.
Fig. I. A bad tear in the patterned portion of the material
If there is a plentiful supply of linen of the same pattern, it is often possible to make one good article out of two worn ones. The neatest patches can be made by cutting the pieces from exactly the same portion of the pattern as that which has been torn away. They should be frayed slightly at the edges, and darned in place with the finest cotton. The wise housewife, when laying in a stock of linen, will be careful to purchase simple designs and a sufficient store of each, so that she can repair in this way. After all, nothing looks so well on the table for ordinary daily use as damask with a regular design, such as a shamrock or a tiny spot. Another point in favour of such patterns is that when the linen is too shabby to use as it is, it will be easy to cut it up for smaller articles, without entirely destroying the character of its design.
Fig. 2. The first stage in the darn after the edges of the tear have been cut square
Fig. 3. A second darning should be carried across the first in the contrary direction till the space is filled
Great care should be taken in cutting to dispose properly of the lines of pattern. If the sound pieces are just taken out at random, the design will be broken up in such a way that it looks patchy, and renders the articles useless for the table. But, with a little planning, tablecloths can be made into serviceable table napkins, while the smaller items can be turned into d'oyleys and table mats.
Large patterns from the centre of a cloth may be cut round in a circle and featherstitched or edged with lace for cake d 'oyleys, and will look very dainty and effective, especially if the design is a handsome one (Fig. 7).
Fig. 4. The pattern is worked out over the darn with the finest thread to match the damask as far as possible
Corners and border pieces should be cut straight along and joined together with strips of insertion. The raw edge should be turned over as narrowly as possible and the insertion run on the right side. The outer edge should, of course, be bordered with lace to match (Fig. 8). By this method it is possible to make at least three very dainty mats out of one table napkin.
When napkins are only jagged at the corners or edges, it is often worth while to cut away straight strips all the way round to keep the square true, and then to hem them very neatly.
It is always best to darn on a perfectly flat surface, and large articles should be spread out on a space prepared for the purpose. No better place can be found than the spare bed, when the room is not in use. Failing this, the dining-room table will answer the purpose. Of course, whenever possible, it is an excellent plan to have a sewing-room with all arrangements conveniently at hand. This saves all the trouble of continually folding up and putting away, should one happen to be interrupted. Many people, to avoid having mending about at all times and seasons, devote a day to this work alone, and for busy people this is often wise, and a saving of precious minutes in the end.
Fig. 5, Another way is to place a piece of chiffon behind the tear, and on this tack portions of the design cut from a new piece of material
When a cloth is very badly stained in
Fig. 6. The second stage consists of darning across the tear, taking in the pieces of the design. The spare chiffon is cut away from the back
Fig. 7. Portions from the centre of a cloth can be cut round in a circle and edged with lace for cake d'oyleys spots, it is sometimes better to deal with it in the mending-room, instead of attempting to remove the stains. In such a case the material should be cut away just outside the extreme edge of the spoilt surface, and a tiny piece darned in its place. The smaller .the patch the better, and there is no need to allow for weak threads at the edge, as in the case of a tear.
Concealing a Stain
A very small mark might be darned over very neatly with mercerised cotton to conceal it. The threads will press right into the cloth when the damask is ironed, and be much less visible than even the smallest stain. This process may be employed on a clean cloth which has been accidentally stained on the first day of use. Of course, certain chemicals are sold that will remove the most obstinate of stains, but many of them have the fatal drawback of tending to destroy the material to which they are applied, while the darning method preserves it.
(Fig 8) Corners and border pieces can be cut straight along and joined together with strips of insertion