Un chemin de table

imageI took on a little job over the winter break that gave me a lot of pleasure. I had reupholstered my parents’s dining room chairs. At the end of the job, I had a long strip of fabric left over. My mom had been looking for un chemin de table (uhn shu-mahn duh tab-luh), or a table runner, without success. We agreed that the strip of fabric would be perfect reincarnated into a table runner.

imageI decided that the runner should have a fabric backing rather than just turning the edges under. I remembered that several years ago my mom had given me a damaged linen tablecloth to turn into dish towels, but I could never bring myself to cut it up for such a mundane pupose. The tablecloth had been a gift from her mother and had a beautiful damask pattern of shamrocks woven in lustrous threads, a reminder of her homeland.

imageEvery Saturday during my childhood, my Mom placed the freshly pressed cloth on our dining room table in preparation for our after church dinner. (Yes, a mother of five ironed tablecloths, tea towels, and even sheets!) One day, the cloth became caught in the agitator of the washing machine and a section of the cloth was hopelessly mangled. My Mom seldom cried, but she shed a few tears over the destruction of this sentimental link to someone she loved. I floated the idea of using part of the damaged tablecloth to back the table runner, and my Mom enthusiastically concurred.

imageWhen I got back home to Massachusetts, I unearthed the tablecloth. It was even more beautiful than I had remembered. All those decades of washing and ironing had made the fabric incredibly soft. No wonder my Mom loved this tablecloth so much. I cut and stitched enough lengths to back the table runner, sewed on some gimp to  enhance the upholstery fabric and attached the two halves. I must say that I’m very pleased with the result. Now the cloth that used to grace the dining table will be back in service, but this time in a supporting role. As for the remaining pieces of linen, I think they’ll make great sachets for lavendar. That’s one way to combine my Irish heritage with my passion for France.

imageThe Country House Collection French Grainsack Table Runner with French Script, Paris Eiffel Tower 15 x 72 inches


About Patricia Gilbert

Patricia Gilbert is a French teacher. She's Canadian, lives in the United States, but dreams of living in France. Follow her on Instagram @Onequalitythefinest and on Twitter @1qualthefinest.
This entry was posted in Décor, French Vocabulary and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Un chemin de table

  1. So pretty!

    I brought a runner (from Pier One, of all places) to my Dad’s house in Ontario for Christmas and it really made Xmas dinner nicer.

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