Tea Party Time

bow teaparty table FI

Tea table is set up in front of a mural Suzanne Sawko painted in her grandchildren’s playroom at her house.


Several years ago, I made this tea set table cloth and napkins for my Nana’s hope chest.  At that time, having a tea party with grandchildren seemed like a dream  that would bring immeasurable joy.   And now this dream has come true.


L tea party

Laurel at one of her first tea parties


Robert and Laurel have been taught that at social occasions, they are not to talk about their health, religion or politics.   One of Laurel’s first questions was, “What’s politics?”  I told her to never mind for now, but to remember this rule for when she did know.  “Then what do we talk about?” she asked.  I told her that we ask about one another’s mothers, gardening and our sewing.  Now, at the first sip of “tea,”  she asks how my roses are.

This initial inspiration for the project was finding a lovely little child size porcelain tea set.  The style is suggestive of Mary Engelbreit, but really is just a generic design and seemed to be  easy enough to replicate.   Wouldn’t it be fun, I thought, to copy this sweet design onto a child sized tea cloth and napkins!

When computerized machine embroidery was brand new to the sewing world, Pfaff ran an advertisement showing how they had copied a china pattern onto a tablecloth.  I could do that!  Well, maybe with a little help, I could.


bow teasetFI


Mary Alice Smith of Alabama kindly digitized the applique bow for me and I took the flowers from one of the machine embroidery collections that Suzanne Sawko and I did.




Some of my favorite sewing techniques are incorporated into this project: machine embroidery, hemstitching, feather stitching, monogramming and applique.   As a big fan of heirloom sewing, I used 100% linen.  But the charm of a tea party with grandchildren would not be diminished by the use of a polycotton blend.  Use what you have or what you like.




  • fabric:   linen:  30″ squre for tablecloth,  gingham: 12″ square for 5 bow appliques
  • machine embroidery bow applique:  digitized by Mary Alice Smith
  • NOTE:  If you would like this design, post your request as a comment in the section below. I will e-mail it to you in .pes format.
  • floral designs:  Fil Tire’ and Fancywork Combinations
  • monogram: Brother PE-Design font #22
  • threads:  for hemstitching –80 wt. Madeira Cotona or 60 wt. Mettler or 50 wt. DMC
  • for embroidery–green, pink, lt. pink, yellow
  • corner template:  from white cardboard or Templar, cut template 5” square.  Cut one corner round. image 4 close making corner template
  • needles:  wing or 100 universal for hemstitching, 80 for embroidery


  •  PIN STITCH EDGE (point de Paris) or other finish such as feather stitch or roll and whip
  • 1. Fold 1/4″ along each edge and press.
  • 2.  Round each corner.  Spray starch and then fold each corner over corner template.
  • 3. For pin stitch or decorative edge, use  pink Madeira Cotona  80 wt. cotton thread in needle and bobbin.
  • 4.  Insert wing or #100 universal needle for pin stitch.
  • 5.  Set pin stitch to W. 3.0 and L. 3.0 or as desired and engage needle down function, if available.


Work on practice piece first to see how to line up fabric.  Then stitch around cloth edge with pin stitch, making certain that the  the right swing of the needle is going off the folded edge.  As rounded corners are approached, execute pivot after the needle finishes reach to right, off the edge of fabric, and has returned to the previous “hole” in the fabric.

NOTE:  When you approach the origin of the pin stitching, try to line up by adjusting the length of the stitch, so that you complete the stitching by piercing the first hole with a repeat stitch.

4.  Cut away excess fabric  VERY carefully with curved embroidery snips  or blunt nose “kindergarten” scissors.


  • 1.  Spray starch and press all 4 napkins.
  • 2.  Press 1/4″ from each raw edge.
  • 3.  Round corners, pin stitch and trim as on tablecloth.


  • 1.  Press diagonal crease or mark diagonal line with washaway marker on two diagonally opposite corners.
  • 2.  Using hoop embroidery or other applique’ technique, apply bow and floral corner design, with bow centered on the diagonal crease.
  • 3.  On diagonally opposite corner, embroider monogram and floral frame, with monogram centered on the diagonal crease.

Tea PArty Timeteasetbowdesigncorner1BRITE


Hoop embroidery:

  • 1.  On one corner of each napkin, press diagonal crease or mark diagonal line with washaway marker, as on tablecloth.
  • 2.  Using hoop embroidery or machine embroidery, stitch floral frame and monogram.


  • 1.  With pink 50 wt. cotton thread, work feather stitch along 6 ” crease line around tablecloth.   Start and stop at corner floral design.
  • 2.  Wash out blue marks, starch and press.
  • 3.  Invite a grandchild or young friend for tea.

kindergarten tea recipe:

  • 2/3 cup instant tea                    2 small envelopes lemonade  mix
  • 1 lb. jar Tang                                       2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 cups sugar                                      2 teaspoons ground cloves
  • Mix well. 
  • Add 2-3 teaspoons to 1 cup hot water.

Laurel’s mother thought it would be fun for Laurel to host a tea party for her friends.  She and Laurel made cookies and little sandwiches.  Shelly even provided gloves for the little guests’ dress up fun.  Meanwhile, Laurel learned a little about hostessing.





girls 4

Laurel hosting tea party for friends.


4 girls Bxx

After rummaging through the dress up box, they were ready for tea.




12 responses to “Tea Party Time

  1. Mildred Harvey

    How precious that is! You are so talented. I would love to have that pattern along with the Eugene Field quilt pattern y ou promised. ha Millie

  2. Looks like Laura and her guests had a wonderful time. Thank you for sharing this project.

  3. Janice
    I just love reading your blog. You are so talented. Could I please have the design? I bought the tea set from you years ago and had planned to do the tablecloth and napkins. Of course, can’t find it. My younger son has girlfriend with a 3 year old. Hopefully can get it made for Christmas. Will miss you at sewing at the beach this year. Linda Russ

  4. Oh, Linda, I will miss being at SATB and seeing you and all the other wonderful gals there. But life is hectic here. I just made up another set of the napkins for this tea set and it is such fun, pretty little project. I’ll send the designs off to you right away. That little 3 year old will love it. Thanks for reading my blog.

  5. I love this little girls tea party table cloth. I have a babylock, pes.
    There is a little girl in church that I would love to make this for.
    please tell me if I will be able to use the design, in any event I would love to have this project. Thank You for showing the darling pictures of this design in use.
    Anne Capello

  6. Anne, I have written to you privately about this. I hope you can get these tea linens made up for that special little girl.

  7. Kay Briley

    Janice I know this is an older post but new to me. As it happens I am looking for a tea set for my granddaughter and my sister’s granddaughter. I would love this emailed to me if you still have it. I am wishing more and more I had some classes from you. You are so talented and I am loving your adventures on your new sewing machine ( my dream machine) . Thanks, Kay

  8. Kay, you are so kind. Your comments always encourage me and make me smile. I would love to have had you in class, but my teaching days are over. I’m so busy sewing for the grands that there is not time for anything else! I will send you the bow design for that tea set.

  9. Lillian Douglas

    Janice, What a joy to come across your Tea set blog. What memories it brings back,.Like Linda ,I bought the tea set and kit all those years ago at Sewing at the
    Beach. My last time, you taught us the Magic Hem on tea towels and another lovely set of pillowcases. Thank you for stirring up so many wonderful memories. Just sold my machines last week, and have one small sewer to just stay in touch.
    Beautiful memories. My thanks, Lil

  10. Hello, dear Lil! It’s wonderful to hear from you and recall those good times in Myrtle Beach. Linda andall the Stranded Stitchers do such a wonderful job with that school. I often come across a picture of you sewing away on your pillowcases. I just hummm with happy memories.Lil

  11. Beautiful tea set. I would like the design for my hope chest please.

    Thank you for sharing and hope you have lots of tea parties.

  12. Hello, Lydia, Thanks for your interest in the tea linen designs. A set like this will be a great addition to your hope chest. Tea parties are such a delightful way to spend time with children. Special tea linens add a touch of elegance to the occasion and make the event even more special. I hope you will enjoy stitching these and celebrate tea time with some precious little ones.
    In fact, we are leaving in the morning to spend a week high in the mountains of NC at a fabulous cabin we visit every summer with our daughter and her family. Vivian Rose, who celebrated her 7th birthday at sea, will be with us and asked for a tea party. So the linens are packed, along with her tea set, the Fancy Nancy tea and all the accoutrements. We will have a fine time up there, discussing my roses, her mother, and many approved topics, but not politics, religion or our health! Good times, for sure! I can’t wait. I hope you will enjoy such enchanting times with your grands some day.
    Thanks for visiting my blog. I hope you will stop by again.

    For additional tips and ideas for junior tea parties, visit these blog posts.

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